HBPT Instructions for Activities

Harmful Behaviors Prevention Tool

Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Activities

This compilation of activities, found in Appendix C of the Harmful Behaviors Prevention Handbook, is meant to support DEI lesson plans or as stand-alone hip pocket type training events using the Army’s Experimental Learning Model.

These activities are meant to generate honest and often difficult conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion, which are critical to our Soldiers’ and Civilians’ personal growth while building more cohesive teams and inclusive environments.

“Diversity is the Force. Equity is the Goal. Inclusion is the Way.”

Suggested Discussion Outcomes

•    Build perspective of the diversity within the formation and accept it as a combat multiplier.

•    Foster trust and cohesion among teams

•    Build effective leadership at all echelons.

•    Enhance team development through shared understanding of each individuals experiences and beliefs

•    Gain awareness and ownership of the MEO program at the Squad Leader level IAW AR 600-20.

•    Squads discuss hard to hear issues that are detrimental to the force and prepare their formations accordingly.

Select an activity to begin.

Disclaimer:  Engaged facilitation is 99% of the activity – good facilitators know how to read their audience, adapt to the needs of participants, and seek to be inclusive. If you have any questions or concerns about the facilitation of these activities, please contact your unit Equal Opportunity Leader or Military Equal Opportunity Advisor for assistance.

Note: DEI activities are sensitive and use language, scenarios, and situations that might trigger participants’ emotions. It is the facilitators’ responsibility to ensure the activity remains positive.

Badge Activity (Socialization)

The purpose of this activity is to allow students to learn a little about their fellow participants’ self-concept, values, and interests. It also provides participants an opportunity to do some self-reflection. By understanding self and each other’s values, beliefs, and interests, participants can build a relationship of dignity and respect for one another.

Participants will learn about each other and explain how self-identity is influenced by individual socialization.

Materials Required:
  • 1.5 Manila Folders per student
  • Tape/Stapler
  • Color Markers
Time: Approximately 1 hour depending on the size of the group

  1. Inform students not to share or discuss information with anyone.
  2. Distribute two manila file folders per student with markers, tape and/ or staplers
  3. Explain the different parts of the badge as described in the example tab:
    1. Inform students not to share or discuss information with anyone.
    2. Distribute two manila file folders per student with markers, tape and/ or staplers
    3. Explain the different parts of the badge as described in the example tab:
  4. Instruct students to staple or tape their two manila folders together to form the badge.
    Note: The instructor should show a completed sample badge example.
  5. After each student has completed their badge, facilitate a discussion about each item included on each badge.
  6. Ensure students are instructed and permitted to ask for clarification on specific points of the badge. Note: Instruct the students that under no circumstances are they to question the reason for the choice of words used in the badges.
  7. After each student discusses their badge, visibly display the badges in a designated area or room.

Part 1, Identity
This area is where you identify your identity. You are to put your name at the top of the section, and below your name, write your race, ethnicity, sex, religion, social class, and geographic location (where you were raised, e.g., city, state, or region).

Part 2, Characteristics
The second section of the badge will contain a picture/symbol that represents you and no less than four words that best describes you from your perspective. Words will be written around the picture/symbol. You may draw a picture/symbol or use an actual photograph. You are to use your own descriptive words. Some examples may be “honest,” “father,” “mother,” “Soldier,” “creative,” etc.

Part 3, Values
In the third section of the badge, you will list four of your values. The values will be listed in each area of a section drawn with one horizontal line and one vertical line crossing in the center, making four equal squares.

Inform participants the following to conclude the activity: “This exercise is a great way to visualize the socialization process for our badges we just posted tell us a lot about the individual socialization process each of us experienced. Socialization is the learning of customs, attitudes, beliefs, and values of a social group, community, or culture and is essential to our development. It is strongly enforced by family, school, and peer groups and continues throughout an individual’s lifetime. So, by looking around at the different badges, you can see that socialization is why we are so different but also so alike.”

The Drawbridge Activity (Perceptions)


For participants to develop an awareness of how their beliefs and values influence the decision they make and how they perceive the people around them. Studies show that in just 7 seconds, people make 11 perceptions about a person.

Participants will be able to illustrate how beliefs and values affect one’s behavior.

What you will need


  • A printed copy of the scenario for each group
  • Butcher block or dry erase board for groups to rank characters


  • Approximately 1 hour depending on the size of the group
As he left for a visit to his outlying districts, the jealous Baron warned his pretty wife: “Do not leave the castle while I am gone, or I will punish you severely when I return!”
But as the hours passed, the young Baroness grew lonely, and despite her husband’s warning, she decided to visit her Lover who lived in the countryside nearby.
The castle was located on an island on a wide, fast-flowing river, with a drawbridge linking the island and the land at the narrowest point on the river. “Surely, my husband will not return before dawn,” she thought and ordered her servants to lower the drawbridge and leave it down until she returned.
After spending several pleasant hours with the Lover, the Baroness returned to the drawbridge, only to find it blocked by a Gateman wildly waving a long and extremely sharp knife. “Do not attempt to cross this bridge, Baroness, or I will kill you,” he raved.
Fearing for her life, the Baroness returned to her lover and asked him for help. “Our relationship is only a romantic one,” he said, “I will not help.”
The Baroness then sought out a Boatman on the river, explained her plight to him, and asked him to take her across the river in his boat.
“I will do it, but only if you can pay my fee of five Marks.”
“But I have no money with me!” the Baroness protested.
“That is too bad.  No money, no ride, the Boatman said flatly.
Her fear growing, the Baroness ran crying to the home of a Friend, and after again explaining the situation, begged for enough money to pay the Boatman his fee.
“If you had not disobeyed your husband, this would not have happened,” the Friend said. “I will give you no money.”
With dawn approaching and her last resource exhausted, the Baroness returned to the bridge in desperation, attempted to cross to the castle, and was slain by the Gateman.

Life Raft Activity (Stereotypes)

What you will need


  • Eight 5 X 7 Index Cards (Role Cards)
  • 8 Plastic Card Cases with neck string
  • Engineer Tape (used to outline Life raft)

Time: 50 minutes

  1. Print out the Role Card and cut out each role so that the role is on one side and the additional information on the other side.
  2. Place each role card in a plastic card case and set the cards aside for the activity.
  3. Use engineer tape to create an outline of the life raft large enough to accommodate eight people.
  4. Select eight people to participate in the activity and provide each of them with one role card to hang around their neck without reading or displaying the additional information located on the back of the card. Then instruct these participants to sit in the outlined life raft.
  5. Inform the participants that if they have participated in this exercise before to play along so others may be able to benefit for the activity.
  6. ead the scenario in the following tab.

You are shipwrecked out in the middle of the ocean and need to remain on the raft. For the raft to remain afloat, two shipmates must jump off (or be thrown off).
Your group, while role-playing your characters, will have 20 minutes to discuss amongst yourselves what two shipmates will jump off.
Each individual must read off to the class the role they are playing and plead their case as to why they must remain on the raft. No one may volunteer to jump off the life raft and everyone must agree who should not be in the life raft. No majority rules votes allowed.

During the exercise, facilitators should keep notes on the interactions of all students. If a group cannot come to a unanimous decision after 15 minutes, do not allow them to continue. At the end of the allotted time, have each participating student turn over their Role Card and read to the class the additional information.
Lead a discussion about how each student was stereotyped based on his or her label. Also, lead a discussion on how many times we allow these labels or stereotypes to "stick" to ourselves, which can lower our self-esteem.

The purpose of the Lifeboat Activity was to show that the survivors chosen were chosen because of their labels. Likewise, many of the people chosen not to survive were chosen due to their labels.
Many times, we as individuals, will label, judge or stereotype people around us based on first impressions or limited information. It is important for each of us to broaden our perspective of the people around us and build relationships in order to negate our desire to stereotype people.

Circle of Influence Activity (Unconscious Bias)

The purpose of this activity is to help participants identify their unconscious bias in order to expand their circle of influence and improve inclusion. Participants will be able to explain how everyone has unconscious biases.

What you will need:
  • Piece of paper or the printed handout on the circle of influence
  • Pencil or Pen
Time Required: Approximately 30 minutes depending on the size of the

  • Provide participants a piece of paper or printed circle of influence handout folded over so participants can only see the name column.
  • Ask participants to write down the names of at least 5 people they associate with most - it can be a friend, co-worker, extended family member often referred to as your Circle of Trust.
  • After they have filled in the names of 5 people, instruct them to open the paper up and put an “X” in the box of people are similar to you. For example, if you are a male and they are a male you should put a check in that box.
  • Ask participants what they found about their circle of trust or the people you associate with most.

Facilitate a discussion by asking the participants the following questions:

  • Does everyone in your circle of trust look like you with similar backgrounds?
  • Do you think it is important to expand our Circle of Trust to improve Inclusion?
  • Were you surprised by your circle of trust?

Practice inclusion, expand your circle of trust, and influence to increase the diversity of thought in your group.

Walk in My Shoes Activity (Social Identity Groups)


The activity seeks to highlight the fact that everyone has SOME benefits, even as some people have more than others. By illuminating our various benefits as individuals, we can recognize ways that we can use our benefits individually and collectively to work for equity.

The purpose is not to blame anyone for having more benefits or for receiving more help in achieving goals, but to have an opportunity to identify both obstacles and benefits experienced in our life. The activity is not meant to make anyone feel guilty or ashamed of her or his group or lack of benefit related to any social identity categories. Participants will explore how some people can benefit from being members of a social identity group.

Note: This is a very “high risk” activity that requires trust building and safety for participants; introducing this activity too early in the training or before building trust risks creating resentment and hurt that can inhibit further sharing and openness.

What you will need


  • List of Statements
  • Slide with instruction for the privilege walk (optional)
  • Space large enough for participants to form a straight line with an arm’s length between them and the person on their left; there should be space in front of the line to move forward 10 steps or behind to be able to move back 10 steps.

Walk In My Shoes Activity Statements

Read the statements one at a time to allow the time for participants to take a step either forward or backward.

  • If English is your first language take one step forward
  • If either of your parents graduated from college take one step forward
  • If you have been divorced or impacted by divorce, take one step backward
  • If there have been times in your life when you skipped a meal because there was no food in the house take one step backward.
  • If you have visible or invisible disabilities take one step backward
  • If you were encouraged to attend college by your parents and family members take one step forward
  • If you grew up in an urban setting, take one step backward
  • If your family had health insurance take one step forward
  • If your work and school holidays coincide with religious holidays that you celebrate take one step forward
  • If you studied the culture or history of your ancestors in elementary school take one step forward
  • If you have been bullied or made fun of based on something you cannot change (i.e., your gender, ethnicity, or age)
  • If you have ever felt passed over for an employment position based on your gender, ethnicity, and age or sexual orientation take one step backward.
  • If you were ever offered a job because of your association with a friend or family member, take one step forward.
  • If you were ever stopped or questioned by the police because they felt you were suspicious, take one step backward
  • If you or your family ever inherited money or property, take one step forward
  • If you came from a supportive family environment, take one step forward
  • If one of your family or parents was ever laid off or unemployed not by choice take one step backward
  • If you are a citizen of the United States take one step forward
  • If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke or statement you overheard related to your race, ethnicity, gender, appearance, or sexual orientation but felt unsafe to confront the situations take one step backward
  • If you took out a loan for your education, take one step backward
  • If there were more than 50 books in your house growing up, take one step forward
  • If you have ever felt unsafe walking alone at night take one step backward


  1. Have participants form a straight line across the room about an arm’s length apart, leaving space in front and behind.
  2. State the following:
    “Listen to the following statements, and follow the instructions given. For example, when I read “If you have blue eyes, take one step forward,” only people with blue eyes will move and everyone else will stand still. Each step should be an average length step. This activity should be done in silence and if anyone feels uncomfortable stepping forward and backward on any statement I read, then please stay where you are, but remember the statement read.”
  3. Read the statements one at a time to allow the time for participants to take a step either forward or backward.

Closing Discussion

Begin the closing discussion session by going around the room and having each student share one word that capture how they are feeling right now. If they do not want to share, let them say, “Pass”.

  • Would anyone like to share more about their feelings?
  • How did it feel to be one of the students on the “back” side of the line?
  • How did it feel to be one of the students on the “front” side of the line?
  • Did anyone think they had experienced an average amount of privilege, but it turned out to be more or less than they thought?
  • If anyone was alone on one side, how did that feel?
  • Was anyone always on one side of the line? If yes, how did that feel?
  • Were there certain sentences that were more impactful than others were?

What I Want You to Know (Self Identity)

What you will need


  • Tape
  • Sheet of paper for each participant
  • Writing utensil for each participant


  • Estimated to be 4 minutes each participant + 15 minutes debrief


  1. Hang a sheet of paper up with the following 4 questions:
    1. What I think about me …
    1. What others think about me …
    1. What might be misunderstood about me …
    1. What I need from you …
  2. Explain that participants will be completing the four prompts to whatever degree they are comfortable as a written activity.
  3. Introduce the four prompts by modeling them yourself that each participant will need to answer.
  4. Allow each person the time to state their names and complete all four prompts.
  5. Move on to debrief questions to get conversations about each person started.

Note: If the group is large, you may consider breaking up into groups and then posting each response for others to read.

Debrief Discussion Questions

  • What are 1-2 words that describe what this activity was like for you?
  • What was it like to introduce yourself in this manner?
  • Did you feel affirmed in the group? Why or why not?
  • What are some things you can do in this diversity training/workshop/activity session to make your peers comfortable and included?

First Impressions (Perceptions)


When we allow ourselves to judge someone based on their appearances, we miss out on getting to know the real person and important information about them. This activity allows us to disclose a piece of our identity that is not obvious to others. You will also be asked to share why certain parts of your identity are important for you to disclose.

This activity will allow participants to disclose some personal information that they may not have had the opportunity to share yet. The goal is to demonstrate that there is much more to a person than what comes out in face-to-face encounters. The goal is accomplished by looking beyond appearances, encouraging self-reflection, and allowing for meaningful group dialogue. The participants are encouraged to ask meaningful questions and find out more information about their peers.

What you will need


  • None needed

Time: Estimated to be 2-3 minutes per participant + 15 minute debrief


  1. Form a circle with chairs or sitting on the floor if participants are able.
  2. Participants will be asked to say the following prompt:

“My name is, and I am from________. One thing you cannot tell just by looking at me is________. This is important for me to tell you because____________.”

  • For students with different learning and remembering capabilities, it will be useful to write this out on a sheet of paper to pass around as a “script.”
  • Demonstrate the prompt by filling it in and reciting your own to model the exercise.
  • Allow participants to share their own after emphasizing listening skills and respect.

Note: Participants can choose to disclose high or low risk responses. Be open to anything that participants may want to share and encourage them to say what is important to them at the time of the activity. Depending on group size, you can have participants share 1-2-3 things, etc.

I Am, But I Am Not (Stereotypes)


Common stereotypes can be very hurtful and difficult for individuals to celebrate their own identities. The activity engages participants in a process of identifying what they consider to be the most salient dimensions of their own identity. It is also a helpful introduction to stereotypes and ways in which people identify salient stereotypes in their lives.

In this activity we will claim some of our own identities and dispel stereotypes we may believe exist about the group.

What you will need


  • Paper
  • Writing Utensils

Estimated Time:

  • 5-minute intro
  • 10 minutes to write out their sentences
  • 2 minute each participant to share
  • 15 minutes debrief


  1. Ask participants to fold their paper in half and re-open it to create 2 columns. On one side, the heading will be “I am.” On the other side, the heading will be “I am not.” Instruct participants to write the word “but” in the middle of the two columns.
  2. Ask participants to write at least five “I am, but I am not” statements on their paper. Demonstrate one example to the group, such as, “I am Asian, but I am not good at math.” Participants should use this opportunity to introduce their identity and dispel any stereotypes about them.
  3. Ensure there are no questions and allow time for everyone to write at least five statements.
  4. Allow participants to share their own paper after emphasizing listening skills and respect.

Things to Consider

  • Addressing stereotypes can be a trigger. Publishing is very important. People may articulate stereotypes in their “but I am not” that might trigger other participants.
  • A helpful way to debrief is to ask the group (or individual):
  • Where did you learn that stereotype?
  • What was your first message about that stereotype?
  • How was it reinforced for you?

It might also be helpful to ask other participants if they had heard that stereotype before and what their first messages about it were, too.

  • The key to this activity is the process of examining one's own identity and the stereotypes associated with that identity, then having one's own stereotypes challenged through others' stories and stereotype challenges.

It is crucial, especially for the final part of the activity when participants are sharing their stereotypes, to allow for silences.

People will be hesitant to share initially, but once the ball starts rolling, the activity carries a lot of energy. Allow time at the end for participants to talk more about whatever stereotype they shared.

My Life Map (Self-Evaluation)


We all have different origins and beginnings. In this activity, we will evaluate where we came from, what has helped us to grow, and where we would like to be someday. Use this as a chance to get to know who is in the group and what contributes to a full person. Share as much as you are comfortable with and respect your peers.  

This activity allows participants to evaluate their origins, growth, and future. This is a self- evaluation activity, however; we will share with the group to facilitate understanding of where people come from.

What you will need

Life Map Worksheet
Writing Utensils

Estimated Time:
5-minute introduction
10 minutes to write out their sentences
2 minute each participant to share
15 minutes debrief


  1. In preparation for the activity, print copies of the life map sheets.
  2. Instruct participants to complete their life maps with as much or as little information as they think fits.
  3. After each person has completed their sheet, invite them to share what they filled in. Every participant should share.

Closing Discussion Questions

  • Why did we do this activity?
  • What did this activity tell you about your peers?
  • Were there times you felt conflicted?
  • Did someone’s selection surprise you at any point?
  • Which questions were the hardest to answer? Why?
  • Why should you do exercises like this often?

Harmful Behaviors Prevention Handbook

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