This lesson uses email to communicate pieces of a treasure map among groups of "relatives" who can inherit the treasure when the map is completed. Students work in groups following the instructions of the map and learning the skills and etiquette of electronic communications.

These lessons are designed so that the trainer can use whatever format is good for the group whether it is one lesson or a combination of two or more. It is recommended that participants are provided with copies of the lessons to use as reference materials.


Five hundred years ago, your fifth generation great-grandfather, Cabeza de Vaca, bestowed upon your family a portion of a map. Your grandfather recently passed this map to you. The executor of his will has told you that there are other far-flung members of your family who possess the other portions of the map. It has been discovered that the map leads to the location of a buried family treasure of untold wealth.

Cabeza de Vaca wanted to ensure that all descendants have an equal share of the wealth. The Claims Office has an original copy locked in a vault. However, in order to prevent fraud ,each family member must present a complete map. This map must match the original map and be presented to the Claims Office no later than 3:00 p.m. today. The only means of communication with your distant family is by email. If any of the descendants fail to present the complete map, no treasure can be claimed by any family member. Using the resources in this activity, complete the map and find the treasure. Good luck!





  1. Contact the district before training date to find out which email program is available.
  2. Make sure that there are email accounts for everyone.
  3. IMPORTANT: When distributing packets to participants, make sure to give only copies of the map that are assigned to each group.
      Group 1 would receive only page A.
      Group 2 would receive only page B.
      And so on.




  1. Review Email vocabulary.
  2. Demonstrate how to open an email program, retrieve email, compose a message, reply to a message, and forward a message
  3. Discuss Netiquette.
  4. Have participants interview another participant who is outside of their school districts via email.
  5. Read the Introduction to the group.
  6. Pass out a portion of the map to each group.
  7. Groups should begin email inquiries to complete their maps. They provide a detailed description of their maps to other groups. This email must be text-based and descriptive in nature.
  8. The missing parts of the map need to be drawn on the graph. Precise information is critical.
  9. Have participants post their completed maps on the wall.


  1. You can have participant's share their work after each segment or share one thing they are proud of at the end of the day.
  2. Another idea would be for them to post their best work from today on the egroup list if you have set one up.



Upon successful completion of this unit, the learner will:

Grade Levels

This unit is appropriate for elementary age students. This is an interdisciplinary unit involving skills of composition, geography, reading, and research. Basic computer skills would be helpful, but are not necessary.

Downloading and Printing Files

These pages can be downloaded to your computer as files. Files can then be opened and printed. You can choose from two file formats:

Microsoft document format opens the files in Microsoft Word. You can make changes in the pages before printing them.

Acrobat Reader or Portable Document Format (pdf) opens the files in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Pages cannot be edited in this format. However, .pdf files are less likely to be distorted. Pages that contain graphics or large images look better in .pdf and print very nicely. For your convenience, Acrobat Reader can be accessed from this page.

Microsoft Word (.doc)

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Acrobat Reader (.pdf)

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About Acrobat Reader

Files in the .pdf format can be read using Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is a free software. You can download and install it by clicking on the link below.

GO TO: Acrobat Reader Download Page

Content Standards