A great activity for everyone


By Jon Zajac

As an event planner who loves history, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate historical themes and trivia into my events. One fun way to do this is by using History-themed “This or That” icebreaker questions. By asking questions related to different time periods, figures, and events in history, you can create a sense of curiosity and excitement among your guests and encourage them to learn more about the past.

How to incorporate History themed This or That questions

To incorporate History-themed “This or That” questions into your event, follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a list of questions beforehand that cover different periods, figures, and events in history. You can find inspiration from reading history books, watching documentaries, or browsing online resources such as museum websites or educational blogs.

  2. Print out the questions on cards or display them on a screen or a poster board. Encourage your guests to form small groups of 3-5 people and take turns asking each other the questions. You can also create a rotation system where each group moves on to the next question after a set amount of time (e.g., 2-3 minutes).

  3. Make sure everyone has a chance to answer each question and listen actively to their responses. Encourage follow-up questions, comments, and discussions that build on the initial answers. You can also share your own insights and opinions about history to keep the conversation flowing.

  4. After everyone has had a chance to answer all the questions, gather your guests in a larger group and ask them to share their favorite or most surprising answers. You can also use this opportunity to highlight any commonalities or connections that emerged during the activity.

  5. Consider using some of the insights or stories that came up during the “This or That” icebreaker as a springboard for further conversations and activities throughout the day. For example, you could organize a trivia game based on history trivia or create a display of historical artifacts or replicas.

Ideas on different themes of questions

To keep your History-themed icebreaker questions fresh and engaging, you can explore different themes and categories that are relevant to the topic. Here are some ideas:

  • Ancient civilizations: Ask questions about the cultures, achievements, and mysteries of ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, or Mesopotamia (e.g., “Which ancient civilization do you find most fascinating?” or “What is your favorite myth or legend from ancient history?”).

  • Medieval times: Ask questions about the social, political, and cultural aspects of medieval Europe, including castles, knights, kings, queens, and religion (e.g., “Which medieval figure would you like to meet?” or “What is your favorite medieval legend or folktale?”).

  • Renaissance: Ask questions about the artistic, scientific, and intellectual movements of the Renaissance period, including figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo, or Shakespeare (e.g., “Which Renaissance artist do you admire the most?” or “What is your favorite invention or discovery from the Renaissance era?”).

  • Exploration: Ask questions about the age of exploration and discovery, including figures such as Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, or James Cook (e.g., “Which explorer do you find most inspiring?” or “What is your favorite story of adventure or survival from history?”).

  • Industrial revolution: Ask questions about the economic, social, and technological changes brought by the industrial revolution, including figures such as James Watt, Eli Whitney, Andrew Carnegie, or Henry Ford (e.g., “Which invention or innovation do you find most transformative?” or “What is your favorite story of entrepreneurship or ingenuity from history?”).

By incorporating these different themes of questions into your History-themed icebreaker activity, you can keep your guests engaged and entertained while also fostering a sense of curiosity and learning about the past. So why not give it a try and see how it can enhance your next event!

My favorite History themed This or That questions

  1. Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?
  2. Alexander Hamilton or Thomas Jefferson?
  3. Boston Tea Party or Declaration of Independence?
  4. American Revolution or French Revolution?
  5. World War I or World War II?
  6. Ancient Egypt or Ancient Greece?
  7. Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo?
  8. Romans or Vikings?
  9. Magna Carta or Bill of Rights?
  10. Civil War or Revolutionary War?
  11. Abraham Lincoln or George Washington?
  12. Tudor dynasty or Plantagenet dynasty?
  13. The Great Wall of China or the Colosseum?
  14. Queen Elizabeth I or Queen Victoria?
  15. Salem Witch Trials or McCarthyism?
  16. Greek gods or Roman gods?
  17. Lewis and Clark Expedition or Oregon Trail?
  18. Sherman’s March or Appomattox Court House?
  19. Prohibition or Roaring Twenties?
  20. Teapot Dome scandal or Watergate scandal?
  21. Industrial Revolution or Agricultural Revolution?
  22. Medieval knights or samurai warriors?
  23. Sphinx or Pyramids?
  24. Stonehenge or Machu Picchu?
  25. Eleanor Roosevelt or Jackie Kennedy?
  26. The Cuban Missile Crisis or the Berlin Wall?
  27. Aztecs or Incas?
  28. Elizabethan era or Victorian era?
  29. Pearl Harbor or D-Day?
  30. The Battle of Hastings or The Battle of Waterloo?
  31. Isaac Newton or Galileo Galilei?
  32. Marie Antoinette or Queen Cleopatra?
  33. Al Capone or Bonnie and Clyde?
  34. The Civil Rights Act or Women’s Suffrage?
  35. The Pony Express or The Transcontinental Railroad?
  36. The Space Race or The Arms Race?
  37. The Age of Exploration or The Age of Enlightenment?
  38. The American West or The Wild West?
  39. Joan of Arc or Catherine the Great?
  40. The Trail of Tears or The Gold Rush?
  41. The Enlightenment or The Renaissance?
  42. The Scopes Monkey Trial or The Salem Witch Trials?
  43. The Industrialization of Britain or The American Industrial Revolution?
  44. The Magna Carta or The Mayflower Compact?
  45. The Boston Massacre or The Boston Tea Party?
  46. The Underground Railroad or The Abolition Movement?
  47. The Louisiana Purchase or The Gadsden Purchase?
  48. The Emancipation Proclamation or The Gettysburg Address?
  49. The Spanish Inquisition or The Salem Witch Trials?
  50. The Russian Revolution or The Chinese Revolution?
  51. The Invention of the Printing Press or The Invention of the Telegraph?

About the author

Jon Zajac

Jon Zajac

Founder & Chief Icebreaker

I started Icebreaker Spot because I truly believe that strong connections are the foundation of successful teams. I wanted to create a platform that would make it easy for people to find and share icebreakers and team building activities, empowering them to build trust, foster collaboration, and ultimately, achieve greatness together.