5 minute lesson
July 20, 2010 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Can you think of any skills that can be taught in 5 minutes? Anything from whimsical (making a ninja mask from a t-shirt) to practical (knot tying).

I have seen this and this. I'm looking more for something well-circumscribed that would be interesting to adults. Ideas would be much appreciated!
posted by madokachan to Education (26 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Card tricks generally take less than 5 minutes to learn. A long list of easy ones can be found here.
posted by Hiker at 9:28 AM on July 20, 2010

Reciting the alphabet backwards.
posted by griphus at 9:29 AM on July 20, 2010

Just a hunch, but are you doing a Kalan interview or similar (teaching something in five minutes)? I did "how to buy and wear quality footwear" and went on to a long and satisfying career in the thrilling test prep industry.
posted by Madamina at 9:33 AM on July 20, 2010

Got-dangit. KAPLAN.
posted by Madamina at 9:33 AM on July 20, 2010

Can you give us some context? Is this a party game, or ice breaker at a business meeting, or what?

Things to learn in 5 minutes:
A new song/poem
Play the recorder
A magic trick
A joke
A new game
posted by I am the Walrus at 9:34 AM on July 20, 2010

Write in Chinese/Japanese characters:
-the numbers 1 through 10
-the first element in the days of the week
(Sun, Moon, Fire, Water, Tree, Gold, Earth)
posted by vincele at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2010

Origami crane construction. Very basic crocheting.
posted by millipede at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

I used to earn a living teaching people 3 ball juggling in 5 minutes.
posted by oh pollo! at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2010

These old viral videos from Sprint are fairly neat, and focus on fast ways to do mundane tasks (peel a hard-boiled egg, fold a t-shirt, etc.)


Also, you can look up Zippo-tricks if you aren't afraid of fire.

I taught myself how to do tongue twisters by concentrating on the letters instead of the pronunciation/words. "Toy Boat" ten times is fairly easy if you make sure to pronounce both t's individually (start with "A toy boat, a toy boat, etc." and then "Toy Boat-uh (exhale)").
posted by JeremiahBritt at 9:41 AM on July 20, 2010

Japanese T-shirt folding.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:41 AM on July 20, 2010 [4 favorites]

Learn to tie the Zeppelin Bend Knot, the greatest knot of all time.

Or teach the 3 essential knots: the bend (tie 2 ropes together), the bowline (which does not slip) and the hitch (which does).
posted by jquinby at 9:45 AM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Way way back in the Japanese day, poets collaborated to orate Renga, which basically involved taking turns adding a haiku as a verse to a poem. This would involve reminding people how to write a haiku, explaining a Renga, and trying it out.
posted by jander03 at 9:54 AM on July 20, 2010

In five minutes my friend taught me how to roll a perfect cigarette. But this is useful only if you smoke and if you're in a country that has decent rolling tobacco.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:57 AM on July 20, 2010

Over/under wrapping is the only right way to coil cable (and other things that need coiling) and can easily be taught in 5 minutes.
posted by JMOZ at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2010

Catch pennies falling from your elbow - you need a fair amount of empty space for each person.
posted by djb at 10:35 AM on July 20, 2010

Chisenbop. (previously)
posted by Gilbert at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2010

We had to do this as one of the first exercises in my speech class. People taught: how to use chopsticks, several different knots, how to choose running shoes, various dance steps, a cool foldy-paper snowflake construction...that's all I can think of at the moment.
posted by heyforfour at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2010

Making a proper paper airplane should take far less than five minutes.
posted by BZArcher at 11:25 AM on July 20, 2010

I do a workshop called "You, Yes You, Can Do Standup Comedy" (notes, slides, more notes). I've done the basics of that over the phone in about 5-10 minutes -- less theory, more immediate practice.
posted by brainwane at 11:28 AM on July 20, 2010

My 5-min demo for instructor school was "How to multiply numbers with a slide rule." I made my own huge demo prop slide rule out of posterboard and sharpies.

It was a big hit. Nobody knows how to do that any more.
posted by ctmf at 11:35 AM on July 20, 2010 [3 favorites]

Thanks for all of the great ideas so far!

For those asking for context: I'm taking a course to become certified to teach ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) and one of the exercises is to teach something non-medical in 5 minutes. I wanted to make this fun and interesting for people instead of it becoming another chore.
posted by madokachan at 11:38 AM on July 20, 2010

An impromptu performance of Clapping Music?

You'd probably need to get hold of the sheet music, but as you can read on the Wiki it's based on a very simple pattern (3, 2, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 2, etc.)
posted by dogsbody at 11:38 AM on July 20, 2010

"How to use a Personal Flotation Device (PFD)"

"How to check for breathing after calling 911"
posted by Mertonian at 12:20 PM on July 20, 2010

One of our chefs just did this with my summer students: Make a rose from a Starburst Candy.
It was pretty easy and the kids loved it.
Yummy too.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:41 PM on July 20, 2010

Tie a noose!

(A huge hit with my class of 14-year-olds when one of their peers presented this. Need to make sure I vet the topics next time...)
posted by mdonley at 2:52 PM on July 20, 2010

How to make a balloon dog.
posted by Windigo at 1:26 PM on July 21, 2010

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