Introductory activities

What kind of animal are you?

Fun introductory or warm-up activity.

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What kind of animal are you?
Educator prep: None
Student prep: None
Breakout rooms
Duration: 5-30 mins

Activity purpose

This is a fun introductory or warm-up activity.

Useful for

Doing introductions in any size group without asking people to reveal too much about themselves if they don’t want to.




Ask participants to go around and say “if you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?”

This can be done in a large group or in smaller groups via breakout rooms.


It could take anywhere between 1-5 minutes per participant, so if it is a large group, you may want to limit each person to 1 or 2 minutes.

Adaptations and examples

If it is culturally inappropriate, or you face resistance from the notion of being asked “what kind of animal are you?”, you could modify the activity. For example, Irene Maweu who contributed this activity once had to do this and she asked people “what kind of car would you be?”

You can also make the activity more memorable by inviting folks to change their profile picture or rename themselves to represent the animal they would be.

Contributed by Shanali Govender: In some contexts asking people to take part in this activity might be triggering, due to the dehumanizing metaphors connected to their national experience of coloniality (e.g. in South Africa). In situations where this might make for a difficult interaction, you can change the activity to focus around cars, colours, patterns or hats – whatever feels most appropriate for the group. For example, you could ask “what type of hat would you choose, and why?”

Technical requirements

None, other than breakout rooms if you choose to split up the whole group.

Useful resources


More 'Introductory activities' activities:
Equity Unbound Activity
Language Portrait
Reflect on language experiences with your students and share biographical information.
Francesca Helm
Equity Unbound Activity
Tour of Where You Are
The purpose here is to build community through students sharing where they are studying from.
Patrice Prusko
Equity Unbound Activity
Surrealist Free Drawing Introductions
Creative take on doing intros that can help students to know one another and challenges perfection paralysis.
Autumm Caines

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