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DC Scavenger Hunt Yields New Knowledge and Skills

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
See the flickr gallery for more photos.

To an out-of-town tourist, it might have looked like the “Marymount March on the Mall,” when over 100 MU freshmen in Management 123 classes (a required course for business majors) gathered on the National Mall for the annual DC Scavenger Hunt. This first introduction to the capital city provides an innovative and fun way to learn about DC resources and cultural offerings, while also serving as a team-building and problem-solving experience.

The hunt sent students sleuthing in the museums lining the National Mall to find answers to clues. Their search sent them to some off-the-beaten track exhibits. The more obscure the clue, the higher the point value.  For example: Do you know the number of reams of paper that it takes to print out the letters in the human genome?  We’re not giving the answer; go find it at the Natural History Museum!

The list of tasks was overwhelming, but the teams of students devised ways to find as many answers as possible in a two-hour time span. They quickly went from wondering how to begin, to developing a strategy, and tapping into the experts – the museum guards – who were more than willing to help out!  When time was up, the students had not only logged a few miles, but also learned a lot about collaborative problem-solving.

The hunt also got their competitive juices flowing!  On the Metro ride back to Virginia, Jessica Klein, who is specializing in International Business, revealed her team’s strategy. She explained, “We got to the meeting point early, ahead of the other teams. Our strategy was to go for the higher-point clues, and we got six out of eight photo clues. Also, instead of waiting for the museums to open at 10 a.m., we first went to the gardens.” Her team avoided other teams by working on clues in a different order.

James Ryerson, dean of the School of Business Administration, added, “The scavenger hunt is a fun competition, but it works on many levels. It gives new students an opportunity to figure out how to attack and solve an issue through teamwork and strategy, while working on a deadline. These are  some of the basics of management.  In the process, the foundations of many new friendships are formed, and the students really get an insight into what DC has to offer!”