Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt


This activity introduces the different categories of the built environment to students in the context of their neighborhood. Through a scavenger hunt, they will independently, or in small groups, gather evidence from exploring their own community.  It is recommended to assign the scavenger hunt as an ongoing activity to be done outside of class time. 


Download the entire Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt Lesson Plan.

Core Question

How does the shape that we give to our city, in turn, shape us?
Supporting Question: What makes a community functional, healthy, and beautiful?

Learning Objectives

I can explain the term “built environment,” and the different categories that go with it. 
I can find evidence of the built environment categories in my neighborhood.

Supporting Text

Excerpt from Shaping the Healthy Community: The Nashville Plan: “The Transect” chapter (pgs. 40 - 52)


Built environment - The aspect of the environment that’s made by humans. This includes buildings, roads, sidewalks and any other infrastructure.


“Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt” handout
Students will need cameras

Timing Recommendation

Launch: 10 min


In class: 30
Out of class: minimum of two weeks
Closing:10 min
Total class time: 50 min



  • Directions ready for display.


  • Handouts: “Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt”

  • Determine a way for students to document their evidence. Some recommended methods are either a social media page, poster (this would require photo printing), or a Powerpoint presentation


  • Questions ready for display.



This launch activates student’s thinking about what makes a neighborhood.

  • Introduce the term “built environment,” and ask students to brainstorm what they believe makes up the built environment in their neighborhood. For example, streets, buildings, trees, etc.

  • Compare the student’s list to the categories on the “Built Environment Scavenger Hunt,” and explain that they will be looking for these parts of their own neighborhood in order to understand how communities are designed.


Complete the scavenger hunt to find evidence of neighborhood design.

  • Introduction: Introduce the scavenger hunt categories and directions, and clarify any vocabulary the students aren’t familiar with.

  • Evidence documentation: Explain to students how they should document their evidence. See below for some recommended methods:

  • Social media page - Create a class Facebook, Instagram, Smugmug, etc., page for them to post picture evidence.

  • Poster

  • PowerPoint presentation

  • Presentations: Allow some class time to look at student’s posts or presentations after the scavenger hunt is finished.


Reflection/Discussion Question: 

  1. What parts of the scavenger hunt were east to find? Why?

  2. What parts of the scavenger hunt were hard to find? Why?

  3. What categories of the scavenger hunt are working well in your neighborhood?

  4. What categories of the scavenger hunt need the most improvement in your neighborhood?