This next exercise is something you’ll be very, very familiar with.
It is still under the context of Who I Am but I’m now going to give you, I’m going to allocate to you a particular personality or a particular identity.
Everyone else will know who you are but you. In a moment I’m going to stick an index card on your back with this identity written on it clearly so that everyone else can see who you are.
You’ll be familiar, but for those who are not, here’s how it works.
For the person who has the thing on their back which you all will, have conversations with as many people as you can and the only thing you can do is ask questions that could be answered with Yes or No.
You can only ask a question that could be answered yes or no such as am I Australian, Yes or No. So the people that you’re going to be talking to, if I was talking to Jillian I’ll say hey, am I Australian? She’ll have a quick look and then she’ll say Yes or No.
You can have no more than three concurrent questions of one person, at which point that person needs to move on to somebody else. Naturally you could also be answering the questions of someone else, so it’s a bit of both.
Once you’ve identified yourself, let me know and then you could continue to mingle to help others answer their questions as well. Got the basic idea?
Okay. Yes/No questions. See how… and some are harder, some are easier, and of course it’ll be completely random.
So come to me one at a time. As soon as we’ve got a quorum and there’ll be some people with tags on their backs, you can get started and help that person.
(people asking questions as part of Who Am I?)
How To Play Narrative
Your first step is to create a set of index cards with the names of famous, well-known, celebrity-type people written on them. Ideally, use a different ‘celebrity’ for each member of your group.
For example, Mickey Mouse, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman, Paris Hilton, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, and so on. Throw in a few lesser-known, obscure celebrities to mix it up a bit too.
To get your started, you can download a sample set of celebrity names from the Resources tab.
Gather your group, and randomly stick one ‘celebrity’ index card on the back of each person. It’s OK for others to see it, as long as the person to whom it belongs does not.
Next, explain that each person’s mission is to identify ‘who they are’ by asking other members of the group as few Yes/No questions as possible. That is, a person is only permitted to ask a question that can be answered “YES” or “NO.”
It works like this. On “GO,” everyone seeks a partner. After exchanging pleasantries (including their real names,) each person will ask one Yes/No question of their partner.
Having already peeked at their partner’s ‘celebrity’ status, the person-in-the-know will answer “YES” or “NO.” Nothing else, no hints, no miming, nothing. If the person being asked is not sure, rather than say “MAYBE,” they should ask their partner to ask a new question.
The first question might be, “AM I MALE?” Their partner will respond with a “YES” or “NO,” and then follows with their question, perhaps “AM I AN ANIMAL?”
To encourage lots of interaction, instruct your group to ask no more than three questions of one person, before moving on to someone new.
Truth is always obvious to those who know it, so it’s wonderful watching the frustration of a ‘celebrity’ try to work out who they are.
Keep the interaction flowing, until everyone has guessed their identity.
Practical Leadership Tips
Ideally, everyone will actually ‘know’ the person secretly labelled on their backs, but on occasions this may not be the case. So expect some people to complete their task quicker than others. To this end, have a few additional ‘celebrities’ to attach to those who finish early.
Beware sticking a label on someone who may be sensitive to being identified with the character of the celebrity on their back. For example, there was a woman once who was offended by the label ‘Kevin Spacey’ she had been (randomly) given.
You could integrate Who Am I? as part of a well-designed SEL program to promote and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse people.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of engaging in an interactive and fun problem-solving exercise.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully guess one’s character may speak to the benefits of being mindful and resilient because it often takes a lot of concentration and many failed attempts before the correct answer is identified.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Who Am I? could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Keep Asking Questions: Allow the ‘celebrity’ to continue asking questions until they receive a “NO” from their partner, at which point, they must move on to a new person.
One Of Our Own: For groups who know each other well, write the names of group members on the cards.
Alternative Topics: Focus on alternative subjects, such as famous landmarks, cartoon characters, leaders, pioneers, cities, etc.
Wish I Was: Take a look at Celebrity Head for a hilarious audience-style variation.
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Useful Framing Ideas
Most of us, at one time or another, dream about being a famous celebrity. Well, today you get your chance to be someone famous, but the only problem is, you don’t know which one…
If you only had the ability to ask a fixed number of questions, let’s say, eight questions only, could you correctly guess the identity of someone famous? Let’s see how you go…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this fun ‘Who Am I?’ guessing game:
How did it feel to know that everyone around you knew who you were?
How did it feel to be in ‘the know?’
What resources did you call on to persist in looking for the answer?
Are there other times when you have encountered frustration of not knowing something when everyone else seems to?
Large Group ‘Community-Building Games’ Session
What You Need:
10+ people, 60 mins, index cards, pen, multiple ’52 Card Pick-Up’ sets (Print+Play)
PDQ Test – zany audience-style activity that will generate bursts of laughter
Who Am I? – highly interactive ‘who am I’ guessing game
Speed Rabbit – hilarious circle game involving three people creating an animal