Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Treasure hunt on Treasure Island

We wanted to finish the unit on navigation with something memorable, and decided on a treasure hunt on Treasure Island.

Caterina found wooden wine boxes at an arts supply store. We worked through the night converting them into treasure chests and filled them with beads, bones, art supplies, glass eyes, and of course coins.

We decided to associate each child with a historical pirate, and chose "Calico Jack" Rackham and his crew, which included the female pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny.

I drew treasure maps, aged them with coffee overnight, and drove to Treasure Island at dawn to bury the chests on a deserted beach near the Marina.

The night before we had told the children a story about the crew of Rackham's ship The Kingston. In the morning each child found a map waiting at the breakfast table, presumably drawn by the pirates themselves.

Dressed appropriately as sailors we chartered a boat from Pier 1½  to Treasure Island Marina. Luckily it was a beautiful day! With the help of their maps and a metal detector (and after a decent bit of shoveling) the children all found their Jolly Roger-inscribed chests.

The rest of the morning sailed by picnicking and playing in the shallow water. When it was time to go, we all wanted to stay.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Navigation: maps and signs

We have been learning about navigating around the world, a subject close to my heart (as the founder of Findery). Jyri has come up with a dozen creative ways of teaching navigation. The first project he created, was asking the kids to draw a map of the house, all the different rooms, and draw their own bedrooms and our school room. Then they decided to make a treasure hunt inside the house. First they painted some rocks gold, then made maps of the house. They wrote instructions ("Look under the table" "Go into the kitchen") and invited people to find their treasure using their map and instructions. The next day, Jyri went to the park and drew all of the signs he found in and around the park. He photocopied them and put them on clipboards, and all the children went to the park to look for the signs. They crossed them all off as they found them.
And the following day was the Epic Treasure Hunt on Treasure Island. More about that later.