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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt

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Digital cameras or cellphone/tablet cameras, document camera and projector (optional), Word-processing or presentation software (optional)

Activity Description

In this activity, students will use digital cameras (or their own cell phone or tablet cameras), individually, in pairs, or in teams, to go on a scavenger hunt to take photos representing words on lists provided to them.


  1. Prepare a word list for the scavenger hunt. For example, if you are teaching adjectives, the word list could be a list of adjectives or nouns that will appear in a reading or that have already been studied in class. You could also prepare a word list based around a theme, such as transportation, clothing, emotions, and so on. We have provide a couple of sample lists on the Example Document (above) titled Photo Scavenger Hunt 
  2. Make photocopies of the list to distribute to students.


  1. Distribute scavenger hunt list to students or teams of students – you could also provide different lists to teams.
  2. Divide students into groups and ensure that at least one student in each group has a working/charged phone with a camera.
  3. Explain the scavenger hunt to students. Within the given time limit, they will need to work together to find items in and around the school that match the items or descriptions on the word list and take photos of them. Depending on the purpose of the activity (whether to review already taught/learned vocabulary or to use dictionaries and peer teach new vocabulary), explain (or not) the words to students, perhaps providing one sample photo.
  4. Send students to complete the scavenger hunt with a team time-keeper. The first team to return to the classroom with photos of the words is the "winning" team.
  5. Debrief by having each team show their photos and notice the variety of pictures that depicted the same word.

More Ways

  • Another idea is to have students create visuals with the photos. The photos could be inserted in a word processing document with captions typed in or students could make a PowerPoint photo album from the photos. To use PowerPoint follow these instructions:
    • Attach the digital camera or use a card reader to download the photos to a computer that has Microsoft PowerPoint installed. (For a cell phone camera or tablet, the photos can be e-mailed and downloaded from the e-mail onto the desktop of the camera).
    • In PowerPoint, select the Insert tab.
    • Choose Photo Album – New Photo Album.
    • Select File/Disk and browse the Desktop folder where the photos were downloaded.
    • Open the folder and to select all the photos to insert at one time, with one photo per slide, press the Ctrl and A keys [Ctrl] + [A] at the same time.
    • Select Insert and then Create.
    • Students can then enter their names on the title slide, and they can type in the words that match the photos by entering text in text boxes or captions.
  • Create and share a photo album
  • YouTube video with instructions for using PowerPoint 2010



  • Beginning Literacy
  • Beginning Low
  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced
  • All Levels


Basic Communication

  • (4.8) Demonstrate effectiveness in working with other people

Basic Communication

  • (7.2) Demonstrate ability to use critical thinking skills
  • (7.3) Demonstrate ability to use problem-solving skills
  • (7.7) Demonstrate the ability to use information and communication technology
  • (7.1) Identify or demonstrate effective skills and practices in accomplishing goals
  • (7.5) Understand aspects of and approaches to effective personal management
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.