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Finding Hidden Treasure: Engaging School Scavenger Hunts

Updated: May 26, 2023

As we round the corner in winter, that means warmer weather and, for many, getting outside a bit more. In a typical year, science classes are going outside to look at vegetation, or sports teams start a new season. But with school being virtual and sports being modified or canceled, we all must re-think outdoor activities. The good news is that a scavenger hunt can be a great way to get students outdoors while reviewing materials or getting to know their new teammates – and it can be done socially distanced manner! GooseChase’s Eric Chiang and Joe Denomme recently joined the Multipurpose Room podcast to share how teachers, PTAs, PTOs, principals, and sports teams can use scavenger hunts. Check out the highlights here, and read the key takeaways below.

Map Hunting

School Scavenger Hunts

If You’re A Teacher… can use a school scavenger hunt for curriculum review. You can bring the subject matter to life. For example, if you did a module early in the year on plants and sunlight, you may have a scavenger hunt to find certain types of plants in a local trail. You may have several missions asking the students to take photos of various plants, then other missions to link to research articles about those plants. You can ask students to do short write-ups about the plants or the research articles they read and ask them to use geo-location to check in to a location with a certain type of vegetation. This is just an example, however. As a teacher, you can choose any subject matter, including creating multi-subject scavenger hunts and/or borrowing from the mission bank where you see missions other teachers have used. Because you can assign points to missions, you can use those points to grade the assignment.

If You’re a Principal or Superintendent or a Coach... can use a scavenger hunt as a team-building activity. Teams have used this as a getting-to-know-you activity – you include missions that ask people to post videos introducing themselves, photos sharing their favorite book, or write-ups answering icebreaker questions. Others on the team can “like” the posts, and you can award extra points to people who engage with others in this way. You can encourage daily strength training for sports teams but ask teammates to post pictures of their training. For teachers, you can encourage sharing by asking teachers to post what they have been working on in their class.

If You’re a PTA, PTSA, or PTO… can use a scavenger hunt to engage your school community while remote (and to fundraise, if you’re inclined). Whether you want to run your Halloween costume contest online, get families involved in a kindness challenge, or have a fun parents' night, a scavenger hunt can meet these needs. You can check out mission banks for great ideas from other schools. Local businesses can sponsor any missions if you want to fundraise. Their logo can be featured, and/or you can even ask your community to check in to a physical business location as part of a mission. There is a lot of versatility in using an online scavenger hunt and typically a very low cost, making it a win-win option for PTOs, PTAs, PTSAs, and other school groups.

If you’re interested in running a scavenger hunt, watch the full episode for some best practices and Eric and Joe’s great ideas for creating an engaging game.


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