Monday, 25 March 2013

Middle School Math Projects - Treasure Island

This project came to me while trying to cover a few topics at the same time near the end of the year.  Angles, probablity, measurement and I fit in ratios as well.  This project has been borrowed by quite a few people and adapted in many different ways.  The idea is that the student are pirates and need to bury their treasure.  The must make a treasure map and give directions on where the treasure is buried.  There are many things you can do with it.  Here is my original criteria sheet that I handed out to students.  The possibilites of what can be done here are endless.

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Treasure Island

You are going to be creating a Treasure Map for a special treasure that you have buried on the Isle of Pi.  You want to leave a map for your great great grandchildren and you want to make the directions extremely clear.

 
Math

§  You must transfer the Isle of Pi onto the large paper at a 2:1 ratio by using the grid technique

§  You must have directions that include 2 acute angles, 2 obtuse angles and two reflex angles.  The path the treasure hunter would take must be drawn on the good copy of your map.

§  You must create two games or puzzles of chance that would have to be completed so that the treasure hunter could continue along your directions. 

o   One game must be at least a 1 in 6 chance.

o   One game must be at least a 1 in 36 chance.

§  You must give written directions that include the games of chance and the angles at which a treasure hunter would turn.

§  The places where your games take place must be some sort of natural geometric shape that you name.
 

Design and Creativity

 
§  Your island must have natural geographical obstacles that have creative names. (eg. Mount Isosceles).

§  All drawings must be neat and colourful.

§ Think of any extras that will make the design of your map stand out.


 
 
I originally gave the students a map of an island and all students worked with it but here are some adaptations that could be made:
  • Students make there own island and design it with different elements of an island
  • Take an overhead view of your school or a park and have the students actually plant a treasure there.  Have the students make the directions and puzzles for the school site and then challenge others to find it.
  • Use non-standard units of measurement for the students by writing the directions like twelve paces or give something with the directions to use as a measuring tool.  A trundle wheel could also be used if you want standard measures.

The originality of the designs students come up with is amazing and they had a lot of fun with this project.  I did this one about 5 or 6 years ago and enjoyed it but kind of forgot about it until another teacher in my school told me he was doing it.  I had a student teacher at the time so I went up to his room to see how the students were doing with it and was amazed at what was produced.  In me current job I am going to try (probably next year) having the students create this on school site so that we could have a day or two of treasure hunting.