Rabu, 30 November 2011

Teaching Research Skills to High School Students Using a Scavenger Hunt

It's important to include off-line resources such as libraries in your hunt.

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It can be a significant challenge to teach high schoolers material or skills they consider to be dull, difficult or troublesome. Unfortunately, research and many other fundamental educational skills can fall into this category. Letting kids graduate from school without these skills isn't an option for good teachers, so it's important to find ways to make the process entertaining and engaging. One method that's been successful for many schools is organizing a scavenger hunt to teach research skills.

Related Searches: Initial Planning

A scavenger hunt can be a powerful educational tool, but it requires significant planning. Decide in advance how elaborate your hunt will be. Some last only an afternoon, while others can occupy an entire weekend. Educators' websites and schools that have run or participated in scavenger hunts can be helpful. The Friends of Millard Fillmore scavenger hunt, for example, has been held every year since 1969 in the San Francisco area. Their rules are posted online, and can provide much useful guidance to first-time organizers. Consult with both school and public librarians, since they'll also be impacted by your project.


One of the primary functions of the planning process is to gain a clear understanding of your goals for the scavenger hunt. Some teachers might use a hunt to spark an interest in research, while others could use a more elaborate hunt as a full-scale tutorial in research methodology. Wherever your set your own goals, they should at least include online and offline materials, and some discussion of how to choose authoritative sources. Every student should also learn how to cite sources in one of the common formats, such as AP or Harvard style.


Selecting suitable questions is one of the most important portions of the exercise, and can be the most time consuming. Categorize your questions by subject matter, or lay out separate sets of questions to be answered from the internet, print sources or private databases, if they're available from your local library. The questions need to be hard enough to provide a challenge, but not hard enough to discourage the competing teams. Teacher-oriented websites can provide lists of age-appropriate questions, but bear in mind your students are just as capable of finding them as you are. Draw your questions from multiple sources if possible.

Conducting the Hunt

Begin the hunt by giving each team the set of questions and reminding them of the ground rules. Kids are naturally competitive, so you'll probably need to establish penalties for concealing library materials and other forms of gamesmanship. Have staff available to answer questions and adjudicate disputes, either in person or by telephone or text message. At the conclusion of the hunt, it will take some time to read all the submissions and evaluate the quality of the answers given. Having colleagues available to help with the evaluation process is especially useful.

ReferencesEducation World: Community Scavenger Hunt Teaches Research Skills, Much MorePacific University Oregon: The Scavenger Hunt As an Interactive Teaching Tool to Develop Research SkillsFriends of Millard Fillmore Scavenger Hunt: FOMF RulesPhoto Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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