While writing yesterday’s “Game of Phones” post, I started searching my archives and I was surprised to see that I hadn’t mentioned Goosechase Edu. So, let’s rectify that today.
Goosechase is a scavenger hunt app available on the App Store and on Google Play. Players need to download the free app. (If you are using district devices, be sure to verify ahead of time that the app has been approved for use.) Organizers need to create an account online. There is a special, educational version of Goosechase available that has different pricing tiers, so be sure to visit the Edu site rather than the one designed for corporate use.
The pricing can be a bit confusing when you are new to using Goosechase Edu. Suffice it to say that, as a classroom teacher, I found the free plan to work well for my class. This plan allows you to have 5 teams compete against each other during a game. This is in contrast to the next tier, which allows for 10 teams or 40 individuals to play at a time. You only need one device per team, although you can use more – allowing team members to separate to complete different missions.
When the organizer sets up a Goosechase game, he/she adds missions to the hunt. Each mission can be awarded points when completed, and the organizer can determine which missions are weighted more than others. An example of a mission would be the following, which I used in my Principles of Arts class when we were learning about different camera angles:
The organizer can make up missions, or use missions that have already been posted in the Goosechase Mission Bank. In fact, you can even browse the library of public Goosechases, and choose to copy an entire hunt for your own use. Each mission requires that a photo and/or video be submitted in order to complete it.
Like many online student interactives available these days, Goosechase creates a code, which participants will use to join the hunt. Teachers can determine the amount of time for the hunt, and even when missions or automatic messages will appear for participants. (When students first launch Goosechase, remind them to allow for notifications so you can get in touch with them during the hunt.)
I like to mix missions that require some, most, or all of the group to be in the pictures or videos as well as some images that are of things around campus. This way, the group has some accountability for staying together and on school property. I also go over behavior expectations before they leave the room, stressing that teams must: stay together, not disrupt any other classes going on, stay safe when taking pictures, and return on time. As students are off on the hunt, the organizer can pull up an activity feed to see the missions as they are being completed. I walk around the halls as I monitor the feed to help discourage any temptations for mischief.
With notifications enabled, you can send out a reminder to the teams when time is wrapping up. Give yourself some time to do a debrief at the end, when the class can look at the team submissions and decide as a group how to assess them before declaring the final winners. One of my favorite features of the game is that you can actually download all of the submissions to save for the future end-of-the-year slideshows or other reminders of silly learning experiences in class.
There are plenty of Goosechase games in the library related to core curriculum that you can use. Another great way to use Goosechase is in a unit on Growth Mindset. I worked with my 8th graders on this a lot last year. We talked about taking risks and solving problems, and then I sent them off to complete the following set of missions:
Here is what I like about Goosechase: students can get out of their seats, students can be creative, students can choose the missions they want to do, we can laugh together as we learn, we are making tangible memories, and even the students who are the least engaged will participate.