Treasure Hunt: Coordinate Graphing

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Mathematics, Algebra and Function, Data Analysis and Probability

Grade 1- 3


Students use a coordinate graph to complete the directions for a treasure map.



  1. Reproduce the treasure map and directions (pages 97 and 98) for students.
  2. You may wish to assign partners.
  1. Distribute the treasure maps and directions to students.
  2. Tell students to imagine that they are looking for a lost treasure. Explain that as they search they are drawing a map and writing the directions so they will remember how to get back to the treasure once they have found it. Point out that they must use the grid lines on the map to identify the coordinates for each landmark they see along the way.
  3. As students follow the directions, have them write the coordinates to identify the locations of the specified landmarks. Be sure students understand that they must move to the right for the first number and then up for the second number. If students have difficulty remembering this, use a highlighter to color the numbers at the bottom of the graph. Tell them to always start by moving along the highlighted numbers.
  4. Have students use markers or crayons to trace the route on their maps according to the directions.
  5. You may wish to create answer key cards for students to check themselves at the end of the activity.
Extension Activities:
  1. Have students use copies of a coordinate graph to create their own treasure maps and directions.
  2. Ask students to write a story that tells about the adventures they had while searching for the lost treasure.
  3. Encourage students to make treasure chests from cardboard boxes. Allow them to use a variety of objects, such as stones, marbles, beads, glitter, and confetti, to represent the treasure.
  4. Read to students about famous pirates such as Jean Laffite.
  5. Hide a "treasure chest" full of candy or other snacks somewhere in the classroom. Provide coordinate graphs of the classroom and directions for students. Invite students to use their graphs and directions to locate the treasure chest. After the treasure is located, allow students to enjoy the snacks.


  • treasure map and directions (pages 97 and 98)
  • pencils
  • markers or crayons

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