There are only so many times you can play a Quizziz or Kahoot review game before kids tire and need something fresh. Enter scavenger hunt loops. If you haven’t tried one before, rest assured that scavenger hunts are the perfect review activity for middle school, and I’m going to show you how you can easily set one up to check for understanding with nearly any unit!

Fun ELA review activities

Step #1

Generate a List of Questions & Answers

You want these to questions that can be answered with a single word or phrase. 

For example: What part of speech is the underlined word? Or “In which stanza does the poet use an ABBBA rhyme scheme?”

A shorter list will yield a shorter review. A longer list will yield a longer review.

Step #2

Create Your Question Sequence

Don’t overthink this part. You simply want to create a sequence or “trail” students will move through. If you have 20 questions, you want one question to lead to another which leads to another until they make it back to the beginning. Here’s an example:

1 → 5 → 9 → 20 → 12 → 3 → 4 → 10 → 17 → 6 → 19 → 2 → 8 → 7 → 11 → 16 → 13 → 18 → 14 → 15 → 1

Notice that the loop started with question 1 and finished with question 1. This will be true whether students start at 8 or 3 or anywhere else. They’ve completed the “loop” when they arrive back at the start!

Step #3

Build Your Question/Answer Template

Your question/answer template is what you will hang up around your classroom. You can create each sheet to have the answer on top and the question on the bottom, or the answer on the left and the question on the right. It doesn’t really matter! (Scroll to the bottom to receive a question/answer template)

Step #4

Plug-In Your Questions & Answers

Make this part easy on yourself and plug them in according to the sequence outlined in step 2. You’ll also want to make sure you number your questions. Students will record their sequence on their recording sheet. 

Step #5

Adjust the Level of Difficulty for Different Student Demographics

If you teach different levels of students, you can adjust the level of difficulty at this point.

For remedial or IEP students: Reduce the number of questions in the trail or the number of questions the students must answer. 

For advanced students, you can make each question multiple choice and eliminate the answer portion of your template. It would look like this:


  1. Go to #19
  2. Go to #12
  3. Go to #7
  4. Go to #6 

Step #6

Create Your Recording Sheet

Students need to record their sequence, starting with the number of their first question. They should be able to start anywhere, so it doesn’t matter if they start with 1. Your recording sheet can be as simple as a strip of paper with a blank table on it. The number of squares should match your number of questions. Print off an answer key for yourself, so you can quickly help students who make mistakes and get out of order.

Step #7

Plan An Exit Ticket or Reflective Task

Either on your recording sheet or a separate piece of paper, leave a question for students to complete when they are done with the scavenger hunt. This could be something question related, like:

  • Choose one question on the trail. Explain how you found your answer.

Or, it could be something generic, like:

  • 3-2-1: Write three things you liked about this scavenger hunt, 2 things you had trouble with, and 1 question you have.

Step #8

Print Your Questions & Hang Around the Room

I like to hang them in numerical order so students can quickly find a number if they have to return to a question.

Step #9

Explain the Rules of the Review

If this is your first time doing a scavenger hunt review, I recommend modeling a couple of questions. Student reads question X, jots down the number, then walks the loop to find the answer he/she is looking for. Once the student finds it, he/she jots down the question number, reads the new question, and repeats the process. You’ll want to emphasize how to use the recording sheet and how to move around the room appropriately… middle school boys are pretty rough!

Step #10

Create a Plan for Early Finishers

They’ve finished the loop and the reflective question: now what? You can have these students help others through the loop. You can have them free read (always my favorite). Or you can have them move on to another task. I’ve done this if the review is coming before a quiz.

Interactive + Engaging

Scavenger Hunt Loops make a great activity to get middle school kids moving while checking for understanding. Once you create and set up your first one, you’ll realize how easily you can replicate it in the future!

Scavenger Hunt Checklist + Question Template

I’ve made a quick step-by-step guide to creating your first scavenger hunt loop for middle school that you can download below. Also included is a sample question & answer page that you can duplicate and use for your own! Have you done a scavenger hunt loop before? I’d love to hear how it went for you! Leave a comment below or find me on FB or IG.

using scavenger hunt review loops in the secondary classroom