Educational scavenger hunt provides extra fun and extra credit for students and parents

Vanessa Lima, learning how to use heat in order to make an LED blinking lapel.
Vanessa Lima, learning how to use heat in order to make an LED blinking lapel. Miami Herald Staff

Isabellah Nodarse wouldn’t normally wake up early on a Saturday morning. But having a C in her science class motivated her to show up with her mother at The Home Depot at 6:30 a.m. for extra credit.

David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center and The Home Depot in North Miami teamed up to create The Home Depot Science and Math Scavenger Hunt, where students and their parents solve science and math problems by searching through the aisles of the store.

“My mom is always getting me into school activities and she wants me to learn more and be the best,” said Isabellah, 11, who is in the sixth grade. “This shows me more of what I need to do in class, and the experiments that I have to learn how to do and to figure out the equations and all that stuff. It is the same thing we are learning in textbooks.”

For Maria Reyes, this was a great opportunity for some mother-daughter bonding.

“Not only is it educational, but it is also a way of having some interaction with your child,” said Reyes, who says she tries to stay involved in Isabellah’s school programs. “It also lets me know what they are working on in school.”

The educational scavenger hunt began in 2009 as an event looking to involve parents, students, teachers and community partners.

More than 200 students from David Lawrence Jr. K-8 showed up for the early-morning event that included 15 activity booths monitored by teachers and volunteers, as well as a list of 19 questions.

The students and their parents had to go through the aisles and departments of Home Depot to find the correct answers. They were required to complete 14 questions and do activities at four booths in order to receive the extra credit.

“This is an amazing experience to have the teachers one-on-one with the parent, along with their own child. You don’t really get to do that on a daily basis.” said Linda B. Nae, president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at the school. “Most parents work full time, and this is a great opportunity for them to really show their kids that education is important.”

The questions included in the booklet ranged from gas usage on a BBQ grill, to finding sunlight requirements for various herbs in a garden, to differentiating outlet types on lamps.

At the booths, students and parents had to do activities with the teachers, such as measure and find volumes of certain shapes, use infrared thermometers to define temperatures of different articles and create objects using a drill and wood pieces.

“The kids make the parents come out here just for the extra credit, and the parents like it, because they really get a chance to see some of the things that we’re doing in class,” said Bernard Osborn, principal at the K-8 Center. “This is the way education is going right now: it’s got to be very tactile, for the kids to be able to touch it and be able to manipulate it.”

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