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Lesson Plan

Nature Study Outdoor Treasure Hunts (with Spanish language option)

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Seven 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Loraine Woodard

Loraine Woodard

Berkeley, California


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • Computers with Internet access (one for each student)

  • Overhead projector (optional)

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1. Decide on one or two outdoor places for this activity. (The teacher-made treasure hunt in Session 1 can be done in one place and the student-made treasure hunts in Session 3 somewhere else.) Suggested locations: the schoolyard, a nearby park, or other outdoor area. Establish where students can and cannot go in each place.

2. Decide on logistics for the teacher-made treasure hunt.
  • Option 1: Divide the class into groups of four and have the groups take turns doing the treasure hunt. (One group at a time goes to the outdoor location, while the others do another activity somewhere else, so they don't see where the clues are hidden. You will need to have another adult to supervise part of the class.) A student "Clue Coach" can rehide the clues each time and offer hints as needed.

  • Option 2: All of the groups do the treasure hunt at the same time. Create several different versions, with the clues in a slightly different order for each group. The clues should be hidden fairly far apart. Color code each group's clues, and instruct them to grab only the clue marked with their group's color, and to leave the rest. Tell them it's not a competition-taking another 's clue will not help. (Alternately, have student volunteers posted around the area to pass out the color-coded clues as the groups find them.)
3. If you decide to conduct this lesson in Spanish for all or part of your class, follow the instructions in this lesson, using the student handouts and websites in Spanish as needed. You may choose to have all or only some students participate in Spanish.

4. Prepare a teacher-made treasure hunt for your students, either by making appropriate changes in the Sample Treasure Hunt to fit your environment or by making up an original one. Make copies of your treasure hunt for each group of four students and cut each copy into strips to separate the clues. If you are following Option 2 above, change the order of the clues slightly for each group. Color code and number each group's clues.

5. Decide on configurations of students for working in groups of four (Session 1 treasure hunt) and groups of two (Session 6 peer editing). Ideally, groups should be heterogeneous, with students of varying abilities who would likely work well together.

6. Make a transparency of your model treasure hunt and two copies for each student of the Peer-Editing Form for Sessions 2 and 6.

7. Make copies for each student of the Treasure Hunt Story Worksheet and Grading Checklist.

8. Preview the websites listed and bookmark them on student computers. If necessary, reserve the computer lab for Sessions 2 and 4, and the library for Session 5.

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