Email is an important part of electronic communication. In this lesson, students will become familiar with different functions of email. Working in groups, students send and receive email instructions in order to solve a mathematical problems as they rennovate an old castle.


Email is an important part of electronic communication. In this lesson, students will become familiar with different functions of email. In a challenge set forth by the Princess, groups of students send and receive email calculations in order to solve mathematical problems as they renovate an old castle in hopes of achieving knighthood.

The students scenario states:

As a resident of this old castle, your dream is to be a knight--to march on the fields of battle for Princess Reta. However, your current assignment is in the Castle Maintenance Department (CMD). The department is buzzing over the latest proclamation by Princess Reta:

"Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Spring Spruce Up is coming! All inhabitants of This Old Castle are hereby notified that the annual Spring Spruce Up will begin immediately! This year's major projects will be to paint the outside walls of the castle and its towers, put new roofing on the towers, and install a cooling system."

It seems that money is especially tight this year and Princess Reta has requested refurbishing estimates. Lord Tech, Duke of Education, who is in charge of CMD, is aware that particular staff members are awaiting an opportunity to prove themselves worthy of knighthood. Thus, he has put forth a proposal to his workers:

"I have a cousin who owns a hardware store and has offered to sell Princess Reta supplies at cost, but he needs to know the exact amount of supplies that are required. In order to do this, measurements of the castle will need to be calculated. You will each be supplied with the most recent diagram of This Old Castle. The only other information known is that the doors and windows of the castle amount to 12% of the total wall area and one gallon of paint will cover 550 square feet. You will need to search the records storage vault to find the information needed to accomplish this task. The first person who determines the necessary calculations will be granted knighthood!"

Student Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit, the learner will:





  1. Have several children's puzzles (large sturdy pieces) ready to distribute for the first activity.
  2. Download the handouts and print them out prior to the workshop. Make copies for students.
  3. Print out a copy of the solution.
  4. Review the activity carefully to find what might be "problem areas." Prepare hints that might be needed.
  5. Review the different email tutorials in order to find one that fits your needs.


  1. Remove all edges from a puzzle. Give each student a piece of any cardboard or paper puzzle. Ask them to assemble the puzzle.
  2. Ask puzzling questions. What kind of communication was necessary to complete the puzzle? Did spokespersons or a leader emerge? How did you organize yourselves or did you? Would have it been easier to complete the puzzle if you had known each other? Would it have helped to see a picture of the puzzle? How do you solve a problem with a group? How do you moderate that much information? How is each piece important to the finished puzzle? Could pieces be left out?
  3. Demonstrate:
    • Folders in the in-box of email
    • Address book
    • Creating distribution lists
    • Signature
    • Forward
    • Reply
    • Saving to folders
  4. Have participants work through an email tutorial from the Resources list.
  5. Introduce the activity "This Old Castle."
  6. Arrange students in groups of five. Assign each group a Knight number (e.g. Knight 1) and distribute handouts. Write each group's email address on the board for all groups to see.
  7. Have the groups work on calculations. Remind them that they can only communicate with designated Knights.
  8. When each group has a final solution for the problem, have them send ONLY their answers to all groups using a distribution list.
  9. Have them figure out which group came up with the correct answer and how they accomplished this by communicating through email.


See Rubric for This Old Castle.

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NM Content Standards