What's in a Textbook?: Scavenger Hunt for Text Features

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SWBAT to use text features to find content in a textbook.

Big Idea

Students can more easily focus on the content when they know how to use the text features.


15 minutes

This is a quick but effective way of introducing a nonfiction text that students will reference frequently. 

Students are given a nonfiction text, in this case, a textbook and asked to look throughout the book for anything they find interesting and to share it with other students around them. I do this so they can focus better in the next part of the lesson. If they get to explore first, then they (hopefully) won't be as distracted when I ask them to look for specific things.

After about two-three minutes of students sharing with each other, I call their attention back to me by asking them to "give me five." They look at me, stop talking, raise their hand in the air and put up one finger at a time until I reach five and they have all fingers on one hand up. Then I know they are ready for the next direction.

I explain to them that this is a new text that we will be using often and that we don't want to waste any time looking for important information. In order to use this book effectively, we need to know how it is organized. I tell students that they are going to play a little scavenger hunt. I'm going to ask them to find important sections of the book and they will write the answers on their white board as well as turn to the correct page. 

I ask questions one at a time. After enough students have answered the questions, I restate the answer and make sure that all students have found the correct page.

We continue until all questions have been asked and answered.

Extension for Fun

5 minutes

After reviewing the layout of the text, if there is extra time, I might ask students to ask their own questions of the class. For example, students might say, "Find a graph" or "find a picture with a kid in it", etc. Then everyone goes on search for the page showing the correct image or information. I display the answer or page on the document camera for everyone to see.

If there is even more time and students are eager, I allow them to continue doing this sort of individualized questioning to their group for another three-five minutes so that everyone gets a chance.


5 minutes

This lesson exposes students to the parts of the textbook that they will need to quickly access to find information when you teach content from a textbook. Later, when you are teaching a lesson that requires students to read from a specific section in a textbook or a book, it keeps them from getting lost in book.