Scavenger Hunts Are Fun!

Last week we kicked off our Friday program by meeting for a math scavenger hunt outside. Scavenger hunts are a great way to review content, make math problems more fun, and integrate reading/literacy skills with other subjects. In this case, I made the scavenger hunt clues independent of the math solutions so that kids could get to the next problem even if they couldn’t answer the math problem they were given. The math problems given were aligned to Virginia SOL standards. A list of the standards and the math worksheets are given below. This hunt could be used as an end of year review, as it covers many different standards. You could create a hunt for just one unit of study, or even just one math standard. The best part is, the kids are moving around, which gives energy to their brain and makes the activity more exciting. Older students could create clues (rhyming or descriptive) and hide the math problems with the clues for their friends.

Before the scavenger hunt, we introduced ourselves to the group then exercised our brains and reviewed numbers by reading a great book called Numbers on the Move. It’s always good to review basic skills and get kids interacting with one another before starting an activity. I reviewed the alphabet code (a=1, b=2, c=3, etc.) and the concept of even and odd numbers. Then, we broke out into grade level groups to start the hunt.

Literacy was integrated because some answers required writing out a word, there was a code to solve using letters from the answers, and the clues were riddles. The clues are not attached here as they were site specific. Most of them relied on a rhyme to figure out where to go next.

I did make one mistake, which a parent caught for me. It has been fixed in the document below.

Math Scavenger Hunt April 24 2017

Virginia Math standards hit (not comprehensively covered):

  • K.1
  • K.4a
  • K.4c
  • K.6
  • K.9
  • K.10
  • K.11b
  • K.12
  • K.15
  • K.16
  • 2.1c
  • 2.21
  • 2.4a
  • 2.4c
  • 2.8
  • 2.12
  • 2.20
  • 2.21
  • 3.1a
  • 3.3a
  • 3.5

Conceptual learning for mathematics

Adding movement into math exercises makes the whole experience more fun and builds intuitive number sense. Jumping jacks or clapping or taking turns around a circle to say the next number are great exercises to do while reviewing counting, multiples, patterns, etc. Making math problem-solving more about learning how numbers (and shapes) work and less about finding the right answer can help take the pressure off. That’s why it is best to focus on teaching concepts and vocabulary not procedures or steps. Learning when to apply which procedure to what exact situation is much harder than learning how numbers work and how you can manipulate them across situations. A deep conceptual understanding is the foundation for sound problem-solving; it’s about knowing WHY you are doing what you are doing.

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