Practice Research Skills & Teach Proper Citation with a Scavenger Hunt

This lesson plan is intended to harness holiday energy to introduce or review reference and citation skills. It can be used as preparation for research projects or as a general brush-up of this information. It can easily be adapted for middle elementary grades through high school, and can be adjusted for nearly any season of the year.


  • Students will search text for desired information
  • Students will cite reference sources in appropriate format


  • Seasonal Trivia Scavenger Hunt (duplicated for all students)
  • References and resource material that contain answers to Scavenger Hunt questions
  • Review materials for proper citation format for references and source material being provided
  • Internet access if desired
  • Pencils for all students


Develop or locate a list of trivia questions related to the upcoming holiday. Gather resource materials or references that contain answers to the questions you will use. Create an answer key to the trivia questions for your own use.


  • Teach and/or review citation format and relevant reference usage skills appropriate for your students’ age group and experience. For younger students, this will likely be in your chosen format for report references. For older students, you may with to refer to MLA or APA format guides (available from bookstores or online at or ).
  • Provide reference materials for students’ use if appropriate.
  • Give students the seasonal Trivia Scavenger Hunt.
  • Remind students that each answer needs to be attributed and cited within your guidelines.
  • Set a time limit for completing the activity.
  • Allow students to research to find answers in allowable sources and to cite their sources correctly.


Completed Scavenger Hunt activities will contain answers to the trivia questions and citations of sources. Evaluate student performance based on use of permissible resources and format, completeness and correctness of citations.

This post is part of the series: Year-Round Holiday Learning

The calendar is full of ammunition for creative and motivating lessons and learning activities. From the popular to the amusing to the downright bizarre, you can find a reason to celebrate nearly any day of the year in your class. Tap into holiday energy with these ideas.
  1. Teaching Elementary School: Harness Holiday Energy for Learning
  2. Activities for Your Classroom on Make a Difference Day
  3. Teach Research Skills and Correct Citation
  4. Kindergarten Activity: Holiday Countdown Chain at Circle Time For Christmas