Activities and Exercises

For a list of activities and exercises relevant to how you interact with students please choose a resource category from the drop down menu below. Please note that some of the activities may provide instructions/faciltiation notes that refer to use in the classroom or some other specific setting (i.e. career). Many of these activities have been categorized more broadly because they can be easily adapted to fit other settings. Please also note that many of these activities will require you to authenticate using your x.500 while some are available to the general public.

Three specific resources are highlighted below that are especially helpful in 1:1 sessions with students.

If you have strengths activities that you have developed and you are willing to share, please email them, with facilitation notes included, to strengths@umn.edu.

* - To access this content, you must sign in using your x.500 Internet ID and password.

Please select a category to view the available resources

Housing and Residential Life

  • This document contains 60 different ideas for Strengths-based activities you could use with students. The majority of these activities work best in group situations versus 1:1 situation such as advising or career counseling/ coaching. The activities can take as little as 60 seconds or up to 60 minutes to complete.

  • Circle of Strengths
    Download Resource File

    This activity aims to recognize evidence of and discuss the role of their themes of talent in their personal behavior.

  • Degrees of Talent/ Owning My Strengths
    Download Resource File

    This activity asks students to recognize the personal difficulties associated with affirming their own themes of talent.

  • I Do it With Ease
    Download Resource File

    In this activity, students begin to move from reflection and evaluation to application and apply theme-specific strategies to achieve academic success.

  • Intensify Strength
    Download Resource File

    This activity will help students begin to actively develop their talent.

  • International Students Guide
    Download Resource File

    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: International Students' video or on its own  to learn more about the Strengths philsophy and how to use your Strengths as a international student at the U of M.

  • Is There A Shadow Side to a Strengths-Based Perspective?
    Download Resource File

    This activity asks students to consider the implications to the application of talents in a negative way.

  • Major Exploration Guide
    Download Resource File

    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Major Exploration' video or on its own to learn more about how to use your Strengths during the major exploration process.

  • Modeling Theme Dynamics
    Download Resource File

    This activity expands upon the previous exercise by asking students to consider how all five of their Signature Themes interact and work together.

  • Moving Beyond Barrier Labels
    Download Resource File

    This activity is designed to help students think about how they can maximize the positive nature of talents by managing the barrier labels that people often place upon talents.

  • Myth Smashing Guide
    Download Resource File

    This Guide can be used along with the 'Strengths: Myth Smashing' video or on its own to learn more about the Strengths philosophy, the StrengthsFinder assessment and your own Top 5

  • Parents & Familities: Strengths Conversation Starters
    Download Resource File

    This handout gives suggested questions and conversation starters for parents and family members. 

  • Realizing My Potential
    Download Resource File

    This activity helps students integrate the elements of strength development: talent, skills, and knowledge. Specifically, students identify what talents, skills, and knowledge are required to complete three tasks. This process will help students begin to develop a model of how they can consciously apply their talents to develop strength.

  • Relationships and Teams Video
    Download Resource File

    This Guide can be used along with the 'Relationships and Teams' video or on its own to learn how you can use your Strengths in your partnerships with others.

  • StrengthsFinder Reflection
    Download Resource File

    This activity helps students analyze the content presented in their Signature Theme Report. Talent, Theme, and Strength. This activity helps students understand and develop a common language in which they can discuss natural talents and the development and application of strength.

  • Studying and Academic Success Guide
    Download Resource File

    This Guide can be used along with the 'Studying and Academic Success' video or on its own for tips about how to use your Strengths to make the most out of your study time, as well as how you can use your Strengths to achieve your academic goals.

  • Talent Development
    Download Resource File

    In this activity, students are asked to consciously create a strategy to develop one of their Signature Themes. It is imperative that the instructor provide students with timely feedback concerning their efforts to develop their talents.

  • Talent, Knowledge, or Skill?
    Download Resource File

    In this activity, students learn that there are three things that contribute to the development of a strength.

  • Talent, Theme, and Strength
    Download Resource File

    This activity helps students understand and develop a common language in which they can discuss natural talents and the development and application of strength.

  • Talent-Based Studying
    Download Resource File

    In this activity, students continue to move from reflection and evaluation to application and appreciate the role their talents and strengths play in making them their own best educator and learner.

  • Theme Dynamics - Themes Working Together
    Download Resource File

    This activity helps students describe how their talent themes work together.

  • Values Clarification
    Download Resource File

    This exercise provides a basis to have a discussion regarding how values inform all behavior, including our careers. Students will most certainly have different values and in differing order. This particular exercise asks students to evaluate values through the lens of their themes. However, students will also bring values to this discussion from their past experience, including culture and upbringing.