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Hey there!
I've been teaching high school math for over 20 years. I write about my experiences here and also share activities that I have done with my classes that have been successful (and some that have been not so successful).
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Math Review Game "Scavenger Hunt"





When I was a kid I loved doing puzzles or hunting for Easter Eggs or solving math problems! Doing a Scavenger Hunt Review Activity is like the best of all of those things!


Check out all of the scavenger hunts from my tpt shop.

Is this a game or an activity?

A Scavenger Hunt is not really a game because the way I do it, there's no winner. 

You could make the group who finished the fastest the winner, but I don't like to reward speed. 

You could add QR codes to all of the stations and one of those QR codes takes them to the text, "You win the secret prize!" or something. 

You could make everyone who finishes the activity a winner! 

Whether you have a winner or not, it's still a good activity.


How does it work?

There are "stations" posted around the room (and even in the hallway!). A station is a sheet of paper with the station number, the answer to another question at the top of the page, and a new question at the bottom of the page.

The students start at a station of their choosing. They solve the problem at that station, then find the answer at the top of another station, then solve that problem.

The students continue solving the problems until they return to the question where they started.

One of my students described it as being like a circuit activity (check out my circuit activities), but the questions are all around the room instead of all questions on one sheet of paper. Yep.

Materials needed:

✓ A set of questions.
✓ Space to hang the questions.

Creating a Scavenger Hunt

Creating a Scavenger Hunt Activity is fairly simple. The only thing you need is a set of questions. Mine usually have 10 to 15 questions, depending on the topic. I want the activity to last 45 minutes to an hour.

Type one question per piece of paper and use a large font so that it can fill the page. Put the question on the bottom half of the paper.

One of the stations from my Sum, Difference, and Double Angle Identities Scavenger Hunt


The only thing that is tricky about putting together the scavenger hunt is making sure that the answer to question 1 does NOT take you to question 2 and the answer to question 2 does NOT take you to question 3, etc.

Have the answer key handy

I also like to have a separate sheet of paper that has all of the questions and answers on one page. I print that and have it handy while the students are working in case they have issues with one of the questions. As a matter of fact, I make the answer key first and then split up all of the questions on different pieces of paper.

I love it because

I love doing a Scavenger Hunt because students can work at their own pace. There is no reward for being the fastest student to finish. Read more about why you should not reward speed in a math class.

The thing I love the most about a Scavenger Hunt is that it is self-checking! As a matter of fact, I sometimes find myself a bit bored because I was expecting students to ask me for help, and they're not.  Occasionally one question will stump the students - if I can anticipate that, I will put that question next to my desk so that I can guide them in the right direction.



Tips

  • I always like to play music while the students work. It lifts the mood. I made a Spotify playlist with some of my students' favorite songs; but frankly, it has mostly my favorite 80s hits.
  • Create an answer sheet for the students to show their work and help keep track of which station they've visited.  You could require the students to submit this to you at the end as evidence of them showing effort.
  • If you have a class set of clipboards, students might find it novel to use them to bear down on while they're standing at each station.
  • I like to pair my students randomly using either a deck of cards or the Random Name Picker from flippty.net. You can also use the Random Name Picker to indicate where each group should start. Or you can let the students start at a station of their choosing.
  • You might want to offer an incentive to encourage the students to finish. I don't usually do this but recently I did a scavenger hunt with my seniors during the last period of the day and they only worked for about half of the period. I could have required that they submit their work to me before they leave. I could have offered stickers or something for solving a minimum number of questions. I don't want to offer an incentive for the fastest team because, again, I don't want to reward speed.

Want more?

Resources

You may be interested in some prepared Scavenger Hunts I have: