In this activity, students will work in teams on a virtual meeting platform to find as many objects as possible from a comprehensive scavenger hunt list within their homes during a given timeframe. The items on the list provided in this activity are related to organic chemistry topics, however the list can be easily modified for use with many chemistry topics.
High and Middle School
This activity will help prepare your students to meet the performance expectations in the following standards:
- Engaging in Argument from evidence
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- Successfully work cooperatively as a team, or small group using a digital platform such as Google Meet or Zoom.
- Identify household items that meet given criteria related to chemistry.
- Make connections between chemistry content and everyday items found in their homes.
This activity supports students’ understanding of:
- Organic chemistry
- Culminating task
Teacher Preparation: time will vary depending on if a new item list needs to be created
Lesson: ~60-70 minutes
- Introduction: ~10 minutes
- Scavenger Hunt: ~ 20 minutes
- Review of items/class discussion: ~40 minutes
- Computer or device with a webcam
- Online virtual meeting platform (Google Meet, Zoom, etc.)
- Large bin/bag (per student)
- Various household items
- Scavenger Hunt list
- No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.
- To learn more about this activity, read the corresponding article, Using an Online Meeting Scavenger Hunt to Offer Kinesthetic Learning, published in the September 2020 issue of Chemistry Solutions.
- Students should use an online meeting platform such as Google Meet at a designated date and time.
- To begin, each student should be instructed to get a large bin or bag to use to gather their items.
- Teachers should present the following rules on the screen and review each with the students:
- Gather as many of the items as you can during the 20-minute time limit.
- No objects may be used more than once.
- No digital images may be used unless the photo is taken during the scavenger hunt.
- All objects must be G-rated and cannot be controlled substances.
- 1 point is earned for each item found.
- 3 bonus points are earned for any item found, that is not found by the other team.
- No communication may be made between teams.
- You may communicate with your own team members.
- The team with the highest point total wins!
- Students should be divided into teams. The teams can be large or small. For example, in my class there were two teams, each with 11 students.
- A group chat or breakout room should be set up for each team. This permits the teams to work cooperatively, sharing ideas for what objects could be used.
- Students are told that they can take a photo or screenshot of the scavenger hunt list to carry with them as they search their home for specific objects. They are instructed to set an alarm for twenty minutes and to return to the meeting screen when the timer rings. Each student begins the hunt without seeing the list in advance of the online activity.
- During the allotted twenty minutes for the scavenger hunt it is important that the teacher stay in the virtual meeting in case students return to their screen early with a question.
- After twenty minutes, the students return to their screens. Students are not permitted to collect any additional items after the time has ended.
- I suggest creating a PowerPoint presentation that shows possible correct answers to each of the scavenger hunt items. Using images and a written list is helpful. An Answer Key document (written list) is provided for the organic chemistry scavenger hunt activity.
- I suggest that the teacher should go through each scavenger hunt item, and ask students to hold up their objects to be viewed in order to validate the objects. Students can keep track of their own points, or someone can be designated as a score keeper.
- When I used this activity, I created class discussions by asking students to defend why they chose a specific object. This also helped students to recall class material.
- Note that a number of scavenger hunt items on the list provided are just for fun or are related to general chemistry rather than specifically organic chemistry. I encourage you to do the same.
- This layout can be modified by reducing the number of items on the list or changing the amount of time given for the hunt.
- Additionally this activity can be modified to be used with other chemistry topics. Note that when developing a scavenger hunt list, it should include items ranging from easily accessible to scarce. Refer to the related article for more ideas.
- If a student is physically restricted, they could use the internet to find photos of only the items they know they have in their home and take a screenshot of those items.
For the Student
Online Meeting Scavenger Hunt: Organic Chemistry List
- Your organic chemistry textbook.
- A book about science.
- A book about a scientist.
- Your organic chemistry chapter 1 packet.
- A periodic table.
- An organic chemistry quiz with a sticker from your teacher on it.
- Your table of pKa values.
- A DVD of a documentary or movie about science (not science fiction).
- A magazine about science.
- A t-shirt with any science related images or phrases on it.
- An image of a scientist, 2D or 3D.
- A photo of you and one other person that also takes organic chemistry (this may be digital).
- A science toy.
- An object you can spell with the periodic table (Ex: S-O-C-K) excluding this example.
- Four objects whose first letters would go together to spell “M-E-E-R.”
- A mixture that contains an allotrope of carbon.
- A substance that contains an organic compound for which you can write the formula.
- A substance that contains acetic acid.
- A food item that has gone through the Maillard reaction.
- A food item that contains oxalic acid.
- A substance that contains methyl salicylate.
- A food item that contains an alkaloid with the formula C8H10N4O2.
- A food item that contains lactic acid.
- A substance that contains a carbon chain of 10 or more carbons in a row.
- A substance that contains a ring of 5 or more carbons (can also have heteroatoms in the ring).
- A mixture that has an ingredients list naming 3 or more organic molecules.
- An object that represents your plans after high school.
- An object with Mt. Lebanon or Lebo written on it (not handwritten or printed today).
- A Haiku about your love for organic chemistry (may be written today).
- Something that contains C55H72O5N4Mg.
- A food that contains an ester – provide the common name of the ester.
- A substance that contains an alcohol (no alcoholic beverages).
- A food that contains a compound that goes through keto-enol tautomerization.
- A substance that contains sodium lauryl sulfate.
- A Mole Day t-shirt from any year.
- A substance that contains a carboxylic acid – provide the common name of the carboxylic acid.
- A mixture that contains dihydroxyacetone.
- A mixture that contains avobenzone.
- A mixture that contains either limonene or alpha-pinene.
- A substance that contains either linalool or linalyl acetate.
- A mixture that contains (Z)-3-hexenal.
- An “organically” grown food item (with proof).
- A drawing of a compound with 7 degrees of unsaturation, 1 oxygen, and 1 nitrogen (may be drawn today).
- A substance that contains beta-carotene.
- A substance that contains C10H20O – provide the common name of the molecule in your substance.
- A substance that contains C6H11NO3S, allicin.
- A substance that contains C7H8N4O2, theobromine.
- A food that contains C4H6O6, tartaric acid.
- A substance that contains the aldehyde, benzaldehyde.
- A substance that contains a molecule with three or more rings in it.