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Finding Hidden Treasure: Engaging Scavenger Hunts in K-12 Schools

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

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If You’re A Teacher… can use a scavenger hunt for curriculum review. You can really 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 about the research articles they read and ask them to use geo location to check in to a location that has 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 ice breaker questions. Others on the team can “like” the posts and you can award extra points to people who engage with others in this way. For sports teams, you can encourage daily strength training but asking teammates to post a pic 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, or get families involved in a kindness challenge, or just have a fun parents night, a scavenger hunt can meet these needs. You can check out mission banks for great ideas from other schools. If you want to fundraise, you can have local businesses sponsor any of the missions. 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 any other school groups.

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

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