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How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information (NCGE Standard #1). National Council for Geographic Education http://www.ncge.org/publications/tutorial/standards/


  • knowledge of physical maps and their purposes
  • knowledge of compass rose, directions, map key, and symbols
  • locate boundaries and specific places
  • use measurement
  • work in cooperative groups
  • write directions clearly for others to follow
  • follow directions

Teacher Information:

Send kids on a treasure hunt in the school using a map with written directions modeled after the task described below. Teach preparatory lessons on maps and map symbols. Purchase the treasure (pens, pencils, erasers, etc.). Give the students the task and scoring guide and fully explain both. Prepare maps by drawing them to match the scale of the classroom. Also provide poster board cutouts (to scale) for furniture or other major features in the room. This will allow the students to put things in the proper places on the map without calculating proportions. Allow the students to work in cooperative groups to create maps and write directions. If the group finishes early, allow them to decorate a treasure box to hide. Finally, each group will hide their treasure, then give their map and directions to another group. All students in each group will share the treasure after they find it.


We have been learning about how to use different kinds of maps. Your skills will now be put to the test with a real treasure hunt. You will be given a treasure chest of school supplies from a generous donor. This donor said that the treasure was to be given to students with outstanding map skills.

Student Task:

You must choose a hiding place for the treasure in our classroom. With your group, you will create a map to lead other children to the treasure. The map must accurately represent our classroom. It must include a map key and symbols, a compass rose, and a title. You should write a list of instructions to lead others from the classroom door to the treasure.


  1. Read the scoring guide for the Treasure Hunt Performance Task.
  2. With your group, create a map of the classroom. Trace the poster board cutouts to make sure the furniture is the correct size. Be sure to include a map key of necessary symbols, a compass rose, and a title.
  3. Decide where to hide the treasure. Write directions that will lead another group from the classroom door to the treasure. The directions should refer to landmarks found on the map.
  4. If you finish early, decorate your treasure box.
  5. When all the groups are finished, you will have to work as a group to follow another groupís map to your treasure. Good luck!

Scoring Guide:

4 Map is complete and demonstrates strong understanding of map skills. All parts of the classroom are accurately placed on the map, and the symbols match the map key. All of the teacherís instructions are followed in using materials provided to create the product. Directions to the treasure are written clearly, using directions and compass rose. The product is neat, attractive, and easily read by others.
3 Students attempt to follow all directions, but map has some inaccuracies that indicate students do not fully understand how a map represents features of a real place. Product is neat and shows good effort.
2 Studentsí final product shows limited understanding of how a map represents features of a real place. The directions to the treasure are unclear and/or do not lead easily to the treasure. Product shows some effort.
1 Product is not fully completed and shows little understanding of the task and map skills. The map and directions do not lead to the treasure. Poor effort on studentsí part.
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