The Story of ‘QR Codes Treasure Hunt’ at Whangarei Primary
by Tara and Tania
Planning: setting up the QR code treasure hunt with the senior students
There was great level of excitement at Whangarei Primary School at the end of Term 3, 2011 as the students shared their learning about QR Codes with the junior class. Lots of planning and initial work had gone in to this event which focused around the school inquiry on Pirates. You can read more about the planning in our earlier blogpost.
Preparation involved five groups of Room 23 students collaborating and designing a treasure hunt that would lead from clue-to-clue around the whole school. The end result, in true treasure hunt style, was to find some treasure, in this case chocolate money! The students planned their treasure hunt, wrote their clues, created their QR codes, walked around the school to ensure it all worked smoothly, and finally printed out their codes and laminated them ready for the big day.
The application: senior students run the event for the juniors
After morning tea, the junior class were led into Room 23 and greeted by Pirate Lass, Mrs Moore. Poppy, one of Room 23’s students, gave a brief introduction to QR codes and how to read them. Students were then supported in using iPod touches to scan the already prepared codes that revealed their names. As this was happening, another group of senior students were busy setting up the clues. Finally, the time arrived to used the skills we had gained and ‘go forth’ for the authentic experience of a true treasure hunt with a 21st century twist!
Students were divided into small groups and led by senior students on their discovery. The treasure hunt began!
As groups arrived at the first clue, there was an alarming look from the senior students. What had gone wrong? The students suddenly realised that the sequencing of the clues wasn’t right. They had put the clues one step ahead. For example, the clue ‘Your ship just sank, swim to Monkey Island but watch out for sharks’ was at the monkey bars rather than at the clue before, which would have then led the group to the monkey bars.
When disaster strikes…
Problem solving in action and on the run! Students had different ways of overcoming this challenge, and were quick to solve their problems. One group sent a ‘runner’ off to move the clues as the students were moving from clue to clue. Others sat the students down, and took time to “get to know them better” as someone started the clue placement again! Great fitness as well as mathematical sequencing. As teachers, we noted the positive learning from this challenge, and while we hadn’t anticipated this particular aspect being a learning moment, it turned out to be highly beneficial for the senior students.
A successful treasure hunt ended with the students discovering a bounty of chocolate with lots of laughter and learning along the way.
All good learning requires reflection—juniors and seniors gathered around to discuss the highlights and challenges of the day. We were amazed at the feedback from the students—check out the short video below.
- The excitement of the students as they found the clues
- The opportunity for junior and senior students to build relationships
- Senior students taking on a leadership role—overhead one senior student saying to junior, “Walk beside me, I’m supervising you!”
- Senior students acknowledge that they felt proud supporting the junior students and sharing their skills
- The respect the students showed for the equipment. One junior student, while running, fell and grazed both of his knees, HOWEVER, the teacher’s iPhone was held in the air and no damage sustained :-)
- Junior teacher reflected that it encouraged reluctant “reading out loud” readers to do so in a safe and different environment.
- The weaving of the key competencies throughout the treasure hunt—preparation and on the day.
Students' ideas for next time
- Individual clues were not ‘tagged as such’ so, if more than one clue was in same place, it was hard to know which group it belonged to. Students’ ideas included having colour-coded clues or stickers that corresponded to each group.
- Ensure ‘the treasure’ for each group isn’t buried in different places, as there was confusion when groups chose the same ending spot. Whose treasure was whose?