Some of you might be thinking to yourself, wait a minute, this is an old post. Well, you’re half right. I did a program similar to this one back in December, which you can read about here and here. But I did a second 39 Clues Scavenger Hunt back in June, and since the first one is being viewed so many times (it’s one of my top five posts), I figured there must be a demand for 39 Clues themed programs.

The program was set up similar to the first one in format. Author Jude Watson was gracious enough to donate her time for a Skype interview, which I again arranged through Scholastic books. Scholastic also donated several copies of her book, which we were able to give away as prizes for the scavenger hunt winners.

We started the evening with a discussion with Jude Watson, where she talked about writing for the series and how she joined the project. She also showed us some really cool art work on her wall while her husband made dinner in the background.

After the interview, I divided the kids into six groups of five. The groups rotated amongst various stations.
Station #1: Scavenger Hunt — Kids were given the first clue, and then sent into the library to find the remaining clues. While last time I provided different clues for every group, this time I gave each group the same questions to make it fair. I then timed the groups, and the group that came back the fastest was awarded the books. The questions (with answers) were as follows:

  • The last book in the series is titled Into the Gauntlet. One definition for a gauntlet is a protective glove used as a form of armor. Where would you find the book ARMS AND ARMOR? Eyewitness book Arms and Armor by Michele Byam
  • Dan has a photographic memory, which comes in handy throughout the trip. Go to where kids can browse through photos of sports, animals, people, and other things with a spin of the wrist. (We have a library feature where kids can browse through photographs of these items)
  • The numbers on the cover of the last book point to longitude and latitude coordinates. Find a book that talks about what these measurements mean. Any book will work that discusses longitude and latitude, found in the 912s at my library.
  • In the most recent book, Dan and Amy follow the path of Anne Bonny, a female pirate. Find the book which talks about other DARING PIRATE WOMEN. Book by that title by Anne Wallace Sharp
  • AVAST! There is a ship in the library that some people might mistake for a pirate ship but actually fought in the Revolutionary War. Again, a feature unique to our library, a model ship was donated to the library which we have on display in a glass container on top of a shelf.
  • Set a course for the Auditorium, to turn in all of your clues!

Station #2: Maze of Bones.
Using masking tape and yardsticks, I plotted out a maze grid about 8 foot by 5 foot. Kids in each group paired off. Each child took turns being blind-folded and then being directed through the maze by their partner. Originally they were also being timed, and the fastest team was supposed to get some donated card packs. However, we ran late and not everyone had a chance at the maze, so I cut out the whole prize aspect rather than being accused of not being fair.

Station #3: Island Hopping
I got this idea from the book In Too Deep by Jude Watson, where Amy and Dan escape volcanic islands. Using masking tape (it’s your friend, because it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the carpet or tile), mark off two lines about ten feet apart from each other. Each kid is given a picture of an island. The goal is for the entire team to get from one tape line to the other. The first catch: they can only step on the islands, otherwise they’ll be burned by the volcanic lava. The second catch: if an island cut-out is not in contact with a kid, then it gets swept away by the lava. For instance, if John lays down his island picture and lets go with his hand before his foot is on it, then he looses the island. If Cathy is following John, and John picks up his foot before Cathy puts her foot on an island, then it gets swept away. I had a teen volunteer supervise this one, snatching up islands that the kids let go. This station was a favorite with the boys as they tried to jump the lava in leaps and bounds, literally. Give this station lots of extra room!

Station #4: Hieroglyphics
You can get blank cartouches (the Egyptian equivalent of a name tag) off the Internet and print them out. Also available online is the hieroglyphic alphabet. Have the kids make their own cartouches.

Station #5: Morse Code
I printed off information about the Morse Code, including an alphabet sheet. Kids were challenged to type out a message and see if their partner could translate it. Not the best activity for a crowded and very loud auditorium. However, my initial idea of invisible writing with lemon juice was put to bed when one of my volunteers cancelled on me at the last-minute. If you have the man power, I would suggest doing the lemon juice writing instead, and providing groups with trivia questions that they need to reveal and answer. Lemon juice is invisible until heated by holding the paper to a light bulb.

Station #6: Braille
PBS Kids has a really great website  about Braille centered around Arthur and his blind friend. While some of the activities I thought were a little young for these clue hunters, I did print out the alphabet and translations. I then borrowed some braille books and their print counterparts for the kids to look at and compare. Any Harry Potter title makes a big impression, as they have to be printed in Braille in numerous volumes. I also provided pencils and Braille grids so the children could experiment with making their own Braille.

One word of caution if you’re planning on duplicating this program¬†is try to alternate the “active” and “inactive” stations. If you’ll notice, after they finished the first three stations, groups did a lot of sitting, which the boys had a hard time coping with. Most of the girls seemed okay with the arrangement.

Has anyone else tried programming for the 39 Clues series, and if so what have you done for your die-hard fans?

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