Data Scavenger Hunt

The page describes how to create a data scavenger hunt using a portable data recorder with sensors and other devices.


Data recorder:

  • Arduino Uno
  • Grove shield
  • GSM shield
  • battery pack
  • Grove cables
  • Grove devices:
    • temperature and humidity sensor (DHT22)
    • color sensor
    • sound sensor
    • accelerometer
    • sonar sensor
    • digital light sensor
    • potentiometer/knob
    • GPS device
    • OLED display
    • RF receiver

Signal beacon:

  • Arduino Uno
  • Grove shield
  • battery pack
  • RF transmitter

The signal beacon is a stand-alone device that transmits a signal or message that can be discovered and recorded by game players. A game can use multiple signal beacons.


  1. Prepare the hardware according to the portable data recorder documentation.
  2. Use the data flow editor to create a data flow for the sensors. Generate a sketch from the data flow.
  3. Use Arduino programmer to send the generated sketch to your Arduino.
  4. Create instructions and data rules for the hunt (see example below).
    • What physical conditions can you measure in your neighborhood?
    • How do the measurements change from one location to another?
    • How do they change from one time or day to another?
    • What geometry do you see on a map of your neighborhood?
  5. Use the manylabs lesson editor to create a page that checks a data set using the data rules. We've linked to an example below.

Doing a Data Scavenger Hunt

These instructions assume that you have created a rule checker page (step 5 above).

  1. Turn on the Arduino and verify that it is connected to the GSM network.
  2. Load the rule checker page on a mobile device. Select your data set.
  3. Follow the hunt instructions (see example below). Refer to the rule checker page to see your progress.

Example Instructions

  1. Start at 23rd and Mission. You can buy fish within 100 meters. Go inside and make a measurement.
  2. Go to the restaurant across the street from the fish shop. There's a clock behind the counter. Make a measurement when the minute hand is pointing at a number.
  3. Walk one block north and wait on the corner for a truck to pass. Make a measurement as the truck passes.
  4. Walk west then turn south when you see the pasta shop. Make a measurement while running past the pasta shop.
  5. Make a measurement that forms an equilateral triangle with the meat/fish shop and pasta shop.
  6. Count the faces on the north wall of the school. Use the knob to enter this number.
  7. Walk east until you see a signal from the beacon. Make a measurement.
  8. Nearby is a mural with the ice cream vendor. Make a measurement of the color of his jacket. (Be sure to turn on the sensor's light and hold it directly against the wall.)
  9. Use the sonar sensor to make a measurement of the distance from the mural to the street.

Example Data Rules

These rules correspond to the instructions above:

  1. Temperature below 22 degrees Celsius, light level is below 50, and GPS coordinates are south of 23rd Street.
  2. Timestamp minute is near a multiple of 5.
  3. Sound level above 20 and GPS coordinates are north of 23rd Street.
  4. Filtered acceleration is above 1.5.
  5. GPS coordinates form an equilateral triangle with the coordinates from measurement 1 and measurement 4.
  6. Count is 29.
  7. Beacon signal is between 10 and 20.
  8. Color sensor values are close to the following values:
    • Red: 33
    • Green: 50
    • Blue: 29
  9. Sonar value is close to 2 meters.

Example Data Set And Rule Page

Here's a data set we've gathered using the goals above. Here's an example rule page that checks the data set to see if we've completed all the goals.