How to Use a Scavenger Hunt

Topic: Strategies
How to Use a Scavenger Hunt to Engage Students

In this post, we look at how to use a scavenger hunt to engage learners in an active practice activity. But first, what is a scavenger hunt?

A scavenger hunt is an excellent way to take any ordinary lesson and turn it into a fun and engaging active learning activity where students are moving around, thinking about the content, and practicing skills!

How to Use a Scavenger Hunt

  1. Post “cards” around the room (or into the halls) with specific learning tasks on them.
  2. Prepare an answer page that each student will carry around.
  3. Students are told a starting point in the scavenger hunt.
  4. After working through the first card (their starting point), students walk around to find the answer.
  5. Their answer is linked to another card, and that is where they work next.
  6. If they cannot find their answer choice, then they know they made the wrong choice and need to return to the previous card and try again.

This process continues until all of the cards are complete.

A great part of the scavenger hunt is the self-checking feature. This gives right/wrong feedback to students, so they do not practice and reinforce errors.

What does a Teacher Do in a Scavenger Hunt?

The teacher’s role is to support, monitor, and guide.

Support students in the scavenger hunt by clarifying the directions as the students move around – also check to make sure they aren’t just hunting answers (they must choose an answer before they hunt).

Monitor students to make sure they are doing the work and not just following a friend or even copying a peer’s work.

Guide students in the scavenger hunt as you see they are struggling. Provide clarifying questions or ask them to explain their thinking, so you can determine any misconceptions that should be addressed.

How Long Should a Scavenger Hunt Take?

This largely depends on your content or skill that the students are practicing. Usually, you don’t want the hunt to last longer than 20-25 minutes, and some scavenger hunt can last only 10-15 minutes.

After the scavenger hunt, be sure to check the answers and provide additional instruction on the most challenging questions.

Scavenger Hunt Power Tips

  1. If a student is in a loop (circling back to the same question without moving forward) that means they have a wrong answer. They can either reread the questions or move on to a random card knowing there’s a wrong answer.
  2. Cheating! Some students are going to figure a way to “guess and check”. While this strategy is good for math, it’s not good for practicing reading skills. Monitor them closely to make sure the read, answer the question, then move onto the hunt.

Scavenger Hunts Made For You

You can make your own scavenger hunts, or you can view reading and math scavenger hunts made by TeamTom Education.

What scavenger hunts are available? In our TPT store there are currently 6 reading scavenger hunts and 7 math scavenger hunts.

Click below to preview the scavenger hunts at Teachers Pay Teachers.

The scavenger hunts are one of our favorite resources! But don't take our word for it. Teachers and students love them too!

My kids had a great time with this review!"

- Brittani R. Aug, 2019, Text Features Scavenger Hunt

I love the price and the easy to use format!"

- Middle Shop. Jan, 2019, Ratios, Numbers, Operations Scavenger Hunt

Awesome!Awesome! Awesome! Love these and can't wait for more."

- Christina S. July, 2019, Fiction Scavenger Hunt 3

Published/Updated on January 27, 2018  

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TeamTom Education

TeamTom Education is dedicated to creating engaging teaching resources and strategies that make learning awesome!

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