As a student, I always hated returning to school after an extended break and sitting in a desk, listening to the teacher ramble on about all of the content we covered prior to our vacation. Usually this was a week long process and covered the basics. The teacher would sit with their overhead projector (Am I dating myself?) and roll through all of the notes we had taken in lectures prior. It puts me to sleep thinking about it right now. I could not do that to my students.
So, I stepped outside the box and starting creating a scavenger hunt for my students. It was important that we hit many targets on our review, so I would need many clues. I decided the best method for this would be to use QR codes and place them around the hallways. I would hide them in places, some in plain sight while others would take a CSI investigation team to find. I would then unleash my students in small groups around the entirety of our school and hope for the best.
After some planning, a few hours cutting out the codes and gluing them on construction paper (to differentiate between two different grade levels) and an hour of hiding the QR codes around the school, the hunt was on. To my amazement, "classroom" management handled itself. Students were so engaged in the activity, and unwilling to share with their competitors where any clue was, that at most you could hear a whisper as students wandered through the hallways. I even heard several groups say they were having fun while learning. Who knew learning could be fun???
For anyone who would like to take on this adventure, see the quick tutorial below. If you have any questions, feel free to connect with me in the comments section or via Twitter by using the button at the top of the screen.
How to Set Up Your QR Code Scavenger Hunt
iPads, tablets, or Cell Phones with a Camera
a QR code app
Microsoft Word or Google Docs
QR code generator Web site
a Web site (I prefer using Weebly, but any class Web site would work)
How to get your QR code scavenger hunt created:
- Start by coming up with the questions or images you plan to use for assessing student learning. You can address any Depth of Knowledge level with this. I like to use DOK 2 or 3 so I know students are applying their knowledge, but I add plenty of DOK 1 when using this after a break.
- Create a page on your class Web site for each of the questions you will be asking in your scavenger hunt. I also like to include an OOPS page where there is no question, only a message telling the students they have found a non-question.
- Go to any QR code generating Web site (I prefer the site linked above) and copy each clue page's URL into the site. The QR code generating site will create a code that is linked to that question. You can copy and paste the QR code into a document and resize to fit your need (the smaller, the harder to find). Once all of your clues have been QR coded (and, if you choose, several OOPS codes), print the codes and cut them out.
- Hide your clues in whatever venue you will be using to use for your scavenger hunt. If you are confined to your classroom, I suggest hiding clues under chairs and tables. I would also suggest making a map of where you are hiding your QR codes. If you are like me, you WILL forget where you hid them and have students bring them to you two weeks later.
That's it. Enjoy this learning strategy. It will amaze you the amount of work your students will put in to find the clues and come up with the correct answer.