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Treasure Hunts in the ESL Classroom

by Lynne Hand

Instructions to the English teacher

Treasure hunts (aka scavenger hunts) can be arranged in a variety of ways, and so they are suitable for any level.

In the classroom you can hide vocabulary cards around the room and use verbal, visual or audio clues, to direct the students to where the cards are. (They can only keep the card if they can name the item, or pronounce what's on the card correctly). I generally only let one student loose at a time to prevent scrapping (and yes I teach business English!)

As the students progress you can make the treasure hunt (clues etc.) more difficult.

It is also possible to arrange treasure hunts online. (There's an interesting example of this on the Garfield website (believe it or not). Garfield Treasure Hunt.) If your programming skills aren't up to this, there are a couple of ways round it. You can set up a treasure hunt based on questions. Set up a a web page with a number of questions and a list of web addresses to find the answers to those questions. By answering the questions correctly (maybe multiple choice) the students should be able to answer a big question at the end of th game.

If your students are on Second Life, why not try setting up a treasure hunt in Second Life, or use one of the Treasure Hunts that already exist there? There's a Robin Hood treasure hunt on the British Council sim.

Do you have an article, handout or a teaching idea/tip that you would like to share?

Teacher's Zone