Classroom Scavenger Hunts

Most students are fascinated with scavenger hunts. Use their interest to motivate them to learn. Scavenger hunts can be created for almost any subject. Divide your room into teams and let them work together. The teacher should decide whether or not students who prefer working alone will be allowed to do so. 


Give them math problems to solve. Instead of numbers, the problems should have alphabet letters. The problems can be created for any type of problem, from adding to algebra. Differentiating is easy. Each group can be given a sheet with problems that meet their abilities. When the problems have been solved, the answers will be matched to letters that form words. The words will be hints that lead the students to the next items they must collect. At each location, place an envelope for each group with the next set of problems.


Comprehension can be practiced with a scavenger hunt. Write clues for the students to use to find a word or location that contains an item the student must collect. The words themselves can be the item, but it is more fun if they get to move around the classroom, gym or playground.

Social Studies/geography

Using the Internet, textbooks and encyclopedia, give the students hints that will lead them to the discovery of a place, a person or an event that they can add to their list. Require them to draw, copy or collect pictures to turn in.


A library scavenger hunt will open up the students’ eyes to the wonders of the library. There are a couple of choices. One option is to create a list of books for the students to find that they might enjoy reading. The second option is to give the students a list of genres. The student must pick one book from each genre and identify it before they can complete their list.


Introduce a new section in science or test the students’ abilities to identify lab equipment. Give each group a list of science terms. You can vary the terms if items are limited or you want variety. You can also use the textbook, giving the students clues for the items that they must collect. For example, the science equipment shown on page 247 in example 14-3.

A little time and ingenuity is all it takes to create a scavenger hunt for your students. They will have so much fun finding the items on their lists that they won’t even notice they are learning.