Expressing an Opinion Through Scavenger Hunt

And once again—a scavenger hunt!  From my experience—and perhaps I am just lucky—student tend to enjoy activities based on the scavenger hunt idea.  It gives them a chance to do something different from mundane classroom activities.  While accomplishing a task, they also get to interact with each other.  And also, scavenger hunts often require getting up and moving, which brings in a new dynamic to the classroom.

In one of my previous blog posts, I shared a peer review activity based on a scavenger hunt.  Today I would like to describe an activity that can help students express their opinions—both in an oral and a written form.

Preparation

For this activity, students will need cameras.  If the cameras are available as a teaching supply in your institution, bring one per group (students will work together in small groups).  If this is not an option, the day before the activity, ask students to bring a camera or a cell phone to the next class.

Procedure

Put students in small groups.  Make sure that each group has a camera (or a cell phone).  Having an even number of groups is the best configuration. (For the second half of the activity, groups pair up).

Give each group a list of the following items:

  • Something that is working well.
  • Something that is NOT working well.
  • Something that needs a lot of money.
  • Something that belongs to a very important person.
  • Something that has many functions.
  • Something that smells good.
  • Something (someone) that sounds very nice.
  • Something that seems very expensive.
  • Something that is becoming very popular nowadays.
  • Someone who is studying very hard.
  • Students love this thing.
  • Students hate this thing. 
  • You feel like home when you look at this thing.
  • You prefer this thing to anything else!

Explain the task: In their groups, students will have to 1) get out of the classroom (but stay within the confines of the school building), 2) find the objects (or people) that represent these items, 3) take a picture of each item, and 4) return  to class.

Tell students that they will have 20 minutes for this task (or whatever you think is appropriate for them to accomplish the task).

For the second half of the assignment, the groups will work together in sets of two.

Option 1

Ask each group to present their pictures without telling the other team what they signify.  For example, Group A will show a picture of a clock that they took for the item “Something that is working well,” but they won’t tell Group B “the meaning” of the picture.  Group B has to make a guess as to which category the item falls under, and provide an explanation for their guess.  For example, Group B may think that the picture of the clock that Group A took represents the category “Something that seems very expensive” or “Students hate this thing!”  It is quite possible, too, that Group B will guess correctly.  But even if their guess does not match the item initially chosen by Group A, they still have to justify their guess.

Then the groups switch and repeat the same activity.

For a writing task, the students choose one picture represented by the opposing group and explain their guess in a paragraph (essentially, the same task that they did orally).

Option 2

Students can also show a picture together with the category for which it was taken.  In this case, the other group will have to provide reasons to explain why the picture was taken for that particular category.

For a writing task, the students  select one item from the list and explain why the other group took a particular picture for that category.

 

If you use this activity in class, please share how it went! What variations of this activity might you use in your class?

About Elena Shvidko

Elena Shvidko
Elena Shvidko is an assistant professor at Utah State University. She received her doctorate in second language studies from Purdue University and her master’s degree in TESOL from Brigham Young University. Her work appears in TESOL Journal, System, Journal on Response to Writing, TESOL interest section newsletters, and TESOL's New Ways series. Her research interests include second language writing, multimodal interaction, interpersonal aspects of language teaching, and teacher professional development.
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