Mystery Month in Genius Numbers: Meet Scooby-Doo Animator Iwao Takamoto and Play with Fingerprints

March 5, 2022 / DIY & Printable

Genius content refreshes every month! This month, dive into all things “mystery,” from unexplained phenomena to the Geniuses who’ve built careers off the genre.

We’ve compiled limited-time game updates, real-life genius stories, and educator-approved activities into interactive printables, designed to enhance your little kids’ learning. Access this week’s printable by clicking the button below:

Game Update

Check out Osmo Numbers for a limited-time “trip” to the Bermuda Triangle, an ocean area where ships and planes mysteriously disappear…or do they?!

Genius Spotlight: Iwao Takamoto

Iwao Takamoto created some of the world’s most famous mystery-solvers: Scooby-Doo and his friends!

Scooby-Doo started as a TV cartoon about four teenagers and their dog Scooby. In each episode, a weird supernatural event is going on in the friends’ town. They drive around in their van (the “Mystery Machine”) looking for clues to help solve the case.

Iwao was the animator who brought these characters to life! Animation is a process that turns drawings into moving images.

Iwao started building up his drawing skills as a teenager. He kept a sketchbook of everything he saw, which helped him get his first job at Walt Disney Studios. Iwao helped animate Disney movies like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. 

After 15 years, Iwao left Disney to work as an artist and character designer at Hanna-Barbera, the TV animation studio that later made Scooby-Doo.

Iwao created all the original character sketches for Scooby-Doo. The show was so popular it inspired a handful of other mystery cartoons at the time, plus spin-offs and movies of its own.

Although Iwao’s career was full of cool projects, his creativity lives on forever through Scooby and his mystery-solving gang!

Real-World Activity: Making Fingerprints

Try this educator-approved activity at home. This week’s printable (button above) has instructions with photos!

Fingerprints are like a personal stamp we leave on everything we touch. That’s why detectives look for them when trying to solve a mystery.

To see your own unique fingerprints, you’ll need:

  • Pencil
  • Clear scotch tape
  • Optional: magnifying glass


  1. With clean hands, rip off 10 small pieces of tape, approx. 1-inch long each. Keep them handy along the edge of a desk or table.
  2. Shade the Pencil Spot darkly with pencil.
  3. Rub your fingertip over the shaded area for 5-10 seconds.
  4. Grab a piece of tape, and carefully press your finger onto the sticky side.
  5. Peel it off and place here.
  6. Repeat with all fingers, adding more pencil shading if needed.

If you have a magnifying glass, look at your fingerprints close up. Notice all the lines and twirls? Those shapes are uniquely yours!