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Geoff Pinney
English/Journalism Teacher
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Lesson Plans

School Scavenger Hunt


Scavenger Hunt handout

School Scavenger Hunt

Geoff Pinney of Santa Ana High School in Santa Ana, Calif.

Geoff Pinney
Santa Ana High School
Santa Ana, Calif.

Title: School Scavenger Hunt

Overview and Rationale:

Student journalists need to gather facts that are accurate. They must also know who the appropriate contacts are within the school to gather important information. This lesson is a good tool for finding out information at the beginning of the year and can be used as a resource.

Goals for Understanding

  • Essential Questions
    • Who are the key administrators, teachers, and students in the school in charge of various programs?
    • Where does one go to find out this information and how does one know that it is accurate?
  • Critical Engagement Questions
    • Why is it important to know where to get information?
    • Why is it important to be accurate in reporting and to have credible sources?

Standards met

  • California Reading and Writing Standards.(Gathering Information and Research—refer to California State Standards for Language Arts Grades 9-12)

Resources/Materials Needed:

  • Copy of local newspaper
  • Scavenger Hunt handout (see related document)
  • Overhead projector
  • Transparency of Scavenger Hunt answer sheet
  • Bingo sheets (as many as necessary)

Overviews and Timeline

  • Activity 1: Warm-up (One 50-minute class)—this is optional
    • Give students a copy of the local newspaper and ask them to find certain factual information such as the names and titles of all the editors, the daily circulation, phone number and address of the paper and other information (of your choosing) that would be important. This should take about 15-20 minutes to find the answers. They must complete this assignment on their own.
    • Distribute “bingo” sheets to students with the answers. The teacher can read the questions from the original sheet and whoever fills up their sheet first with the correct answers and correct spellings wins. A small prize can be awarded for fun. Spend no more than 20 minutes on this activity.
    • Discuss the methods that students used to find their information and why they feel it is important to know who holds certain positions in the paper. Discuss whether or not students feel that it is important to spell names correctly.
  • Activity 2: Scavenger Hunt (One 50-minute class or two days for homework)
    • Distribute Scavenger Hunt worksheet to students and tell them that they have two days in which to find the answers (* if your class is only Advanced Journalism students or mostly upperclassmen who have been at the school several years, you may want to only give them one day)
    • This may be used as a classroom activity (if you are comfortable with having the students leave the room and walk around the school) or it may be assigned as homework. Make students find the answers on their own. Upperclassmen and editors with experience can be used to verify information but do not let them “coach.” Also, make them do the assignment as well.
    • Upon collecting the Scavenger Hunt, go over the correct answers with students. You may or may not choose to grade this assignment. Regardless, make sure that every student knows the correct answers and spellings of all names. Discuss where and how students got this information and how do they know that it is accurate. Discuss why it is important to know this information and how to get it quickly.
    • Have the class type up the correct information (or draw on poster board) and hang it in the classroom. You may also choose to give a copy to each student and have him or her put it in his or her journalism notebook for reference.


  • You may choose to grade the Scavenger Hunt worksheet as a homework assignment.
  • You may also choose to give a quiz based on the information in the Scavenger Hunt.
  • Journal entries could be assigned on the question of why is it important to know information about the school and to spell names correctly.


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