Scavenger hunt activities can help students focus on what's important and interesting during the Aquarium field trip. These activities encourage students to closely observe animals and habitats in the Aquarium and record their observations. You will have the best result if you clearly communicate to students and chaperones what tasks you expect them to complete during the trip.

Subject: Science, Art
Minimum Time: 15 minutes per scavenger hunt
Grade Level: 2 and up

Key concepts

  • Most tanks in the Aquarium represent specific habitats.
  • Each habitat is home to a unique array of plants and animals.
  • Making careful observations is one way scientists learn more about animals.
  • By spending more time and focusing more closely on what is going on in individual tanks and with individual animals, students will observe and learn things they would miss by spending a shorter time at each tank.

Materials

For each student or pair of students

  • A copy of the scavenger hunt PDF you plan to use
  • A clipboard (these can be made with cardboard and binder clips)
  • A pencil (ideally tied to the clipboard with a length of string)

Using the Scavenger Hunts to Help Students Learn

The Aquarium is large and can be overwhelming and scavenger hunts can help students focus. Students sometimes have a tendency to fly through exhibits, spending only a little time at each tank — only enough to get an initial impression or notice the larger animals. Scavenger hunts can help slow students down, and help them get more out of each exhibit.

These scavenger hunts all involve careful observation and drawing, but require minimal writing. Writing can be difficult in the Aquarium given the low light levels and the high level of activity. Also, avoid over-structuring students’ time in the building. Leave plenty of informal time for students to spend at the exhibits that most interest them. Probably the most important thing that students should take with them when they leave the Aquarium is a sense of excitement.

Applying the Concepts

After your field trip, use the completed scavenger hunts as a basis for later discussion.