DEI Game of Science

Gillian Goldhagen, Miami University-Oxford

Beth Shallon, University of California, Riverside

Sara Scoggins, University of California, Riverside

Author Profile
Initial Publication Date: July 24, 2023


Students will play a game where they will be shown a picture of a scientist and learn one hobby or fun fact about that person. They will then be shown a picture with hidden clues towards what that scientist's research is on. Students will have to guess what the scientist studies. This game can be played with any scientist or group of people as long as appropriate clues are made.

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This is a DEI geology game activity designed to show middle schoolers that scientists can look like anyone. This activity can be used for any age group middle school and above.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

They must have a basic understanding that different fields of study exist within geology.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone game but pairs well with lessons on natural hazards.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Learners will understand that scientists can look and act like them.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

critical evaluation of images to find clues

Other skills goals for this activity

Students will perform group work.

Description and Teaching Materials

The class will be set into two groups and must work together to discover what the scientist's science is from a set of clues. The class will be given a list of sciences to pick from with the understanding that one of them is not going to be used. While our example list has 5 sciences on it teachers can expand and even include non-STEM fields. The only requirement is to make some sort of clue or riddle page for each additional field. This lesson could be enhanced with additional scientists and clues that are pictures of their actual desks or spaces (assuming they are not too obvious). The first group to go will be decided by a coin toss. They will be given a picture of a person and a brief sentence on their hobbies or a fun fact about them. They will also be given a picture with hidden clues about the person's science or job. Students will earn 5 points if they guess right. If they guess incorrectly the other team will get the points. After each guess the teacher will read out the full spotlight scientist information. The next team will then go after the class has discovered if the first team was right or not. They will also earn 5 points for a correct guess. The next two rounds will be for 10 points with groups switching back and forth and wrong answers leading to points being awarded to the other group. The final round will be for 15 points and both teams will be competing against each other. The first team to guess the answer will get the points unless they guess incorrectly, then the other team will win the points by default.
Science Clues (Zip Archive 252MB Jul12 23) 
Spotlight Scientists hobbies (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.7MB Jul12 23) 
Scientist Spotlight Information (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Jul12 23) 

Teaching Notes and Tips

Scientist hobbies and pictures should be shown before the timer is set (with answers removed)

Science clues should be shown when the timer is set (1-2 minutes) (with answers removed)

Scientists Spotlights should be shown after students have guessed the science and has all of the answers.

Each scientist should be shown one at a time for each file.

different clue methods can be used and different scientists can be swapped in as long as their science connects with the clues. The lesson might be more impactful if you include non-scientists and your clues pertain more to each individual giving students more to connect with the scientists they see.


The goal of this is exposure to DEI scientists, critical thinking, and group work.

References and Resources

The below resources were used to gather information on DEI geoscientists.

1. CERG-C - Specialisation Certificate for the Assessment and Management of Geological and Climate Related Risk. Costanza Bonadonna, 25 Sept. 2020,

2. Costanza Bonadonna. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Mar. 2021,

3. Dr. E. Louise Loudermilk - Dynamic Ecosystems and Landscape Lab. Google Sites,

4. Fire Scientist and Ecologist: Louise Loudermilk. Untamed Science, 13 June 2016,

5. JPL Science: Yuhe Song. NASA, NASA,

6. Tanya Atwater - Biographical Narrative,

7. Tanya Atwater. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Apr. 2021,

8. Warren M. Washington. Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Mar. 2021,

9. Warren Washington,

10. Warren Washington. CCR People - Dr. Warren Washington,