Treasure Hunters

By Lee Sappingfield, September 6, 2006

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Graphic Design

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

Lesson Time

Two fifty-minute class periods


This lesson will enhance students' non-verbal communication skills, while introducing them to mapping. Students will participate in map designing and map reading to embark on a "design" treasure hunt on the school campus. Upon finding their treasures (design vocabulary words), students will follow instructions to create a user name on the Environmental Design website, where they will post the architectural or design vocabulary word they will be directed to look up on the web.

National Standards

Visual Arts
Standard 6. Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines.
 English Language Arts
Standard 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, and vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
Standard 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, and video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
Social Studies
III. People, Places, and Environments
a. construct and use mental maps of locales, regions, and the world that demonstrate understanding of relative location, direction, size, and shape c. use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools such as atlases, data bases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps to generate, manipulate, and interpret information d. estimate distances and calculate scale
Standard 1. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer hardware and operating systems Standard 2. Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs Standard 3. Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual

Common Core Standards

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


Students will:

  • enhance their non-verbal communication skills, by designing a treasure map that will be interpreted by a fellow student
  • increase their vocabulary, by researching design and architectural terms
  • increase their mapping skills, which they will use to create and read maps
  • increase their technology skills by following written instructions, in order to create a user account to comment to the OE ENVD discussion site



  • 17"X22" Manila paper
  • markers
  • crayons and pencils
  • envelopes


Blog/discussion page, specific architecture & design terms, maps, legends, compass, landmarks


  • Students will be divided into two groups.
  • Students will look at various maps on the web, to see what important traits are found on maps, such as a legend, compass, color, landmarks, etc.
  • Each group will take a tour of three separate sites of the school where hidden treasures (design and architecture vocabulary words) are placed. Students will take notes and make drawings in order to help them create a map from their classroom to that location. Tell students to keep in mind that another student will have to follow their map in order to find the treasures.
  • When students get back in the classroom, they will be given a piece of 17"X22" manila paper, markers, crayons, and pencils. Using their notes and sketches, students will create a detailed colored map to the three treasure sites.
  • Teachers will randomly exchange maps between the two groups.
  • Each individual will need to follow the map created by a fellow student, collecting the treasures and following the instructions written on each treasure.
  • The instructions will tell students to go back to the classroom, log on to the computer and sign up on the Environmental Design Discussion Page. The treasures will tell students to look up a specific architecture or design vocabulary word using the Internet. They will then post their vocabulary word on the discussion page, creating a classroom vocabulary list.


Using a rubric, discuss with students whether or not they met the criteria set. Students will evaluate their own map, as well as the map they had to follow to find the treasures. Each map will have to contain a compass, landmarks, and any other features required by the teacher. Each student should be familiar with their vocabulary words, along with those of their classmates.

Enrichment Extension Activities

Use this assignment as a bouncing board for future technology lessons using the computer, internet dictionary, and discussion/blog sites. This introductory lesson to design and architecture can also be followed by more in-depth lesson plans focusing on design.

Teacher Reflection

This lesson can be adjusted according to the students' knowledge of the computer and Internet, as well as the students' level and prior experience with mapping.

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