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Halloween Scavenger Hunt Helps Students Learn the Dewey Decimal System

 PRES students look for books during a library scavenger hunt

Fifth grade students at Pound Ridge Elementary School scurried around the library, sheets of paper in hand as they completed a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. 

“We’re doing a refresher on finding books in the library,” Library/Media Specialist Rina Baldo said.

Students learned about the Dewey Decimal System (which is still the most widely used book organization system) and used it to find Halloween-themed books. First, they used a chart to help figure out where titles like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Collected from American Folklore and Bats: Hunters of the Night might be shelved. Next, they did a worksheet where they had to figure out what was lurking in a haunted house by figuring out what subjects the Dewey Decimal numbers provided represent. There were cats, bats, skeletons, pirates and more.

Once students completed the scavenger hunts, they met as a group to go over their findings, paying special attention to more nuanced answers.

“Some of you thought Cinderhazel would be in 800 because it’s literature,” Baldo said. “But we learned it’s really in 300 because it’s a folk tale.”

Students found the refresher to be helpful.

“I understand it more now,” Jemma said.

“There are little sheets on the end of the shelves that help you know where the numbers are,” Summer added.

“Yeah and, before, I was wondering why they were there,” Jemma said.

The perfect pre-Halloween activity, the lesson played into the students’ festive mood while teaching them an important skill.

“It was really fun,” Abena said. “We got to roam around the library finding things!”