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Let's face it - some classroom technology tools are more trouble than they are worth. Many projects require too much time from you and too little direct payoff for students.

However, online scavenger hunts are an innovative new way to use technology to accomplish several practical learning objectives in one fun activity.

With just a web browser and Internet access, teachers can design a project that lets students learn subject matter while developing web surfing skills at the same time. The end product asks students to rummage through a given set of web sites to find answers to your questions.

Use this straightforward how-to and send your students on an online learning adventure!

  • Decide on the curricular focus of your Internet Scavenger Hunt. Social Studies and Science are two subjects that particularly lend themselves to a hunt.
  • Find a collection of relevant web sites on the topic. Use the K-6 Educators Subject pages for a handpicked collection of the best links for teachers and their students.
  • Open up a word processing program for writing the instructions and questions. This is the handout you will be giving to your students.
  • Begin with very clear and specific directions for each and every step the students should take when they get on the computer. i.e. open up your web browser, click on this button, etc. Assume nothing; make it clear and avoid confusion later.
  • Give the students a list of designated web sites to search. There are several options for doing this; you can create a special web page with the links, add them to each computer's bookmark folder, or type them on the worksheet itself.
  • Cut and paste the exact wording from the web site and turn the information into questions. For future reference, it's best to make a note of exactly where you found the information and on which site.
  • Gather the material from a variety of different web sites and from various positions on the pages. Don't make it easy for the kids. The object is to get them used to searching for information that could be anywhere on a site.
  • Mix up the order of the questions so that students have to browse around all of the sites to find the answers.
  • Pair together a student who has advanced web browsing skills with a more inexperienced student so that students can learn from each other. You don't want any child to feel frustrated. Let them learn from each other.
  • Monitor the students closely during the hunt, offering tips about how to effectively find information on the Internet. They'll be tempted to wander off to other non-approved sites, so watch closely and help them stay on task.
  • Write a few bonus questions for those students who finish early.
That's about it! For your first hunt, keep it simple and see how both you and the kids like this activity. If it goes well, you'll have a 21st century way to do what teachers do best - accomplishing multiple things at once!

For a simple, no-frills version of this information, visit our How-To section.

Your Guide, Beth Lewis
Elementary School Educators Guide
k-6educators@aboutguide.com

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