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Searching the States (or Provinces) Scavenger Hunt


Fifty States

Return to Fifty States, Five Lessons

  • Arts & Humanities
    Language Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Social Studies

  • Geography


3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Advanced

Brief Description

Send students on a scavenger hunt for specific facts and figures about the U.S. states (or Australia's states or Canada's provinces and territories).

Objective Students use library or Internet resources to hunt for specific facts or figures related to U.S. states.


abbreviation, almanac, bird, capital, census, encyclopedia, flower, hunt, Internet, scavenger, nickname, origin, population, postal, precipitation, provinces, region, research, search, state, United States

Materials Needed

  • library and/or Internet resources (Internet resources provided)
  • teacher- or student-created work sheets
  • pencils

Lesson Plan

This scavenger hunt activity can be done using library or Internet resources and would make an excellent computer lab activity. Library materials such as encyclopedias, almanacs, and books about regions or individual states are excellent resources for completing the activity. If students have computer access, a wide variety of Internet sources are provided at the end of this lesson; each source includes a notation about grade levels for which it is most appropriate.

Students hunt through library or online resources to locate specific information about states (or provinces). The teacher might create a work sheet in advance, or students can create their own recording sheets by folding a piece of lined paper into columns.

Assign states for students to research by putting all 50 state names in a hat and having students draw ten state names. You might organize students into groups of five, dividing the 50 states among them, or assign states to students.

The number of columns students are asked to fill in for each state will vary by grade. The information that students hunt for will vary according to curriculum. For each state, province, or territory, students might be asked to identify the

  • capital
  • postal abbreviation
  • size of population
  • state bird and/or flower
  • date it was admitted to the political union
  • number that corresponds to the sequence in which it (the state, province, or territory) was admitted
  • origin of its name
  • nickname
  • names of five famous people who were born there
  • title of the state song
  • average annual precipitation
  • motto
  • number of square miles of land
  • major crops
  • most interesting or fun fact.

Student work sheets might have headers like this:

State Name Nickname Capital Population Flower Bird
Internet Resources
Appropriate grade levels for each resource provided in parentheses.

Follow-Up Activity
Provide each student with an outline map of one of the states. Such maps can be found online at

Canadian teachers can find outline maps of the provinces at Blank Outline Maps of Canada.

Provide a list of items that students should identify about each state on the map. Post the maps, or combine them to create a large map of the country.


Students should correctly complete at least 80 percent of the required tasks.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins National Standards


SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography TECHNOLOGY See more geography lesson ideas on the Education World Geography page. Click to return to the Fifty States lesson plan page.

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Originally published 09/06/2002
Last updated 06/02/2010