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Exploring the Neighborhood - History Treasure Hunt

(Window) A Fun, hands-on way for an intergenerational group to learn about the history of their neighborhood

Overview:

This activity provides a fun, hands-on way for an intergenerational group to learn about the history of their neighborhood.

Participants:

An intergenerational group; participants should have the mobility to travel to various local sites of historical interest.

Objectives:

  • Raise awareness and appreciation of local history.
  • Provide recognition of the extensive knowledge of long-time neighborhood residents.

Resources/Materials:

Neighborhood maps, clipboards, writing pads, and pencils.

Steps:

  1. Planning the treasure hunt:
  • Form an intergenerational event planning committee.
  • Assist the committee in doing background research of local sites of historical significance. This might include sites such as the first park built in the neighborhood, the hotel in which somebody famous stayed when passing through, and the oldest tree in the neighborhood. Encourage planning team members to draw upon resources in the local library and tap the knowledge base of long-time residents and local educators.
  • Draw up a list of 5-15 local sites of historical significance to include in the scavenger hunt.
  • For each site, write out a question and a clue (hint) on a separate piece of paper. Try to develop clues that emphasize more than one generation's experience, hence stimulating intergenerational discussion. For example, one clue might be "This site was the location of a _______ in 1952 and a ________ in 2002."
  • Figure out an order of the sites for which competing intergenerational teams will search. This could be done randomly, to minimize travel distance, or according to some other criteria.
  • Place clue sheets (one per team) at the various sites. Make sure to place the right clues at the right sites; i.e., clue sheets for any particular site should be placed at the previous site on the site order list.
  1. Doing the hunt:
  • Form intergenerational teams.
  • Provide each team with a clue sheet to get them started with figuring out the first site to visit.

Considerations:

For particularly difficult pieces of history, figure out some additional clues to put on the clue sheets which describe it from several different perspectives.

Emphasize the local exploration aspects of this activity rather than the competition.

Consider ways to use the information found in planning this activity for other events and activities. For example, try creating a local history quiz for members of various community groups or establish a local history display at the local mall.

Kaplan and Hanhardt, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Pennsylvania State University