Scavenger Hunt Teaches Southland High School Students About Chicago

Richton Park-(ENEWSPF)- Southland College Prep Charter High School students were on a mission—learn about Chicago and its important buildings and sites and have an enjoyable time. They accomplished their mission through a scavenger hunt-field trip and now have a good grasp of the city’s architecture and history.

Language arts teacher Samantha Nham designed the scavenger hunt for the school’s 121 freshmen, who comprise the first class of the first charter public high school in the south suburbs, to develop their strategic thinking and team work skills and to broaden their knowledge of Chicago. Ms. Nham’s Chi City Challenge gave students the task of finding important locations that are scattered along Michigan Avenue and in Millennium Park. The teams ended the challenge at Navy Pier where they compared results. Working in teams of five, the students competed to complete the greatest number of missions, as efficiently as possible, answering clues and collecting souvenirs along the way.  They trekked between three and four miles to find 15 landmarks after they exited the Metra train that took them from Matteson to the Van Buren Street station on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

“My goal was to have students relate what they learn about the history of Chicago to modern day landmarks,” said Ms. Nham. “They also had to use good communication skills because they met people along the way who could help them complete their mission. The students also had to demonstrate their ability to navigate around Chicago using a map. Each team had a chaperone, but the chaperone was not supposed to help point them in the right direction.”

The locations included:

  1. Art Institute of Chicago – 111 South Michigan Avenue
  2. Lurie Gardens (Millennium Park) – Look for “A Living World” photo essay by Vitale.  The team must pose for a picture in front of their favorite piece.  Chaperones will make sure all students are in agreement, and spend at least 5 minutes reviewing the photos.
  3. North Boeing Gallery (Millennium Park) – Look for “Interconnected” by Yvonne Domenge.  The team must find the Tree of Life sculpture and pose for a picture by the seeds of growth.
  4. Cloud Gate (Millennium Park) – Teams must pose for a picture by the famous cloud sculpture.
  5. Wrigley Building – 410 North Michigan Avenue
  6. Billy Goat Tavern – 430 North Michigan Avenue
  7. Tribune Building – 435 North Michigan Avenue – Teams must take a picture of one team member touching the following stones: Taj Mahal, Great Wall, Lincoln’s Tomb, White House and a free choice stone.
  8. Lego Store – 520 North Michigan Avenue (inside The Shops at North Bridge)
  9. Nike Town – 669 North Michigan Avenue
  10. Tiffany & Co. – 730 North Michigan Avenue
  11. Historic Water Tower – 806 North Michigan Avenue –Teams must pose for a picture by this symbol of resilience and resolve.
  12. Looking Glass Theater Company – 821 North Michigan Avenue
  13. Hershey Factory – 822 North Michigan Avenue
  14. Hancock Building – 875 North Michigan Avenue
  15. Fourth Presbyterian Church – 126 East Chestnut Street (corner of Chestnut and Michigan, across from Hancock) –Teams must pose for a picture by this historic symbol of the Magnificent Mile.

The students also received bonus points if they acquired a business card from any Starbucks on Michigan Avenue that bore a barista’s signature and part of the Southland Creed, took a photo of the City of Chicago flag and/or carried a hallowed egg for the entire day, whole and uncracked at the end of the day.

“We found everything and got bonus points,” said Brittany Thompson, who was a member of the first place team. “We were really competitive and strategized on the train on the way to Chicago.”

While Ashley Jackson’s team was in eighth place, she thought the scavenger hunt was an eye opener for her. “I thought I knew more about Chicago than I actually did,” said Ashley.

Ian Katiku liked the hunt, too. “Usually when I am in Chicago I am in a car, but this time I walked around and saw more. I didn’t know that the Tribune building’s walls had stones from famous buildings in them. I thought that was interesting.”

Moriah Hackett was surprised to discover that there was a Lower Wacker Drive. “I feel smarter about Chicago,” said Moriah.