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Ideas for Using Hunt the Fact Monster in Your Classroom

 

 

Education World has joined forces with FactMonster.com to create a weekly printable activity that challenges students to build research skill and learn interesting information. Each week, we present two new Hunt the Fact Monster activities --

Primary-Grade Hunt. This weekly activity is designed for use in grades 2 and 3. Each hunt presents five multiple-choice questions based on timely themes. Themes are grouped by month; for example, October's hunt questions relate to Christopher Columbus, Halloween, bats, and other themes of interest to students in grades 2-3.

Intermediate-Grade Hunt. Developed for use by students in grades 4-up, each printable weekly hunt presents 10 questions related to events, people, places, and ideas with which students should be familiar.

The information that follows provides helpful tips for making use of Education World's printable Hunt the Fact Monster hunts. We offer

  • information about the underlying purposes of the Fact Monster hunt activities.
  • ideas for using Hunt the Fact Monster activity sheets in the classroom.
  • tips for teaching the skills students will need to experience success on the weekly Fact Monster hunt.
  • HUNT THE FACT MONSTER'S PURPOSE

    Hunt the Fact Monster activities are designed to help students

  • develop research skills. Fact Monster hunts teach students important skills such as looking for key words in questions, using an online search engine, and skimming for information. The Hunts are designed to help students be successful as they learn and practice those skills.
  • build cultural literacy. Hunt the Fact Monster questions help students learn about important events, people, places, and ideas. They are designed to motivate interest in, and build awareness of, facts all students should know.
  • practice test-taking skills. At the primary level, Fact Monster hunts provide practice in responding to multiple-choice questions -- the kinds of questions that are most common on state and national tests. Intermediate-grade students are exposed to a variety of question formats, which will help prepare them for different types of questions they might encounter on standardized tests.
  • learn to skim for information. Students will learn to skim search results and articles for key words and phrases that will help them find the information they need.
  • IDEAS FOR USING HUNT THE FACT MONSTER HUNTS

    Education World's weekly, printable Hunt the Fact Monster activities can be used in many ways. Following are just a few suggestions:

    Use Hunt the Fact Monster printables as a computer-learning-center activity. Does your classroom have 2 or 3 computers that often sit unused? Are you looking for a valuable way to make use of classroom computers? If you answered yes to either of those questions, Hunt the Fact Monster is perfectly suited for you and your students. FactMonster.com is an online encyclopedia designed just for kids. Students learn and practice Internet research skills by using the safe and self-contained Fact Monster search engine. Set up a schedule for students so each student will have 20 to 40 minutes of computer time to complete the activity. Students learn valuable skills and information as they use this weekly printable activity provided by Education World and Fact Monster.

    Use Fact Monster hunts in your school's technology center. Book a weekly time in your school's technology center so all students can work at the same time on a Hunt the Fact Monster activity. Wander the classroom helping students who will benefit from instruction in locating key words, using an online search engine, skimming for information, and tracking down specific answers.

    If you plan to use Hunt the Fact Monster as an independent activity that students complete in your classroom computer center, you might first use it for a couple weeks as a whole-class activity that is completed in the school technology center. Practicing this activity as a whole class will enable you to work with students who might benefit from direct instruction in locating key words, using a search engine, or skimming for information. A couple whole-class sessions will better prepare all students for success when you introduce the activity as an independent, in-class activity.

    Use Hunt the Fact Monster hunts as a homework assignment. Fact Monster hunts make great assignments for students to complete at home. Even better, they are a nice activity for parents and children to complete together. It's a good quality-time activity and a good alternative to TV watching. Parents and children will learn together as they respond to the weekly questions; some questions might even motivate families to explore and learn more about topics. In addition, doing the Fact Monster as homework provides an opportunity for parents to teach their children about using key words to search; skimming for information; and surfing the Internet safely. While Hunt the Fact Monster hunts are designed for use with the FactMonster.com search engine, Internet access at home is not essential. Answers to most questions on the hunt activity sheets can be found using encyclopedia and other resources that many families have access to at home or in a local library.

    Use Fact Monster hunts to challenge gifted students. Do you have students in your class who might benefit from a challenging activity? Fact Monster hunts are a perfect tool for challenging gifted students. Gifted first and second graders might be able to do the primary-grade hunts on their own. Gifted second and third graders might benefit from the challenge of doing the Fact Monster hunts designed for the intermediate-grade levels.

    TEACHING SKILLS NEEDED FOR SUCCESS

    As with all classroom activities of this nature, students will be more successful if you take time to teach the skills that are required for success. For example


    Teaching
    Fact Monster
    Independence

    If you want to use Hunt the Fact Monster as an independent activity in your small classroom computer center, you might first use a couple of Fact Monster hunts as whole-class activities completed in your school's technology center (where every student has access to a computer). Book a time when all students can work on the same Hunt the Fact Monster activity. Monitor students as they do the task. Help students who need instruction in locating key words, using an online search engine, skimming for information, and tracking down specific answers. Modeling the activity in this way will make for a smooth transition when you expect students to complete a Hunt the Fact Monster hunt on their own.

     

    Teaching about key words. Success with the Hunt the Fact Monster activity requires that students understand the concept of key words. Each question on these weekly, printable hunts contains one or more key words that might serve as the starting point for using the Fact Monster search engine to find the answer. You might take time to use one or two of the weekly Hunts to "teach" the entire class about key words before assigning students to complete an activity independently. Talk about each question. Ask students to identify the possible key words in that question. Try those key words by typing them into the Fact Monster search engine to demonstrate how one or more of the key words might lead to the correct answer to the question.

    Teaching about search engines. Once students grasp the concept of "key words," they might also benefit from some direct instruction in using an online search engine. The FactMonster.com search engine is a perfect place to for students to learn about using search engines because it does not link students to content outside of the Fact Monster site. All links from the search engine take students to safe pages contained on the Fact Monster site. Again, you might "teach" about using search engines by doing a couple Fact Monster hunts with students. That way, students will see firsthand how search engines deliver multiple results and that the answer to the question might be found in any one of the results that come up. Hunt the Fact Monster hunts have been designed so that most of the questions can be answered by using the results that come to the top of the search-results page. For the primary-grade Fact Monster hunts, the answers to most questions are found in the first search result; from time to time, students might need to use the second or third result. In the Fact Monster hunts designed for intermediate-grade students, answers to questions are usually found in the first or second search-engine result; some answers will be found in the third result and, from time to time, students might even need to dig a little deeper than that to find the answer.

    Teaching about skimming for information. Articles on the FactMonster.com Web site are written with elementary-age students in mind. Many articles are short and to the point, and they are written using vocabulary that students will be able to read. Some other articles, however, are more lengthy and detailed; and they include vocabulary that will challenge some students. Students will learn that they can often find the answers they seek by quickly skimming Fact Monster articles for key words. This is a skill that can be taught directly as you do a couple actual Hunts together. It is a skill that students will become better at with practice as they do the weekly Hunt the Fact Monster hunts on their own.

    Teaching about time management. Putting a time limit on students' completion of the weekly Hunt the Fact Monster activity can help teach students valuable skills of time management. For example, if you use Fact Monster hunts as a computer-center activity, you might put a 20- or 40-minute limit (depending on the grade level you teach) on the activity. As you complete a couple sample Fact Monster hunts as a class, you might talk about how much time can be devoted to each question if you have only x amount of time to complete the activity. There will come times when students work for 10 minutes on question -- and they are still unable to find the answer. In cases such as that, you might "teach" students to set that question aside and go on to the next one. If they have time left at the end of the assigned time, they might return to the question that had earlier stumped them.

     

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