Scavenger hunts are a brilliant way to pursue a particular topic or educational course with your class in a fun and innovative way. As well as the excitement of pursuing clues and deciphering the message to work out where to hunt next, educators can use scavenger hunts as a way to drip-feed small, digestible chunks of information to students in a clear, memorable way. A scavenger hunt in a history lesson, for example, might involve students gradually piecing together a project about a famous figure, picking up separate pieces of information about their life, politics and writing with each new clue. Or a scavenger hunt in a museum or cultural building could lead students to gradually discover new aspects of art or architecture as they go along.
Now, thanks to education technology, scavenger hunts have been given a whole new makeover – here are 5 updated ideas for how to implement them in the 21st century classroom!
Using Google to answer tricky scavenger hunt questions is doubly effective – it both enables students to hone and perfect their search engine technique and allows them to learn about exciting, complex new topics and ideas! Best of all, fantastic online tool A Google a Day creates a new Google scavenger hunt daily so you don’t even have to come up with the questions yourself! Specially designed to challenge students and require more than one search to find the right answer, the program also uses ‘Deja Google’ (a cache of the previous day’s Google results) so that other students’ results won’t pop up in the feed and ruin the answers for everybody else!
If you don’t know how to make your own QR codes, don’t panic – follow this simple guide from the ever-dependable Mashable and you’ll be ready to go in no time! Then use a great site like Kaywa to create your own codes, perhaps each containing a link or a text clue to the whereabouts of the next code!
If you need some more inspiration on how QR codes can be used in the classroom, check out our past article, 5 Real Ways To Use QR Codes In Education.
If students are able to bring their own devices, or use school-provided tablets or phones, they can use an instant, free photo-sharing app like Instagram to compete in a fun scavenger hunt. Whether on a class nature walk or a trip to a museum or historical site, simply provide students with a list of items they need to find and let them compete to photograph and upload as many as possible before sharing their accounts back in the classroom. Whether taking pictures of specific architectural features or species of plant, the snaps will also provide great evidence to include in a report or homework assignment.
Themed Internet Scavenger Hunts
This great resource from Education World provides an enormous archive of ready-made scavenger hunts designed for students studying a huge variety of topics, mostly connected to specific annual events (such as Inauguration Day, Chinese New Year etc.) The fun worksheets make learning enjoyable as kids use specific websites and resources to answer the questions in the shortest possible time! Worksheets are printable and resources downloadable, so an Internet connection is not required during the lesson itself.
The possibilities for exploration here are enormous – you could give clues to famous landmarks and challenge teams to find and screenshot each one, or give different groups different countries to hunt for specific coordinates or clues. Here’s a great example of a Google Earth scavenger hunt from the Tech Savvy Educator!