A Geometric Scavenger Huntby: Julie Smart and Jeff Marshall

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Children possess a genuine curiosity for exploring the natural world around them. One third grade teacher capitalized on this inherent trait by leading her students on “A Geometric Scavenger Hunt.” The four-lesson inquiry investigation described in this article integrates mathematics and science. Among the students discoveries was the fact that geometry was no longer just an isolated concept in their math books; rather, it provided a tool that allowed them to examine their world in a completely different way.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:08 PM

This was a wonderful article about 3rd graders integrating science and math. After studying a unit about Geometry in their math class, the authors brought their students outside to observe the natural world, allowing them the opportunity to apply their knowledge about geometry to real-world applications in a four-lesson inquiry investigation. They began their investigation by posing a question to direct their students to think about what kinds of geometry they might find in the woods. The first lesson involved the class brainstorming about what they might find outside and record their predictions in their journals. The second lesson involved the exploration phase of the investigation. Jobs were assigned to each group, cameras were passed out for taking pictures of geometry in nature, and safety issues were discussed. After the investigation outside, students began writing reflections in their Journal’s. Writing prompts were provided to help the students examine the connection between geometry and math. The pictures that the students had taken were developed and the teams were given the photographs to match the pictures to the notes they had taken in their observations. Teams discussed, questioned, and challenged reasoning for selecting each item. After this lesson, again the students wrote a reflection in their Journals with a prompt that the teachers had given them. The third lesson was an extension of the second lesson; the difference was that the animal kingdom was investigated. In the fourth lesson, students explored links on the computer to observe the wide variety of animal species. The authors felt that by allowing student to see geometry in a different manner, the students would be able to make more insightful observations. Although written for a third grade class, this article could easily be modified for grades up to and including sixth grade.

Sue Garcia  (Spice wood, TX)
Sue Garcia (Spice wood, TX)

  • on Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:10 PM

Kids love technology, and GPS is a great way to introduce them to geospatial concepts by using objects and locations in their own experience. The notion of mapping and placement using the abstraction of a map can be enhanced through the use of technology. GPS can also be used effectively with mapping technologies such as Google Earth. I have done activities similar to those described in the article without benefit of GPS, and am convinced that the technology would have been a great asset in assisting students in their understanding of place. The article describes a scavenger hunt activity, as well as an activity allowing students to visualize objects from multiple vantage points. Good for middle school level.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

  • on Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:26 PM

This article addressed bringing math and science outdoors. Students had to find to find examples of geometry in nature. This activity would really engage students because they get to make a real world connection with geometry.

Kia Shields
Kia Shields

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