How to set up an amazing science treasure hunt to learn about maps

Learn about maps as you create a treasure hunt with a scientific twist for your kids.

Maps. Maps are everywhere. And maps can lead you where you want to go.

Science. Science is everywhere. And science can lead you where you want to go.

That is if you set up an amazing science treasure hunt!

Today, we are introducing you all to one of our local experts from our geology leg as we share about maps. Then, we are going to help you all create an amazing science treasure hunt to help your kids use and learn about maps!

To explain what a map is, we need to bring in our geological expert, Catfish Carlstan.

Let’s dig in . . .

What are maps?

Well, hello there, folks . . . Catfish here to share a bit about maps.

Maps and knowing how to read ‘em saved my brother’s life, so I understand just how important they are.

Maps give a picture of an area or a region. In the early days, when people had not explored all the regions of our globe, they would fill in the blank parts of their map with ideas from their imagination, nowadays we have much more precise maps.

There are many different types of maps, but the three most common are:

  • Political – These maps show the countries, states, and important cities.
  • Physical – These maps show the natural features of an area.
  • Thematic – These maps show different types of information, such as the train routes in an area or the plants that grow in a region.

Maps typically have a few clues to help us read them:

  1. The compass rose, which tells you which way north, east, south, and west are on the map.
  2. And the legend, which explains what the various symbols and lines on the map mean.

Your map might also have lines that create a grid. These are known as the longitude and latitude lines and we can use these to navigate. And that’s exactly what the twins and I did when we searched for . . .

Sorry folks, we have to cut Catfish short here as we don’t want him to reveal too much about our geology leg.

Let’s switch gears and talk about that science treasure hunt!

Learn about maps with a science treasure hunt

Every good treasure hunt needs a map and several clues, but we want to help you ramp up the science fun with these two ideas!

#1 – Use invisible ink to make your map.

After you plan out your treasure hunt, create the map with invisible ink. This baking soda version doesn’t require any fire to reveal this message, which is a good thing.

Your students will have to use science to begin the treasure hunt, which will make it tons more fun!

#2 – Give natural clues with compass directions.

Now that your students have revealed the treasure map, give them clues with a scientific twist. For example:

“Head towards the tree in the northeast quadrant of the map that releases acorns each summer. Look for a hole in the skin of the tree to find your next clue.”

These types of clues make your kids use the science they know and the compass on the map to find the oak tree and look for a hole in the bark to keep hunting their treasure.

Wrapping it up

Well, that’s just two ideas we have for adding science to your map lessons!  You can also have a scientific treasure, like a palm-sized microscope or a spy kit, at the end of the hunt to keep the science-learning going.

Either way, your kids will have a blast learning about maps with a scientific twist!

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