I usually have the students change seats/lab partners/lab groups about once a month. What I used to do is that every seat has a letter, and I would have the students line up on the side of the classroom and, one at a time, give each student a letter. (I had index cards that I would shuffle and randomly give to them, each card had a letter written on it.) The only rule was that they could not have the same exact seat or lab partner. Having your new seat be only one seat away from your old seat still counts! Technically, you could have the same lab group, but each person is in a different seat and just switched lab partners.
This is a modified version of clock partners with a science theme. Each student will make an appointment with another student and write that persons name under the scientist listed. This person will be their science buddy, or lab partner. For example, lets say Lisa and Amy want to be partners, Lisa would put her name in the "Marie Curie" spot on Amy's paper, and Amy would put her name in the "Marie Curie" spot on Lisa's. Students keep making appointments until all spots are full.
If there are empty spots left over, those will be "wild" spots and they can be part of a group of 3, or if a student is absent, they can take that spot. I have never used this before, so I'll have to work out the logistics when we get to it.
I have small class sizes, in a larger class, you may want 10 or 12 spots to fill in.
If you have used this type of partnering activity, please leave a comment on how it works in your classroom!
- Here is the pdf for the Science Buddies Notebook insert (pdf)