Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Scavenger Hunts - and a free template!

I've truly had a very productive week this week. I am ahead in planning, and spent some time yesterday creating a template that I'd like to share. 

I don't know who came up with the idea of this type of scavenger hunt, but I use them ALL.THE.TIME.
At least once per unit. Usually more. 
Because a 10 question scavenger hunt takes me 5-10 minutes to create, and lets them practice with or without partners, usually filling up 15-30 minutes of class time. 

I have so many of these that I've handwritten. In my teacher bag, I even carry around "scavenger hunt packets" of  sets of 10 different colors of cardstock. When waiting for a meeting, it's so easy to quickly make a set of these from 10 questions scrawled out on a scrap of notebook paper.

Just in case you call them something different (or haven't heard of them), for a scavenger hunt you post a number (I typically do 10) of questions and answers around the room. You can see them posted in the picture above - a blue one on the wall, a pink one on the window. 

Each page has an answer on the outside and a question on the inside. This set was for multiplying polynomials.

Each page also has a letter to label the question. 

Students start at any question, work it out on their paper, and then search for the answer on another paper around the room. Once found, they complete the question under that answer. After they've completed the last question, that answer brings them back to where they started (which is why they can start at any letter). 

I have students work their questions out on a piece of construction paper set up with the same number of boxes as questions. They put the letter that they are working on in the smaller box. The letter sequence (which is always random) allows me to quickly check their work while I'm circulating around the room. Once complete, they attach the page in their ISN.

This is what the cards look like stored for future use - I write the answer key on a sticky label and always stick it to the back of the A card, with the topic and number of questions. When I'm ready to use a set, I quickly copy those 10 letters onto a post it which I keep in my pocket for the day.

Here's how I keep the scavenger hunts (and all other game/station activities) organized for future use:
I have 2 large milk crates with hanging files labeled by topic. 

Each activity is inside either a bag, sleeve protector, or binder clipped. 
As you can see, I'm still working on finding more activities for several of my algebra 2 topics. 
This is NOT where I keep worksheets/foldables/ISN pages. 

These bins are only for games and station activities. This is also where I keep flashcards, task cards, and non-content specific TPR materials (Yes/No cards, worksheet game boards, ABCD cards/etc.)

So back to the scavenger hunts, and on to the freebie!
I decided that I wanted a way to type these so if I'm on the go, I can quickly type up a set of questions and answers in Evernote, and then just copy and paste right before I print. So yesterday, I sat down at my laptop and made it happen.

I made a template in Word that will automatically populate a 10-question set of questions and answers. 


Because of the way I have it set up, you can even use pictures/equations/screenshots for your questions or answers! Yes, that's right. You don't have to type in questions - use the snipping tool, or a web clipper like Lightshot, and it'll be done in 5 minutes, ready to print. 

Instructions are in the file - click here to download it

(And if you create a set for something algebra-ish, please send it my way! 
If you need help using it, email me or have the MS Word teacher at your school look at it - the file uses cross-references to bookmarked cells in the table on the first page.)

I am really so excited to start using this template - once I've made a few sets, I'll share them as well. 


  1. This is such a cool idea to speed up the process of making an activity. I also make these kinds of scavenger hunts, but hopefully this will much improve my process! I also do "mazes" that are similar, but use multiple choice questions. I have a free download on my blog for one for graphing polynomials. You can find it here:
    It is a word document, so if you don't like the questions, you can change them. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Awesome! Thanks - I love the multiple choice aspect!

  3. Awesome resource! This is definitely easier than creating these by hand. How did you set it up to auto-fill the questions and answers? I would like to make a slightly longer scavenger hunt. Thanks.

  4. I can't put into words what a blessing it was to find this post while searching for scavenger hunts. I love using them, and my algebra 1 freshman love doing them. I always hated having to make them though!! It took so much time, and there are so many opportunities to make an easy mistake that would take an eternity to find. This template is AMAZING. Thank you SO SO much!!
    PS- If you have a MacBook, command+A highlights the text, and fn+f9 fills in the cells.

  5. I love you. I have dreamed of exactly this, and now I've found it <3

  6. Love this! Can you explain how you linked the cells? It is totally amazing.