Math Hunt
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Lesson 1: Grades 5-8
Lesson 2: Grades 5-8
Additional Resources
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Teacher's Guide

Lesson 2: Create Your Own Math Hunt

Grade Level: 5-8

Lesson Introduction
Students work individually to create their own Math Hunts, then solve another student’s Math Hunt.

Build Background Knowledge
  • Discuss with students how math problems are presented to people in the real world. For example, when someone wants to know how much money they need to earn to buy a new game, they are not given an equation. They presented with information, and they need to figure out how to use that information to find an answer.
    • you have $5
    • the game costs $76.45
    • you earn $8 an hour
    • you’ll need to work 9 hours to earn $72 so you can have $77, enough for the new game
  • Have students share examples of how they decipher information and use math in their everyday lives: calculating the grocery bill in the supermarket, working with fractions when dividing food among classmates at a party, etc.

Teaching with the Activity
Analyze How Math Hunts Work:

  • Lead students through one Math Hunt to familiarize them with how the activity works.
  • Discuss how the creators of Math Hunt might have come up with these challenges.
  • Use the following example to discuss the mechanics behind constructing a test question and multiple-choice answer.
    From “Creepy Crawlies”:

Arthropods (a fancy name for insects) are the most numerous creatures on Earth. Anywhere you look, you can probably find a bug lurking — including on your own skin! Bugs, like people, come in all sizes — from the 14-inch-long tropical stick insect to one of the smallest insects in the world, the feather-winged beetle.

If laid end to end, how many feather-winged beetles would it take to measure a meter?

A 250
B 400
C 4,000
  • Explain that students must essentially work backwards when creating a test question.
  • First they decide on the math skill or skills to target (in this case, converting units of measurement, practicing multiplication/division).
  • Next, they decide on the reference they want to use.
  • Then they write a question. Depending on the reference site, they may need to provide some information within the question. The rest of the information the “hunter” will need to uncover from the reference.
  • Finally, they list the correct answer as well as two incorrect answers.

 Design Your Own Math Hunt:

  • Explain to students that they will create their own Math Hunt, deciding on a topic, finding a good Web site that can be used for reference, and creating a math word problem that other students will need to solve.
  • Practice together as a class. Sketch out test questions using one or more math skills and real-life situations. Then try several test questions using information from one Math Hunt such as “Creepy Crawlies” (or any other topic).
  • Create a classroom Math Hunt resource center with books on Math Hunt topics and sample word problems (see Recommended Books and Additional Resources for reference ideas). Have appropriate math tools on hand as well (calculator, graph paper, ruler, manipulatives, etc.)
  • Bookmark Web sites that students can use as reference destinations for their Math Hunt.’s Online Activities for grades 3-5 or grades 6-8 offer areas on a variety of topics.
  • Provide time for students to create their own Math Hunt—five questions each with three multiple-choice answers, plus a separate answer key. Students should include two printouts of their reference sites. On one copy, have them highlight the necessary information. The other printout should be clean so that “hunters” can use it as they play.
  • Students should also provide an explanation of the steps players need to go through to solve each problem.
  • Emphasize that the questions and answers must be challenging, but the Math Hunt should also be creative and entertaining with interesting information about the chosen topic.

Compete Against Each Other:

  • Divide students into pairs. One student completes the other student’s Math Hunt. The Math Hunt writer verifies if each answer is correct or incorrect (with the second printout plus answer key), giving the player a second chance if it’s incorrect. Players earn 10 points for answers they get right on the first try, 5 points for correct answers on the second try.
  • As a class, discuss each of the student’s Math Hunts—encouraging the student who completed the Math Hunt to comment on its creativity and level of difficulty.

Extend Learning

Additional Activities:

  • Have students revise their Math Hunts based on feedback from whomever tried the challenge and comments from the class.
  • Have students use the daily newspaper instead of Web sites to create their own Math Hunt. Assign small groups of students a section of the newspaper and have them create a math question that can be answered using information from that section of the newspaper.
  • Collect all the students’ Math Hunts into a book or an interactive presentation (using PowerPoint or HTML authoring tools). Share the collection with other classes.

4th Edition Standards & Benchmarks

Life Skills
         Thinking and Reasoning
Selects the most appropriate strategy or alternative for solving a problem

Language Arts
Uses electronic media to gather information

Uses multiple representations of information to find information for research topics

Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts

Uses prior knowledge and experience to understand and respond to new information

Uses a variety of strategies to understand problem situations

Knows the difference between pertinent and irrelevant information when solving problems

Uses explanations of the methods and reasoning behind the problem solution to determine reasonableness of and to verify results with respect to the original problem

Formulates a problem, determines information required to solve the problem, chooses methods for obtaining this information, and sets limits for acceptable solutions

Understands the concepts of ratio, proportion, and percent and the relationships among them

Multiplies and divides whole numbers

Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides decimals

Adds and subtracts simple fractions

Solves real-world problems involving number operations

Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides integers, and rational numbers

Understands the correct order of operations for performing arithmetic computations

Uses proportional reasoning to solve mathematical and real-world problems

Understands the basic measures perimeter, area, volume, capacity, mass, angle, and circumference

Knows basic geometric language for describing and naming shapes