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Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Yesterday I was creating a TerraClues hunt with my 8 year old daughter and I realized that I hadn't written about this tool yet in my blog. TerraClues allows you to create a geographically based hunt with a series of clues. Each clue is tagged to a location on the globe (the location is decided by you as you create the clue). You also get to decide at what zoom level the clue will be found so if you want to focus on specific cities or landmarks you can or if you want to hunt for larger things like oceans and continents, which is what our hunt focused on, then you can zoom out for a wider view. For each clue you enter an answer and even some accompanying text where you can provide more information about the subject. Here is a clue and answer we created in our hunt.

Clue: This is the only continent that is also a country.
Answer/Location: Australia
Answer Additional Text: Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock and the Sydney Opera House.

You can add a photo for each clue, which could become part of the clue, as well as a hyperlink to additional information if you want. To answer the clues, students type into a search box and then either search the map or conduct a basic Google search to get more information. Once they search the map they may also have to zoom in or out to find the correct location. If they search correctly, they are provided with the answer and additional answer text that is provided for that clue. It may sound confusing but I think it will make sense once you try out a hunt. Click here to see the hunt that my daughter and I made for her third grade class so they could review for their continents and oceans test.

I made my hunt public but you could also create private hunts that are available only to your students. This is possible because teachers can set up their own classrooms and provide access to different hunts to their students through these classrooms. You can search the list of public hunts on the site and add any publicly available hunt to your classroom as well. Students can complete public hunts without logging in but their progress through different hunts is tracked by the site if they are logged in so that is another reason for taking the time to set up accounts and create your own class. When you create a class you get to pick a class name and password, both of which will need to be provided to your students so that they can access your classroom. Students will then need to create a nickname and password (or you could assign them nicknames and passwords) so that they can log in. No e-mail address is required for students to create an account and log in to your classroom. You can choose to allow students to be able to create their own hunts if you want, which would also be added to your classroom once they are completed.

This is a very easy tool to manage as far as creating a classroom, getting students logged in and tracking student progress through different hunts. I think the applications in geography are obvious but you could also use it to create a hunt for the major locations of a novel, historical events, migration patterns, animal habitats and more.

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