Mystery... detective work... outdoor play... a prize a the end... this can't be a science lesson. But it is.
Even though school has started for the year, that doesn't mean the outdoor classroom you've been using these past few months is out of commission. On the contrary it is the perfect spot for supplementary "courses" that add a little more of the hands on learning we all need to really process a new subject well... science in particular (although for some lucky people that is their first language).
Often the excitement and mystery of scientific pursuits can be lost in the crisp white pages of a 300 page text book, which is exactly why I put together this scientific scavenger hunt. Not only can it incorporate many of the techniques used in field work (from putting together pot shards, to taking empirical notes on local plants and collecting geological specimens), but it also emphasizes the most important part of the discipline... being a good detective. And the best part about solving mysteries? It's addictive.
Scientific Scavenger Hunt Materials:
Measuring tapeMagnifying glass
Specimen Bags (I used the ones like the bags that come in the Nature Study Kit and sewed on the labels, but they could be completely crafted by hand as well)
Note Paper (or notebooks)
Paint Brushes (for archaeological excavation)
Scrap Cloth Strips (for notating clue locations)
Misc. Materials (broken pot shards, buttons etc.)
This is where you can let the subjects your junior detective is learning and your imagination take over. Pictured above I have a sort of catch-all that requires a bit of every skill. Compass navigation, archaeology (digging up and putting together pot shards to figure out the next location clue), empirical data collection on local plants for a botany study and rock collection for a geology lesson. But that is just the beginning. You could make a scavenger hunt that was completely based on archaeology that included historical write-up of the items "found" (it really is amazing how much excitement finding a few simple items in the dirt can bring!). There could be a botany based scavenger hunt where certain data collection would add up to additional prizes. The possibilities are endless, just make sure to include a lot of the most important ingredient: FUN!
Oh and one last thing, don't forget about the treat at the end. No real scavenger hunt is complete without that and these beautiful seasonal sweets look too amazing to put off for even one more second.
*Last time in Crafts and Activities: September Studies