Writing Activites

Drawing a Treasure Map

As a treasure hunter, you will have to draw maps of the location of each discovery you make. If you find a coin in a farmer's field one day, you may want to return another day to look for more. The coin, after all, could be part of a cache. To practice map-making skills, use your school playground or backyard. Follow these directions:

1. Put a coin or another small object somewhere on the site you've chosen. It should be hidden from sight, even if it is only placed in the grass.

2. Draw the site area on a sheet of paper. Make sure you indicate any important landmarks. For example, if you're using a playground, show where the swings or other playground equipment is. Then mark the treasure with an X.

3. Indicate distances from the landmarks to the treasure. Since you won't always have a tape measure, rely on your own two feet and count off paces. Place one foot carefully in front of the other and walk from each landmark to the treasure. Write the number of paces on the map.

4. Write directions for finding the treasure. You must be very specific in telling others where to start. For example, you cannot write: "Start at the swings and walk 20 paces north." The swingset may have six swings, so you'll need to direct the person to start from a specific place: "Start at the swingset pole nearest the school building." What's more, telling the person to "walk north" is not specific enough. You might say: "Walk 20 paces in a straight line toward the leftmost window of Mrs. Connor's third grade classroom." Altogether, then, your directions will be quite long: "Start at the swingset pole nearest the school building and walk 20 paces in a straight line toward the leftmost window of Mrs. Connor's third grade classroom."

5. Give the map to a friend or family member and ask them to find the treasure. This person should follow your directions. If you've drawn a good map and written clear directions, the person should be able to locate the treasure. If not, go back to the drawing board and try again.


Copyright © James M. Deem. Taken from How to Hunt Buried Treasure (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993). All rights reserved.