Environmental games and activities: Who am I?

Looking for an interactive activity for youth that teaches about adaptations and habitats? “Who Am I?” requires little preparation and can be enjoyed by multiple ages.

Looking for a great, interactive activity for all ages? Need something that teaches about habitats, adaptations and species identification all in one? Look no further! The “Who Am I?” activity is just what you are looking for! Youth and adults will enjoy this engaging activity.

You will need pictures of living creatures of all kinds. These can be mammals, fish, reptiles, insects and birds. Another option is to have pictures of trees, flowers, shrubs and other plants. You decide if you want to use specifics such as mammals, just trees or include a variety. Pasting these pictures on heavier paper and laminating them will help them last and be repeatedly used again. Lastly, punch a hole near the top of the picture and place a loop of string in the hole so the picture can be suspended around a participant’s neck.

Now you are ready to play! Have each participant select one picture without showing anyone what it is. Place the picture around another person’s neck with the picture showing on their back. Each person’s task is to determine what organism their picture is. They accomplish this by asking yes or no questions about the organism. Examples may be, “Do I eat meat?” “Am I cold blooded?” “Do I have feathers?” “Do I have fur?” Do I live in Michigan?”

Questions such as “What do I eat?” and “Where do I live?” are not acceptable since they can’t be answered yes or no. After asking three questions to one person, it is time to move on to another person for more questioning.

A person can move their picture to their front side when they have correctly identified the organism in their picture. A sample scenario would be: “Do I have feathers?” Yes! “Do I swim?” No. “Do I eat meat?” No. “Am I seen at a bird feeder?” Yes. “Am I a chickadee?” Yes! Congratulations!” You may place your picture to the front to indicate you have identified your picture.

Some participants may have difficulty identifying their picture. After sufficient time, gather the group together to discuss and help with those not identified. At this time, it would be appropriate to ask specific questions that are not answered yes or no. Some may have difficulty determining what an animal is such as a fisher, coyote versus wolf, or specific species of fish or bird. No worries! You decide how detailed an answer you are looking for. Just be sure to allow for some level of success. Those answering questions can learn just as much as those asking. Anyone unsure how to answer should ask for help.

The greatest value of this activity is in the interactions and questioning strategies that are involved. However, final discussion is important to recognize what has been learned. Ask the following: Did you learn something new about some organisms? Did you learn how to ask the right questions? What was helpful? Other questions will surely be asked that will lead to some great discussion and positive learning. There are no winners or losers in this activity.

Michigan State University Extension encourages participation in new experiences that are safe and expose youth to science involvement with 4-H science: Asking questions and discovering answers. Please contact me at baumga75@anr.msu.edu for ideas on spending time outdoors with youth.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to create a community excited about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). 4-H STEM programming seeks to increase science literacy, introducing youth to the experiential learning process that helps them to build problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills. Youth who participate in 4-H STEM are better equipped with critical life skills necessary for future success. To learn more about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth in STEM literacy programs, read our 2015 Impact Report: “Building Science Literacy and Future STEM Professionals.”

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