Texas Mathematics Teacher Spring/Summer 2018 - 15

Using a Scavenger Hunt to
Differentiate Mathematics Instruction
It can often be challenging to create ways to differentiate
instruction in the mathematics classroom. Dimension 2.4
of T-TESS (Texas Teachers Evaluation and Support System)
requires teachers to "provide differentiated instruction
methods and content." I have found that using a scavenger
hunt along with purposeful grouping can create an
engaging activity that also caters to the needs of a variety
of students. The basic idea is that students will hunt for
problems that are geared toward their algebraic readiness.
I like to form groups of three by using data from a
previous common or formative assessment and then group
students who performed similarly on a concept or topic.
Students enjoy working with peers who are at the same
readiness level and collaborating on the various problems.
In addition, students really enjoy this activity because it
allows them to get up and move beyond the four walls of
the classroom. Teachers can also make the scavenger hunt
into a race for the finish if students enjoy competitions.

I also "hid" the problems in the eggs by using the app,
Aurasma (an augmented reality app that is free and user
friendly) so that students would not see the problem until
they got to the egg and scanned it using their smart device
(see Figure 2). The app can be found in the Apple App
Store and additional information can be found at
www.aurasma.com (will be redirected to new site
www.hpreveal.com). Alternatively, this could be done with
QR codes or by simply putting the problems on the back of
the eggs.
Figure 2. Pictures of sample problems
using the Aurasma app.

Activity:

The last time I used this activity it was in the spring and
my students were solving algebraic equations. The activity
was called "egg equations" and students were sent on
a scavenger hunt. I taped pictures of eggs randomly
throughout the hallway (see Figure 1) that were numbered
from one to thirty-two. I tiered the problems with four
levels of complexity.
Figure 1. Picture of "egg equations"
taped throughout the hallways.

1. Level 1 problems were basic two-step equations
(Eggs 1-8) Ex: 2x + 5 = 13
2. Level 2 problems included distribution
(Eggs 9-16) Ex: 2(x + 5) =18
3. Level 3 problems had variables on both sides
(Eggs 17-24) Ex: 5x + 8 = 2x +26
4. Level 4 problems included distribution and
variables on both sides
(Eggs 25-32) Ex: 3(2x + 1) = 4(x -6)

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As previously noted, students were placed into groups of
three based on similar algebraic readiness and were given a
hunt card that told them what eggs (equations) to go find.
Each hunt card (recording sheet) was numbered differently
and students were to complete only those problems. All
students were required to find the same amount of eggs (I
had them find twelve), but hunts A & B contained mostly
two-step equations (level one problems). Hunts C & D had
fewer level one problems and had more level two and level
three problems. Hunts E & F only had one or two problems
from level one and contained several from level four.
Finally, hunts G & H did not contain level one problems
and were primarily comprised of level three and level four
problems. The illustrations (see Figure 3) on the following
page represent examples of problems assigned to level
one and level four problems based on students' algebraic
readiness. Hunt A contained problems: 1, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14,
15, 18, 21, 24, & 27. While hunt H contained problems: 9,
11, 12, 13, 17, 19, 20, 23, 25, 28, 30, 32. A few of the problems
were used in multiple hunts.

Spring/Summer 2018 | 15


http://www.aurasma.com http://www.hpreveal.com http://www.txmathteachers.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Texas Mathematics Teacher Spring/Summer 2018

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http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/68-01
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/67-01
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/66-02
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/66-01
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/65-02
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/65-01
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/64-02
https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/txmt/64-1
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com