History Scavenger Hunts! 👀

Fun History Activity


A Really Fun History Activity to Make The Past Relevant for Students!

Now that it's Spring, it's a great time to get students outside, thinking creatively, and searching for history in the real world! And a great way to do that is with a strategy I call, “Historical Connections Scavenger Hunts.” 

These scavenger hunts are a great way to get students to see the relevance of history in the world today, while also thinking critically about the content they’re learning in class.

What students need to do is look for connections between the content of the unit to things on campus (or if done as a homework assignment or project- in their community). When they see something that connects to something they learned in class- say a fire extinguisher connecting to the Triangle Factory Fire or if you’re studying the Silk Road they take a photo of a shirt tag that says “Made in China”, they snap a picture of it. When they get back in class, they’ll turn this into a brief presentation (see below).

This is such a fun way to get students thinking creatively about history!
outside history activities

Step 1: How to do a Historical Connection Scavenger Hunt

  1. Before embarking on the hunt, spend a few minutes reviewing what you’ve been learning so they have ideas on what to look for as they walk around campus. 

  2. Explain the instructions and keep them simple. You can use this freebie.

  3. Go over the rules & expectations.  Review expectations like students using their phones only to take photos and being respectful to other classes.

  4. Two options for the actual scavenger hunt- Take your students on a guided stroll through campus as a class. Or, if your administration is okay with it and your students are responsible enough, have them go in small groups on their own.

  5. Give 15 minutes for the actual scavenger hunt. This should be plenty of time to go across most campuses and tour some common places like libraries, the office, etc.

 fun outdoor history activity

Step 2: Creating Wiki-Presentations 

  1. When students get back to class they need to work in small groups to create a simple presentation on the best connection they were able to make. They start by going through their pictures and select their favorite one.

  2. Create a shared slides presentation so that each group gets one slide. The slide must contain A) their photo B) an appropriate & catchy hashtag  C) one short paragraph explanation of how this photo connects to something from the unit. 

  3. Time permitting, each group can do 2 minute presentations and then the class can vote on what was the best, most interesting, and/or most creative connection. Getting them to give each other kudos and praise is always a great way to end class!

Not only is this a fun, novel lesson that students will surely remember, it actually can help students start thinking about how history influences and connects to our world today. 

In my course, Make History Engaging, Exciting, and Empowering, I teach more ways you can do these scavenger hunts as well as many other more simple ways to make history relevant and interesting for students. If you’re looking to spark things up before the end of the year, this course will definitely do that!

Keep teaching & learning,
Dan Lewer
History For Humans
2020 Hawai'i History Teacher of the Year

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