Using Scavenger Hunts to Teach Main Idea and Supporting Details

8:39 AM

Hi Everyone! It's Beth from Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher. This summer I am teaching Summer School and like the school year, it's all done online. Each day I meet with my students and teach a mini lesson before my students go off and do their independent work (or stay online with me and do their work because they want the attention, not the help). One of our favorite activities, so far, was a Scavenger Hunt. Before you say that you already have tried this with your students, let me give you some parameters for this hunt. Did you use it to introduce Main Ideas and Details or was it just for fun? 

We did our Scavenger Hunt to teach an introduction to Main Ideas and Details. Let me share with you the why and how this activity helps students better understand Main Idea...

Using Scavenger Hunts to Teach Main Idea and Supporting Details

What is an Online Scavenger Hunt?

First off, in a traditional scavenger hunt, participants are given a list of items that need to be found. I've been to parties in which we were divided into groups and sent door to door getting as many items off of our lists before time ran out. These end up being fun, hilarious games due to the items you need to find and people that you are with.

Obviously, this cannot be done in the classroom like this. Instead, a teacher will ask students to find items one by one and show them off in a specific amount of time. For example, an item might be a book and students have one minute to go and find a book before the time runs out. Everyone that returns with a book gets a point. You may even give the first one back 2 points. The winner gets bragging rights!

How Does This Relate to Main Idea and Supporting Details?

When I first teach my students main idea, we brainstorm different items and categorize them. For example, milk, juice, and water all belong to the category of things that people drink. By doing this, my students can understand the idea of main ideas being the most important ideas and details being their to support the main idea.

This is where the Online Scavenger Hunt comes in. I give students the main idea and their job is to find a supporting detail. I may give my students the main idea of Keeping Our Teeth Clean. Students may come back with toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes, etc. I give out points to everyone that finds something in the minute span that I give them.

Why This Works...

Even during online teaching, students need to be active and move around. This game gets all of your students moving and thinking quickly about anything that can relate to the main idea that is given. This can be tough to do in a short period of time!

Some Main Idea Topics to Use with Your Students...

  • Things that are soft
  • Things that are hard
  • Things that make you happy
  • Kitchen
  • Books
  • Family (When I did this one, most of my students brought pictures of their family. One student, however, brought his very confused dad over!)
  • School

I hope that you are able to try this activity with your students. Have fun and get them moving! By the way, don't forget to include time at the end in which students put away all of their items! This will keep parents happy!

If you would like more resources or just want more ways of becoming a less frazzled teacher, check out my blog or find me on Facebook or Instagram

Have a great day,

Teaching Main Idea and Supporting Details while teaching online can be tough! This blog post shares how teachers can find a fun way to introduce this topic to students through the use of Scavenger Hunts. Students will be engaged in this distance learning activity while developing an understanding of a difficult concept. Check out the steps on how this works and see why it will be a success in your classroom. #CFTC #Conversations from the Classroom

by Confessions of a Frazzled Teacher

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