This is the last week of school for me, and I wanted to give the 3rd graders an engaging challenge. Since many teachers are fond of scavenger hunts at the end of the year (search throughout the classroom/school/latest copy of Scholastic News for Kids), I decided that it might be fun for them to search the world for famous landmarks and places.
So I opened up a word document, fired up Google Earth, and created a simple 8 question scavenger hunt. I didn’t want to make it too difficult since it was meant to be more of an entertaining tour around the world, rather than a brain-busting puzzle. Most of the clues are homophones that are borderline corny (Get an eyeful of this tower in Paris, France), but like I said, these are 3rd graders. I put all of the clues in a table so I could squish them small enough to fit two scavenger hunt sheets on one piece of paper (always trying to save the school district a few dollars), and then came around with a marker to check off each landmark as they found it. While many of the clues were absurdly easy to find (Mt. Rushmore, the White House, Great Wall of China), a few clues had the kids stumped (Great Pyramids, Mackinac Island), so they happily used up a good 30 minutes traveling around the globe.
For those that found all 8 locations before time was up I made up a Google Earth “Geo-Explorer” badge over at Says-it.com, and printed off a bunch of copies. Much to my surprise, many of them taped their badge to their shirts and promptly started helping other students find the harder locations. Many others simple ignored the badge, which was fine by me as I was more interested in seeing how they were searching in Google Earth. Some would type in words directly from the clues, while others would try to figure the clues out, and search for a general location first (like flying to Washington D.C.), and then looking for the specific landmark (the White House). I’ve made note of it for next year when introducing the different ways to search for places using Google Earth.
If you’re looking for something to do these last few days of school, feel free to download and print off the attached copy of my Google Earth Scavenger Hunt. It would work well for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade.