Group Size: Small Groups


Summary: The purpose of this activity is to give students the opportunity
to use order of operations equations in a fun, engaging environment.
During this activity, students will have the opportunity to work
collaboratively as they create a treasure map and clues that are based
on order of operation equations of their own design.
Materials: Invitation to Learn
Invitation to LearnInstructional Procedures
Additional Resources
Books
Treasure Hunters The Usborne Book of Treasure Hunting (Prospecting and Treasure
Hunting), by Anna Claybourne, Caroline Young, Judy Tatchell, and Jenny Tyler; ISBN
0746034458
Treasure Map (MathStart 3), by Stuart J. Murphy; ISBN 0064467384
100 Puzzles, Clues, Maps, Tantalizing Tales, and Stories of Real Treasure, by Michael
Stadther; ISBN 0976061813
Attachments
Background For Teachers: The purpose of this activity is to give students the opportunity
to use order of operations equations in a fun, engaging environment.
During this activity, students will have the opportunity to work
collaboratively as they create a treasure map and clues that are based
on order of operation equations of their own design. Due to the nature
of this activity, you may want to have some parents or other volunteers
assist you. This activity may be done in one day or it may be broken
up over a few days, whatever is most efficient for the teacher.
Before teaching this lesson, students must be familiar with
the correct order of steps when performing order of operation
problems. For these activities, we are going to focus on creating
order of operations problems that deal with addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division. Students need to be familiar with basic
multiplication and division facts and need to be taught how to use
parentheses in order of operations equations.
This activity is going to require students to work in a small group
setting. If students haven't had many experiences working in small
groups, take the time to establish expectations about proper behavior.
Many teachers like to assign group responsibilities such as group
leader, scribe, material manager, and so forth when working in small
groups. In this activity, the students are going to have the roles of
Map Maker, Interpreter, Guide, and Captain. The Map Maker will be
responsible for drawing the treasure map, the Interpreter will write down the clues, the Guide will be responsible for getting materials, and
the Captain will be responsible for keeping the group on task. This
will give each student the opportunity to actively participate in the
group.
As I tried this activity in my classroom, I found that students
wanted to use a lot of numbers for each problem. The students need
to start with simple problems that deal with addition or subtraction
and then work their way towards more difficult problems that include
parentheses, multiplication, and division. I would limit the amount
of numbers for each problem to less than 6 numbers for the more
difficult problems.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
2. Become effective problem solvers by selecting appropriate methods,
employing a variety of strategies, and exploring alternative approaches to
solve problems.
4. Communicate mathematical ideas and arguments coherently to peers,
teachers, and others using the precise language and notations of mathematics. Instructional Procedures: Invitation to Learn
This invitation to learn is simple. Ask the students what they
would do if they found hidden treasure. What would they buy,
where would they go, or who would they help? Have them write
their answers in their math journals. Discuss their answers as a
class.
Instructional Procedures
 Before starting this activity, draw a simple map of your
room on the board. Label important features such as the
door, windows, teacher’s desk, and whiteboards. Then hide
something in your room (it could be anything) and come
up with a series of clues or steps that the students need to
follow in order to find the object. These clues should focus
on students doing things a certain number of times, such as
“take 4 steps towards the front of the room” or “spin around
2 times and face the windows.” Write the clues on the board
next to the map but instead of writing “Take 5 paces north”
write “Take (4 x 3) + 2 – 9 paces north”. For your first
three clues, come up with order of operations problems that
tell how many times the students need to do something. On
the rest of your clues, leave a blank space where the order of
operations should go. The class will work in groups of 4 to
create their own order of operation problems that equal the
number in each clue.
 Begin this activity by placing the treasure chest in front of
the class. Ask the students, “Does anyone know what this
is?” Allow the students to answer and then ask, “Who can tell
me what a treasure box is?” or “What do you find inside of a
treasure chest?”
 Continue the class discussion by asking, “Where do you find
a treasure chest? Are they easy to find?” Allow the class to
continue answering and then ask, if it hasn't already been
brought up, “What do you usually need in order to find a
treasure chest? That’s right. You need a treasure map.” Hold
up the treasure map so that your students can see it.
 Then ask, “Do you need anything else besides a treasure map?
What kind of tools and clues would make finding the treasure
chest easier?”
 Then explain, “Today we are going to go on a quick treasure
hunt. However, instead of using the treasure map in my hands,
we are going to use the map I have drawn on the board.”
Pointing at the map and clues on the board say, “This is a map
of our classroom. I have hidden “treasure” somewhere in our
room and we need to use the map and clues in order to find it.”
 Divide your class into groups of 4 and assign each group
member one of the following roles: Map Maker, Interpreter,
Guide and Captain. Give them a few minutes to decide a team
name.
 Point at the board and say, “The treasure is hidden somewhere
in our room. Let’s look at our first clue to see if it can help us.”
Read the first clue to the class and then ask, “How is this clue
different from regular clues?” Help the students understand that
the order of operation problems need to be solved before we can
do what the clue tells us.
 Take this time to review the class mnemonic that you have
developed and to pass out a piece of lined paper and the order
of operations compass.
 Have the students solve the order of operation problem as a
group and then choose one student from the class to follow and
do what the clues say to do as the class solves them.
 Repeat this process for the next two clues.
 For your next clue say, “Notice that the next clue does not have
an order of operations problem or number listed. For the next
few clues, I am going to give you the number and you are going
to have to create your own order of operation problem that
equals that number.”
 Start the students out with simple problems that deal with
addition and subtraction. Give the students time to work on
their problems and then have them trade problems with a
different group.
 Repeat this same process with the rest of your clues until the
student finds your hidden “treasure”. Allow the students to use
multiplication and division to make the clues more difficult.
 Once you feel that the students are capable of writing order of
operation problems, they can start on their own treasure maps
and clues.
 As students are deciding where to hide their treasure, the
students should choose places that are not in classrooms or
in locations that will disturb other teachers or students. (If
you decide to do this activity in your school, talk to your
school administrator and inform him/her what is going to be
happening.)
 Say, “I am going to give you 5 minutes to decide where you
would like to hide your treasure. Captains make sure that your
group is back on time. Once you have decided, come back
to the classroom. As you come back into the classroom, the
Guides will get two pieces of lined paper, one for your treasure
map and the other for your clues.”
 When all of the students have found their spots, the next step is
to develop their clues and maps. Begin this process by saying,
“Now that you have found your spots, we now need to come
up with clues that will lead us to the treasure. Interpreters are
going to write the clues on one piece and Map Makers are going
to draw a rough draft of the treasure map on the other.”
 “Your clues should be simple but fun. You can hop, skip, walk
backwards, pace, and even army crawl towards the treasure.
For example, as you go towards the treasure you could have a
group ‘Hop 5 times down the hall’.”
 “As the Interpreter is writing down your clues, the Map Maker
needs to be drawing your treasure map. Make sure you
label important places on the maps such as rooms, stairs, or
playground equipment.”
 “Captains, you are responsible for taking care of your group.
When you get done with your clues and treasure map, come
back to the classroom. As you come into the classroom, Guides
need to get a piece of tan construction paper to draw your map
on.”
 When all of the students are back in the classroom and working
on their maps, say, “Let’s take a few minutes and talk about
your clues. Remember that we are going to be developing order
of operations problems for each clue. This will make each clue
more difficult and fun to follow.”
 Then say, “Everybody look at your first clue. As a group, I want
you to come up with an order of operations problem for your
first clue. Remember to use your order of operation compasses
and our classroom mnemonic to make sure that each problem is
solved correctly. Raise your hands when you have created your
first problem and I will come and check it.”
 Once you have checked the first clue say, “You are now going
to create order of operation problems for each of your clues.”
Have the students turn their papers in when they are done.
 Once the order of operation problems have been checked, pass
them back to each group. The group will then write the clues
on the back of their treasure maps.
 When the students are finished with their maps and clues, have
the group follow their own clues and map one more time. As
the students are trying it out, give the students “treasure” that
they can hide.
 The final part of this activity will be to trade the maps and clues
with other groups. The students will need to have a piece of
lined paper to solve the equations as they look for the treasure.
The students will only get to keep the treasure if they show the
other group their work and answers for each clue.
 End this activity by having the students reflect on the following
questions in their math journals. Write the following questions
on the board. “What did you learn from this activity?” “What
was the most difficult part of this activity?” “What was the
most enjoyable part of this activity” “Did this activity help you
understand order of operation problems? How?”
Extensions: Curriculum Extensions/Adaptations/
Integration
 Advanced learners can work with learners with special needs as
student tutors.
 Order of operation clues can be made more difficult.
 This activity can be adapted to meet the needs of learners with
special needs by simplifying the amount or difficulty of each
clue.
 This activity can be integrated into writing as students write a
fictional story about them finding a treasure map.
 Students can research the history of treasure maps.
 Find books and stories that deal with treasure maps.
Family Connections
 Students can make treasure maps of their room, yard, or home.
 Students can study maps with their parents and discuss how to
read them correctly.
 Invite parents into the classroom to help with this activity.
Assessment Plan:
 Collect and read the students’ math journals.
 As students are developing their order of operation problems,
informally assess if they are doing them correctly.
 Listen to student discussion during cooperative learning.
Bibliography: Research Basis
Millis, B.J. (2002). Enhancing learningand more! through cooperative learning. Idea Paper #
38. The Idea Center, 211 South Seth Child Road Manhattan.
In this article, Millis explains the power and effectiveness of
cooperative learning. Not only is cooperative learning an effective
teaching strategy, it “promotes a shared sense of community” in the
classroom because “learning, like living, is inherently social.” As
students learn to work together through cooperative learning, they
develop trust with each other and are given an opportunity to develop
selfefficacy. As teachers come to understand how to implement
cooperative learning, “student learning can be deepened, students will
enjoy attending classes, and they will come to respect and value the
contributions of their fellow classmates.”
Willis, J. (2007). Cooperative learning is a brain turnon. Middle School Journal. March pgs.
413
Judy Willis states in her article that research has shown that “in
math collaboration, students learn to test one another’s conjectures
and identify valid or invalid solutions.” This happens because
cooperative learning provides students with the most opportunities to
ask questions, express ideas and opinions, and come to conclusions
that they might not otherwise have through whole group instruction.
Teachers can increase student understanding and involvement by
increasing the amount of cooperative learning in their classrooms.
Author: Utah LessonPlans
Created Date : Jul 10 2008 12:24 PM
