Help Students Learn Through Using Online Scavenger Hunts
By Sabrina Petrafesa
The internet’s the main source of information for people all around the world, including kids, so it’s important that we teach students how to effectively research online. One of the easiest ways to get kids motivated to learn more on the internet efficiently and effectively is through an online scavenger hunt (sometimes called a “webquest.”). Students can learn the basic skills needed to start any research on a website that they know is reliable, such as FactMonster. These research skills will follow them for their entire academic career and most of their lives.
An online scavenger hunt can either be incredibly dull or a lot of fun. If the hunt is dull, the kids become uninterested and want to finish the assignment quickly for all the wrong reasons. However, an entertaining hunt will create a better learning atmosphere and the students will want to keep progressing through the hunt because they’re having fun. Kids learn better in a playful environment and a scavenger hunt has the potential to introduce students to so many topics they wouldn’t understand otherwise.
Here are a few tips and tricks to making a truly fun scavenger hunt for your students:
Pick a website that will have all the information you want your students to find. (FactMonster is a great websites for this.)
Find your subject. This can be anything from science to math to history! An aimless scavenger hunt will become chaotic.
Don’t make the scavenger hunt too long. The longer it is the less likely students will want to finish it at all. Ten to 20 questions is a good place to land.
Try to include interactive activities, like links to YouTube or games. This makes the kids more engaged with the information and not just staring and reading at the screen.
Make the questions fun! Try your hand at rhyming and make a few questions a riddle! Scavenger hunts should be fun and an online one can feel more like work than fun if it looks and sounds like a quiz or homework assignment.
Give out prizes for those who complete the scavenger hunt accurately the fastest. (Is it really a scavenger hunt without a little competition?)
If you’re a teacher looking for new activities this is perfect end of the week activity because an online hunt for facts can foster competition while the kids learn about a new topic and solidify their basic research skills. Students engaged in these scavenger hunts will want to race each other finish first. Students will want to do the assignment because they’ll want to beat their friends.
There are plenty of websites that have templates and scavengers hunts already made. You can use these and expand on them yourself or just make your own scavenger hunt entirely. The important thing is to get your students active and interested. Try it out and see how it works for your class!
Disclaimer: Children should not participate in online scavenger hunts unsupervised. The internet is a big place and not all websites are reliable and children can wander on to websites that are not relevant or inappropriate.