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A resource center for teachers to enhance learning through integrating movement, exploration and mindfulness into classroom lessons. Many of the activities can be adapted to be used on a playground, at home, in the boardroom and beyond.

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Nature Scavenger Hunt

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Short description of activity: A nature-related scavenger hunt. Adaptations include: finding items related to science class, finding items for each letter of the alphabet, or finding items that match parts of speech.

Type of activity: Content Connection, Team Building, Mindfulness, Nature and Outdoors    

Minimum Time Needed for Activity: 30 min, Can be done mid-unit, can be the basis of a unit (see Variations)

Grade Level: K – 12

Subject Area: ELA, Science, Math


Set up:

  1. Explain to students that they will be going outside to find and collect objects listed on the worksheet(s).
  2. Students must pay attention to following the rules of being respectful to nature and follow class rules.
  3. If choosing “Draw your own,” students should identify 6 things they think they will find, or hope to find (bird, bug, animal, puddle, leaf, etc) and draw it before going outside.
  4. Decide how much time you will spend on the activity and what the focus of the activity is:
    • spelling accuracy,
    • identifying beginning sounds,
    • linking to topic,


  1. Decide if you are gathering items or simply looking for them. If collecting, only  pick up objects that fit in a pail.
  2. Do not uproot or kill any plant when removing a branch/leaf.
  3. Do not harm an animal or insect.
  4. Students must remain with an adult, with their team or in defined areas.
  5. When collection/hunting time is done, have students return to the central area to show what was collected
    • Items can be sorted by category for counting and identifying percentages.
    • Items can be sorted by category of Noun, Adjective and Verb, or letter.
    • Students can discuss interesting attributes or qualities that they noticed, or items discovered that they have a question about. Students may use a  K-W-L Chart to further and document that learning and inquiry.
  6. Turn in forms and evaluate cooperation, conversation and ideas that are generated.


  • With Alphabet Scavenger Hunt, divide the alphabet amongst groups of students instead of having each do an entire alphabet.
  • Group students in pairs: choose one to carry the items and one to be the scribe.
  • Not collecting actual objects and/or gathering, instead have students calculating using marks on a sheet, or take pictures.
  • When back as a class:
  • ELA:
    • Create a story (as a class or as individuals) that incorporate as many items as possible.
    • Which objects fit into a spelling category? (short vowel, long vowel, consonant blends, diphthongs, irregular plurals)
    • What would Pete the Cat, or Piggy and Gerald say about these items?
    • Find items that appear in a story ie: Wind in the Willows; The Mitten, etc.
    • Using the Parts of Speech worksheet:
      • Noun: pick a letter row-
        • have students do a jumping jack, hop or clap for every syllable in the Noun,
        • have students get into alphabetical order,
        • get in order, most to least letters.
      • Verb: Pick another letter row.
        • Have students act out their verb.
      • Adjectives: pick another letter row.
        • Group synonyms. Have antonyms try to tag.
    • Have a smaller subset of students try to create a sentence or story with their words. Have students create a poem, haiku or Wordle.
    • Find a passage from a text and convert it to be a “madlib.” Have students insert their words into it.
  • ART:
    • If items are brought into the room, create a diorama or piece of art with them.
    • Imagine you are a Beatrix Potter field mouse- how might you use these items in your daily life?
  • MATH:
    • Calculate and create bar graphs representing what was gathered.
    • Answer math questions like “how many more ___ were found than ___?”
    • Place items in arrays. Use mathematical expressions to represent .
    • Calculate fractions or percentages (ex: there were 14 pebbles gathered out of a total 120 items. What is a fraction that represents this? What is the fraction in its simplest form? What is the percentage?)
    • How can a category be further broken down? (ex: type of pebble, color, size, weight)
      • Calculate fractions/percentages of new subset and compare.
    • Re-sort all of the items by location found (parking lot, playground, garden, etc.).
      • Calculate fractions/percentages of new subset and compare.
    • Can a Venn Diagram of items be created by any of these categories? How might it change as the categories change?
    • Identify type of rock or plant found using field guides.
    • Categorize objects by naturally-occurring (grew there), fell there, brought there.
      • Ask students to think about how the object made its way there, or where it came from.
    • Align items where they belong in a food web, or in the process of growing/decomposition.
    • Identify how many different species of bug/spider found.     
      • What makes them different? What makes them the same?
      • Identify any attributes/adaptations that help it live where it was found.
      • What is its natural predator? Prey?


Math > Measurement & Data > Represent and Interpret Data

ELA Standards > Language> Conventions of Standard English; Knowledge of Language; Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

ELA Standards > Speaking and Listening > Comprehension and Collaboration; Presentation of Knowledge and ideas

ELA Standards > Standard 10: Range, Quality, & Complexity > Staying on Topic Within a Grade & Across Grades

NGSS Standards > Science and Engineering Practices > Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Asking Questions and Defining Problems; Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking; Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

NGSS Standards > Crosscutting Concepts > Cause and Effect; Systems and System Models; Structure and Function

NGSS Standards > Disciplinary Core Ideas > Earth and Space Science;  Engineering, Technology and the Application of Science; Earth’s Systems; Earth and Human Activity

NGSS > Life Sciences > From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes; Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

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