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Scavenger Hunt Activity

Description of Lesson: Internet scavenger hunts serve as a great way to hone student Web searching ability and problem solving. They can be an evaluative activity when students have to find information of a specific type or value. They also can serve as an ice-breaker. The lesson involves providing students with a goal and then having them search the Internet to fulfill that goal.

Appropriate Content Areas: All. Less common in advanced level 'hard' sciences and mathematics, but not inappropriate in those fields (i.e. hunt for an effective simulation of the given mathematical concept).

Examples:
arrow button Education World (1999). Scavenger hunts: Searching for treasure on the Internet. Retrieved February 1, 2007, from http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr113.shtml
arrow button Microsoft Education (2007). Literary scavenger hunt. Retrieved February 1, 2007, fromhttp://www.microsoft.com/Education/literary.mspx - By increasing the difficulty of the quesitons, this lesson could be modified to a higher education classroom. 

Goals & Objectives:

For an ice-breaking activity, the goal may be as simple as to let the students have fun searching for a given topic and then commenting on what other students find. More advanced activities may have evaluative goals concerning the information retrieved. Sample objective statements include:

During and after performing the Scavenger Hunt activity, students will...

  • Have fun and get to know one another,
  • Develop Web searching abilities,
  • Evaluate Web content,

...as determined by successfully attending to 80% of rubric items.

Prerequisites:

None other than access to the Web, which is necessary in any online education.

Materials and Resources:

The instructor needs only to supply the hunt rules.

Guiding Questions for this Lesson:

The guiding question will depend on the purpose. For a learning activity, the guiding question may be, can students find and effectively determine the value of Web sites on a given topic?

Lesson Outline and Procedure:

The procedure below would be a typical lesson outline for a Scavenger Hunt involving evaluation and searching skills.

  1. The instructor presents the students with a specific topic to search the Web for information on.
  2. Students are given 2 days to find a Web site that meets the given criteria.
  3. Students then submit an evaluation of that site into the appropriate forum.
  4. The instructor and other students can comment on that site.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Be specific. The Web is so full of documents that a general topic will return sites that are not cohesive enough in many cases.
  • The instructor might keep a record of past scavenger hunts as a separate Web resource.

Accommodations:

What accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities or other special needs? Practially none.

Timeline:

This activity can be given as little as 10 minutes in a synchronous ice-breaker to 2 days.

Ideas for Lesson Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:

How did the students like the lesson? End of semester evaluations should ask about the usefulness and learning accomplished through such activities. Also, the conversation that occurs during the activity will help guage how the students are enjoying various aspects and whether they are learning and/or participating.

How was student learning verified? Participation can be assessed in discussion sessions. A rubric can also be set up to help guage the quality of final work.

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