Although simple and straight forward, I find the following structured scavenger hunt to be successful with students who have, at a minimum, intermediate reading skills. And for those who are still learning to how to read and gather information off websites, a scavenger hunt is a fun way to work on practical skills that learners can use in school and everyday life.
- Explain to the class that you would like them to become familiar with the website MedlinePlus. Tell them that it can help them learn about health issues they or their family is experiencing while at the same time improving their ability to read online, scan for information and summarize what they read. If you have not already covered skimming, scanning, and summarizing it is advisable to introduce these before this activity. Then ask learners to do the following as a warm up:
- Get the class used to the site by asking each student to find something on the site that is interesting to them, whether it is a graph, photo, or short piece of information.
- Then ask students to write down instructions on how one can find that image or information, so a person next to them can try to find it.
- Now have students exchange instructions orally or in writing.
- Discuss with the class how they did. What was easy? What made understanding the instructions hard? How could the instructions have been clearer?
- Now ask students to think of an illness that they want to know more about and type the name of it into a Word document. Then dictate the following words. After they have tried to type the words, write them on the board. Optionally you can teach bulleting and other formatting, if they don’t already know how.
- Tell students to first read about the illness and then close the browser. (As an option, tell them they can take notes on paper, but not copy and paste text.)
- Then let them open the Word document and add the information they learned in their own words under each category.
- After students have finished, have each student instruct their partner on how to find the topic. Ask them to read about each others illness on the website. Then each student should read their partner’s report and give feedback on how well they summarized the information. Were the facts accurate? Was the information clearly written? Can they offer any help with the spelling or grammar?
- Before asking students to turn in their reports, give time for students to make revisions.
- Have student’s create an online health poster or infographic with the information they have learned.
- Have the class decide on what questions they want answered for the scavenger hunt. Brainstorm with the class a list of health questions they hope the website can answer. Put the list on the board. You might need to work with the class to limit or finalize which questions (4-5) will be part of the scavenger hunt.
Please share any comments, your experience using this activity, or any suggested variations you have (particularly using other technologies).