Tuesday, April 30, 2013

QR Code Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt

I must be the world's worst blogger. I had really high hopes for Berkery Bytes but my last entry was August 26th, 2012 during the 2nd week of school. Yikes! I must say this year has been busy, VERY busy. Needless to say, with teaching, working on www.berkerytech.com and raising a toddler, blogging has taken a backseat. This post even took four days with all the interruptions to write up. However, you're in luck, today I have a fun post to share! 

Back on March 1st, I attended the Illinois Computer Educator's (ICE) conference. If you are able to attend, this is definitely a conference you do not want to miss. Every year, I have learned so much from it! This year, I attended a session that really inspired me. It was called Get Snapping with QR Codes by James Gubbins. I would definitely check out his presentation. I enjoyed it so much so that I came back and created a lesson. I created a QR Code Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt for my 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. 

Prior to the activity and even the planning of the activity, I set aside one day with each of my classes where we could view & talk about James Gubbin's slideshow. I originally started to create my own slideshow and even though it showed my presentation was saved, it somehow got wiped off of Sliderocket's website. Don't ask me how but it's gone. In a crunch for time, I decided to show Mr. Gubbin's slideshow instead. Even though his presentation was intended for teachers, I figured a lot of my students would "get" the material after I explained which they did so I was happy and they were excited for the scavenger hunt day to arrive.

Prior to the activity, I wrote up a Bring your Own Device letter for students to bring home to their parents. A lot of students already had their devices at school but they are usually locked up in the lockers during the day. The intent of my letter was not only for students to have permission to use their devices during the school day but also download one of the free QR Code scanner apps. You can see the parent letter here or by clicking on the snapshot below. 
Now for my initial idea of the actually "hunt," I had wanted to hide plastic Easter Eggs around school that had QR Codes inside them. However, after thinking about it, I decided it would probably not turn out the way I wanted. I did not want students touching the QR Codes, wrinkling them or smearing the ink and then making them unreadable. However, I think back now and laminating them would have solved that issue. My next concern was that if I did hide plastic Easter Eggs around the school, they would get moved or touched by other students. Therefore, I nixed that idea. For my first step, I decided to cut out paper Easter Eggs out of card-stock in nine different colors. I felt that hiding those would be a better idea because I could tape them in different places. Looking back, although I did not have problems with students touching them, I wish I would have laminated those.

Next, I had to create the QR codes. I searched for anything and everything on facts about eggs. I had links to informational websites, blogs, videos that were informational as well as musical, and a fun, personality quiz that I made up on "What Type of Egg are You?" After I found my nine links, I generated questions on a worksheet and then created the QR Codes using the website called QR Stuff

Here is a snapshot of the worksheet below. To see the full size, click here.

The week of the hunt was here! Students began the hunt in my room and scanned a QR Code on my overhead screen that had the rules of the hunt. As a group, they had to read the rules before they set off. Rules were simple. No running, shouting, etc. We have 35+ classes going on so I did not want them to be disruptive. And surprisingly, they were VERY well behaved and engaged throughout the whole activity. As for the eggs, they were hidden in the hallways, stairwells and students had to search high and low. All the eggs  were in reach for students to scan them. Here are a few photos from our scavenger hunt. Some students got into the spirit and even made bunny ears to wear. 


Now day one went smoothly, very smoothly! Keep in mind though, I had four more days of classes. Day two approached and completely FAIL! All of the students were losing their connection. Although we have quite a few REALLY OLD access points around school, it was kicking them all off. By afternoon, our tech support, Mr. Carlin had set up a 2nd network connection strictly for my students. We connected and we were off again on the hunt successfully. However, by late afternoon, the whole school's network shut down. I guess the 2nd network connection created was kicking all the teachers off and no one knew why. Now even though I'm a technology teacher, when it comes to "techie" stuff with the network and connections, I'm lost. So forgive me if I'm not relaying the correct information. After the main network was restored, we decided to try containing the hunt to my classroom. Students and myself were bummed but at least in my room, they would not lose their connection. Unfortunately, a lot of their devices needed to be hooked up to the wireless or else we would have kept going around school. Keeping it in my room for the rest of the week was very successful. I did have to get a little creative hiding the eggs but my students still had an "egg-citing" time.  

In the end, the hunt might not have worked out exactly like I had planned but all students were able to complete it in my classroom, learn interesting facts about eggs and learn how QR codes work. 

The best part? My students are now coming up to me all the time to tell me about QR codes they have scanned. Just the other day while I supervised the lunchroom, a student brought up his lunch container and asked me to scan the code right there since he did not have his phone. Priceless! 

Our school year is coming to a close but I no longer fear the QR code!!!! I plan on integrating it into a lot more of my lessons next year, create a bulletin board with it, put some up on my website, www.berkerytech.com and even try to get other teachers on board as well. Thank you James Gubbins for inspiring me!

For those reading, if you would like any of the handouts to edit and make your own or have questions, feel free to email me at LisaBerkery@gmail.com.

Hopefully I'm able to post a lot more in the future. I have some great bulletin board ideas for my classroom and hope to share those. I will also be making updates on my website as well so stay tuned for changes! 

Have a wonderful day and enjoy the end of the school year!

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