Treasure/Scavenger Hunt

By DKrause on May 12, 2014

Interacting with plants gives students an opportunity to use their senses. From smelling, touching and tasting to hearing and seeing, plants provide a wide variety of sensory input. Taking a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt approach can make plants accessible to students with vision impairment. The goal is for an active hands-on exploration of the natural world, with the focus on process, not product. This activity can be adapted to any theme, tying into holidays (Halloween, Valentine’s Day) or events (fairs or festivals); and customized by age group or time of year. Teachers can set up plants in the classroom, growing their own or making a temporary display; take a field trip to a garden center, farm, greenhouse or nature trail; or use plants found in the grounds near the classroom. Lessons include Science, Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Orientation & Mobility.

Materials

Plants with a variety of textures (fuzzy leaves), fragrances (scented blossoms), colors, sounds (water features, chimes, “crunchy” plants such as dried flowers) and tastes (leaves, flowers, stems, roots, edible fruit); or with names related to a holiday or event.

  • Halloween: Spider plant, Devil’s Ivy, Snake Plant, Monster Fruit Plant, Devil’s Backbone, Venus Fly Trap, Catnip
  • Valentine’s Day: plants with red flowers and leaves, plants with heart-shaped leaves and flowers
  • Fairs and festivals: plants grown in the garden, including vegetables (tomatoes, peas) and herbs (mint, chives)

Procedure

Choose a theme or focal point – a Farm-to-School fair, Fall Festival or holiday (Halloween, etc.). For a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt, plants can be spread throughout an area; this allows students to work on mobility in addition to using their other senses. Alternatively, plants can be set up at a particular station, where the focus is on identifying the features of the plants and not on seeking them out.

  • Write up a list of five to ten different plants for students to find/identify, including questions that invite participation (i.e. Can you find the plant with heart-shaped leaves?). List the attributes of the plants, such as size, number of leaves/blossoms, the feel of leaves, scent, and other physical features.
  • Tag plants with the number correlated to the list for easy identification, particularly if time is an issue or if the setting is large and potentially overwhelming. Name of plant can be on the back of the tag; tags can be in large print and braille.
  • Pair up the group for students to work together for the activity.
  • Provide tactual stickers or markers to denote each one that is successfully identified, to “check off” on the list.
  • Have students identify plants using all their senses: touching leaves, smelling blossoms, rubbing leaves and sniffing fingers, tasting ripe fruit, using residual vision to identify shapes/sizes/colors, listening for running water (if water element is present).

 

Variations

  • Accommodate for the different seasons by using plants that are available for that season.
  • If you don’t have a greenhouse on site, grow a windowsill garden, visit a local greenhouse, or use plants and trees available on the grounds of your school.
  • See sample Treasure Hunt documents attached.

 

 

 

scavenger hunt collage