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Lesson Plan

Nature Study Outdoor Treasure Hunts (with Spanish language option)

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Seven 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Loraine Woodard

Loraine Woodard

Berkeley, California


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



This is a great activity to take students and learning outside. After playing a treasure hunt game in an outdoor setting, students create their own treasure hunts with clues for their classmates to find. Students research and imagine an animal's activities, then write a story from the animal's point of view. A scaffolded writing process, including peer editing, provides a structure for revision, so students can develop well-written stories for their readers to enjoy. Students then hide clues from their stories in the appropriate places outdoors, and classmates follow the trails. This activity is perfect for classes with a need for differential instruction or ELL classes. Handouts and websites in Spanish are included.

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Fox, M. (2000). Radical surgery in the writing curriculum: Replacing the meaningless with the meaningful. Reading Online, 5. Available: http://www.readingonline.org/international/inter_index.asp?HREF=fox/index.html

  • Before students begin writing, they should know whom they are writing for, and respect their readers or listeners enough to make an effort to write well. They need to have a real audience.

  • Real writers take time to draft and redraft according to the importance of their audience.

  • "Writers need time: time to think, time to rip it all up and start again, time to get it as right as possible for the reader, who's as important as possible."

  • "[R]eal literacy only happens in a community of one sort or another, when people need to connect for one reason or " Creating community in the classroom encourages students to produce writing that is "genuine and urgent and meaningful and correct."


Parker, Diane. 2007. Planning for Inquiry: It's Not an Oxymoron! Urbana, IL: NCTE.

  • In inquiry-based learning, teachers need to be able to recognize generative questions to encourage extended investigations and broader connections.

  • Having students wonder is what gets them into an inquiry mindset; this is what starts the process, not necessarily the specific questions they initially ask.

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