by Lisa Volland

A great way to end a semester of studying the different kingdoms is to have a scavenger hunt! This hands-on lab practical exam will allow students to take their knowledge of the various types of plants, fungi, and animals into the field. In my regular and honors biology, mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores, we study the diversity of organisms by doing lab or field observations of living specimens during the last part of the second semester. If it is sometimes difficult to get outside in the spring because of location, transportation, weather, or otherwise–bring the outdoors inside with samples of wildflowers, mosses, leaves, earthworms and other small invertebrates and vertebrates. Practice conservation by collecting only what you intend to use. Return living specimens to their habitat whenever possible.

Below is a modified scavenger hunt appropriate for eastern Kansas. This originated with John Wachholz, Salina Central, and Ernie Brown, WaKeeney, fellow KABT members. Some of the following items we have looked at in class, others not, but they must decide on where to go look for the specimen and how to collect it. I have added to this list and taken other items away as some choices are either too easy or too difficult to collect.

I have my students take this list two weeks before the end of school. They may begin checking in the next morning or after school. I stop answering questions about the project after I make sure that all the directions are understood. As the students check in their items, I initial the circle, then throw away the item, or if it is an animal, the student has to decide where to put it in my room and how to keep it alive. We feed the live insects and fruit to the classroom animals
We have a seminar period built into our block schedule twice a week, so I allow those that missed checking in that morning to check in during this period. Most students are able to finish this lab practical on time, and with excellent scores. The total points assigned to this final is 15% of the semester grade points.

The lab (including the student scavenger hunt form) in pdf format for download: BIOLOGY LAB PRACTICAL – THE SCAVENGER HUNT