Today, I tried something new in my maths lesson. I’ve read lots online about QR code treasure hunts, but hadn’t quite got my head around how I could use them in class. Today, we were ordering and comparing numbers greater than 1000: potentially a dry objective! So, rather than getting the children to generate their own numbers and compare them, I set up a series of questions around the classroom on QR codes, set on qr-code-generator.com to display text when they were scanned. Each of these gave the children 4 digits and then a statement about them, for example “4562 – a number > 6524” The children would then use their whiteboards to look at the possible combinations of numbers and then find the correct answer. Rather than just writing the answer in their books, the children then had to insert their answers into a spreadsheet on the Learnpad lesson, which then gave a right/wrong statement depending on the answer they had inputted. Some of the questions were more challenging, such as “4632. Smallest to biggest, the 3rd number”. This then required the children to think more logically about the numbers they were creating, ensuring they were listing them in a sensible order to make sure they found the correct answer.
For the more able children, they had to find a pin number to unlock a phone. They had a series of clues as to what their 4-digit number was: as well as there being some like I have already mentioned, some indicated which digits were bigger or smaller than others, odd or even etc. This required a lot of logical thought, although there were a couple of clues to help them out if needed. These children then went on to create their own (paper-based) clues for friends to solve.
Of course, all of this could have been done as a paper based activity, and the learning would have been the same. I’m very fortunate to have a class who (mostly!) remain engaged and focussed on a task: they are keen to learn and challenge themselves. However, this was a really fun way for them to take part in the lesson, and I’m sure lots of them would have gone home and talked about their treasure hunt. Other children coming into the classroom were intrigued by the QR codes posted around the room, and were also keen to have a go.
There were, of course, teething problems: I had to explain the format of the clues and how to use the spreadsheet. Two children discovered that if they clicked on the RIGHT/WRONG cells, the formula was revealed which gave the correct answer (fortunately, they discovered this with only a couple of minutes to go – my next challenge is to work out how to hide this!). I’ve also learned that ten times is clearly not enough times to check that the questions and answers tally – the same child also found a mistake in my spreadsheet which I had to amend and quickly send out to the Learnpads. Despite this, the children are desperate for more, and I shall certainly be obliging. I had worried that one or two of the children in my teaching group would find the task too easy – the same child again had expressed concern that he would not be challenged. This was easily resolved, as I just printed the codes for my harder task out and scattered them around the room (obviously on a different colour paper!). I invited him to switch tasks whenever he felt he was ready to move on. Needless to say, he didn’t. The list questions kept him – and the rest of the class- busy as they decided which digits they needed to swap each time.
The first activity I created did admittedly take a while to make, mainly while I worked out a question format which would fit the small text bar that the Learnpad allowed, but the second was certainly far quicker. If the lesson lends itself to it, I have no doubt that we will be doing much more treasure hunting from now on!