I’ve noticed that a popular activity during our COVID-19 pandemic right now is scavenger hunts. My favorite scavenger hunt app is Goosechase, which I wrote about in January of this year. Although I don’t currently have students, I immediately thought of this app when pondering how I would engage my students during online learning. I considered making a GooseChase for other teachers and families to use, but a few others have beat me to the punch – and done much better jobs than I would have done.
First of all, Goosechase itself has begun a “Community Cup 2020” that is open to all to participate. It runs from now until April 3rd, with new missions being added each day. (Apparently the first day included a mission for people to do their best Batman impression, and the video compilation of select submissions is super cute.) The page describing the contest also includes a how-to video in case you are new to Goosechase. Since this is an app that asks for photos and videos of people doing (usually) silly things, please be conscious of privacy issues, especially for minors.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta have also created their own special pandemic-inspired Goosechase. They tweeted that they have one called, “Quarantine Can’t Keep Us Down,” which ends tomorrow, March 26th. You can download the app and do a search for that game title to participate. It has so many missions that I couldn’t count them, and it would definitely be a fun activity for the whole family. According to @BGCMA_Clubs on Twitter, this is just the first of an educational series of scavenger hunts, so follow them on Twitter if you are interested in participating in future hunts.
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.
One of the apps I am itching to try with my students this semester is one that I “field-tested” with my daughter over the break. It’s called Klikaklu, and it allows you to make scavenger hunts.
Last Christmas, I got this crazy idea to “code” all of the gifts under the tree instead of writing names on the tags. Christmas morning, my daughter had to scan each code with Aurasma, and it brought up a short video telling her who the gift was for.
I couldn’t really tell how the whole concept went over. Since it was a lot of work, and she didn’t make a big deal about it, I decided not to go to those lengths this year.
A few days before Christmas: “Mom, are you going to do that cool Aurasma thing with the gifts this year?”
All gifts were already wrapped. And tagged.
Then I remembered Klikaklu, a scavenger hunt app I had seen mentioned on Twitter, and decided to investigate. Thank goodness for Twitter.
A few caveats before I go on to explain the app: only people who are 13 and over are supposed to create hunts using the app (but anyone can play the hunts), the app is free – but there are in-app purchases required to get all of the features for creation (in-app purchases are not required to play the full-featured version), as in Aurasma some images don’t work well for triggers, and it’s possible your school firewall may block the app (so, I would definitely test the free app before investing in the in-app purchase).
Klikaklu is similar to Aurasma in that you can use trigger images. However, the images are not linked to videos. Each image can have a clue attached it. Once a player finds an image, and matches it with a device with the app, the clue shows and then you can go on to the next image.
For my daughter’s hunt, I did a simple one using images from around the house. For each image, I input a clue with a letter. After seven images and clues, my daughter had to unscramble the letters to find her gift.
Her constant comment as she raced around the house looking for the images (the one from the lid of the washing machine was particularly challenging): “I LOVE this!” (She is 11, by the way.)
I believe that the free version allows you to create hunts with a maximum of 3 images. Hunts do not have to be indoors. You can activate the GPS portion of hunts to make a worldwide scavenger hunt if you like. (Actually, the GPS portion is already activated by default, but you can turn it off if you are a lazy mom like me creating a close-proximity, indoor hunt the night before Christmas.)
Though I don’t like in-app purchases, I did like this one. That is because I could purchase and make the hunt on my personal phone, but any iDevice with the free app can still play it. So, I can create hunts for my students to use on our school iPads without needing to go through the app-buying red tape required for volume purchases.
According to the site, the advantages of upgrading Klikaklu mean that:
You will no longer see ads in any hunts you play.
Any hunts you create become ad-free for players.
You can create scavenger and staggered treasure hunts (great for groups).
You can print out posters for events, making it easy for others to play your hunt.
The posters and the staggered hunts are what sold it to me. The poster has a QR code, so players just need to scan it to start a hunt. Staggered hunts means that I won’t have an entire class of kids all looking for the same image at once.
You might to make a hunt for a Brain Break, or to review for a test, or just to scatter your students for 10 minutes while you catch your breath;) Whatever the reason, you should take a look at Klikaklu.
At the very least, you now know a great way to draw out the suspense on Christmas morning.