“Mrs. Tucker, why don’t we go on more field trips?” Every year students ask me this question. There are a couple of answers.
- Field trips are time-consuming to organize and plan.
- There aren’t always resources (e.g., buses) available to make a field trip happen.
- We are limited by our geographic location to the sights/museums within driving distance.
In an effort to expose my students to more experiences, I’ve embraced virtual tours and field trips. In a recent training, I shared “15 Virtual Field Trips for Kids of All Ages,” which has a fantastic collection of virtual field trips, and asked teachers to explore these virtual tours and brainstorm how they could use these online experiences to enhance their curriculum. One teacher asked, “How can you make sure students are paying attention and really learning something from these tours?” I explained that my favorite strategy was to pair a virtual field trip with a scavenger hunt.
The National Museums of Scotland has a “Discover Ancient Egypt” virtual experience that introduces students to Ancient Egypt through a combination of virtual tours and games.
Although the games are designed to keep students interested and engaged, adding a scavenger hunt component encourages them to think about what they are learning. When I used the “Egyptian Tomb Adventure” to create an online learning station, I paired the virtual tour with a Google Form Scavenger Hunt.
Students can tour the Louvre in Paris, the White House in Washington, or the Great Wall of China from the comfort of their classroom. These dynamic tours can be paired with offline pen and paper scavenger hunts or digital scavenger hunts using Google Forms.
As teachers create their scavenger hunts, it is important to add questions about what students will see and what they will read as they complete the tour. It’s tempting for students to simply look at the photos, artwork, and visuals but most tours contain text explanations as well. The goal of the scavenger hunt should be to encourage them to pay close attention to all parts of the virtual tour or field trip.
If you are inspired to create a scavenger hunt to complement a virtual tour or field trip, please consider sharing the link to the tour and your scavenger hunt here for other teachers to explore and use!