How To Create and Use a Math Scavenger Hunt
By Linda Lindroth, Teaching PreK-8
Create numbers excitement with a math scavenger hunt!
Math is a numbers game – and a math scavenger hunt can have your students searching the Internet for clues to the numbers with which you want them to work. Whether you decide to create a simple search or a robust investigation, your students are almost guaranteed to be excited about a math scavenger hunt.
Planning your hunt
A scavenger hunt is such a wide-open strategy that almost any topic will work and allow for an extensive list of math-skill reinforcement. The scavenger hunt is a great way to introduce students to meaningful web resources on given topics and to provide practice with using search engines to find information.
There are two main types of scavenger hunts. In one hunt, the student is given a list of questions or items to find and uses a search engine to look for the required information. The second type is the same hunt, but the teacher provides the URL for the web resources that contain the answers. This second type is definitely a better choice for primary students. It is also the one that insures your students find the information they need for the academic content you are introducing, while still improving their Internet navigation skills.
Here are the steps to take for either style scavenger hunt.
1. Decide on a math topic (or other content area) and the basic information you want your students to know. Make a list of questions and items that you want them to find on their number hunt. This list may be modified as you find relevant websites for your students to use in their scavenger hunt. Deciding on key questions first helps keep the focus on the curriculum content you want to cover.
2. I always search for relevant web resources to make sure my students will have a “web bank” of resources to which to go for accurate information. Since I use the scavenger hunt as a guided study of web resources, I always provide the links for my students. If the web resources are comprehensive, I use two or more questions per link. Remind students to use the search tool on a given website to find specific answers at that site. A hunt works best if the number of links is limited to 4-8 websites.
3. When possible, make the item search useable in later lessons. If you are working on data analysis and plan to graph some of your information, have students print a piece of graph paper. If you are going to use pictures of famous mathematicians, have them download a picture. Want to bake something for your study of weights and measurements? Search for a cookie recipe or a no-bake cake recipe.
I try to limit my scavenger hunts to one class period – or plan a second hunt later in the unit – to keep the excitement high while still focusing on the curriculum.
Scavenger hunt resources
Your scavenger hunt list can be on paper or it can be “web-ready.” Even if you don’t have a class web page where you can add an interactive scavenger hunt, you can create almost the same thing in a simple Word document. Just type your hunt and the URL links will become active links on which students can click to go directly to the web resource.
For more ideas on scavenger hunts, visit the following sites.
Education World® – Curriculum Scavenger Hunts www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr113.shtml This comprehensive resource has sample hunts and guides for creating your own.
Blackwell’s Best – Scavenger Hunts www.vickiblackwell.com/hunts.html Very comprehensive index of Internet scavenger hunts across the curriculum.
Math Hunt www.teacher.scholastic.com/mathhunt Key math topics are integrated into these science and social studies topics.
Adventures of CyberBee Treasure Hunts www.cyberbee.com/hunts.html Several examples of online treasure hunts.
Additional Resource Bank for Scavenger Hunts
Mathematics Internet Scavenger Hunt This math webquest is really an Internet Scavenger Hunt with rubric, list of geometry items to find, and survey form for students to complete when they are finished with their hunt. This is a good review of geometry and offers students excellent practice in using web search engines for finding information.
Metric Scavenger Hunt Download the Activity sheets and Find Me Cards for this scavenger hunt to find real-world items that fit a given metric measurement. Students will love this hands-on investigation of metric measurement.
Stimulating Successful Scavenger Hunts This detailed training guide for the why, how to, and what of scavenger hunts will benefit the novice and the expert users of scavenger hunts. There are also dozens of completed hunts to use in all curriculum areas. (Be patient; some of the links are no longer active, but the working links are worth the hunting time.) One of my favorites for January and February: Journey Along the Underground Railroad
Internet Hunt Activities Excellent database of Internet scavenger hunts divided by content area and theme topics.
Courtesy of © 2007, YellowBrix, Inc.