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eTwinning on-line treasure hunts

2011  |  

Imagen_mapa_del_tesoroThey are called on-line treasure hunts and are activities where the different participants follow a series of clues and visit web sites or physical places with the aim of solving a series of puzzles. 





If the group of students manages to solve them they receive, in most cases, a symbolic reward. In the educational sphere this type of activity constitutes a useful strategy for the students to:

  • Collect information on a certain topic.
  •  Integrate knowledge and action and actively participate in their learning experience.
  •  Be encouraged to increase their reading skills.
  •  Develop digital skills for searching the Internet and selecting material.

It is simple to create a treasure hunt and basically consists in drawing up a document in the form of a questionnaire on a determined topic which is accompanied by a list of Internet addresses. The students' task is to answer the questions asked by selecting information and investigating the Internet links provided by the teacher, to end with a final summary of the activity. 

 Steps for creating a treasure hunt:

  • Select the contents, idea or concept we want to work on.
  • Look for links to Internet pages and resources which allow you to extend and reinforce the contents.
  •  Draw up a questionnaire which serves as a guide to the search for answers by the students. Add certain play elements to motivate them to do the exercise. 
  • Distribute a work sheet which the participants can use to develop the task. 
 It should include the following sections
  •  Introduction. The task is presented in an attractive way and general instructions are given as to how it should be done. It is very important to identify the topic, the work area and a time limit for completion. 
  •  Questions. We propose a series of questions which the students must answer and which will guide them as they develop the activity. As an alternative we can also include exercises like filling in the gaps, joining with arrows, and true and false. The wording of the questions should encourage the students to think about them in depth. 
  •  Resources. These consist of a list of Internet links selected beforehand by the teacher so that the attention of the students is not distracted and they focus their research on a determined body of information. We should try to always provide direct links to the information and a maximum of ten hyperlinks. 
  •  The big question. At the end of the task, we ask the students a final question the answer to which encompasses in some way all the previously studied topics and demands a certain amount of thought. This part is very useful for developing norms and attitudes (awareness, personal implications, etc.).
  •  Evaluation. This part explains what the teacher will evaluate at the end of the activity and how the evaluation will be carried out. The correction of the activity by the group is always very enriching followed by a final assessment by all the participants. 
  •  Credits. The students are given a list of resources (bibliographic, images, sounds, texts) which have not only been used by the teacher to develop the activity but which can also help the students to get a deeper knowledge of  certain contents in an autonomous manner. 

In our eTwinning training course we propose the following practical examples of treasure hunts. How about putting them into practice following the structure for treasure hunts described below? Have a go and send us your proposal to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   we will publish the most outstanding ones as a link from this article. 



Some historians claim that there is great treasure buried in the Cathar castle of Quéribus in southern France. One of these historians has charged a mixed group of Italian and Spanish students living in Italy and Spain respectively with locating this treasure. In short, the students are going to go to the site and have to plan the journey to the nearest town to the castle and the subsequent work in the walled area beforehand. 

The working languages for this mission will be decided on by the participants. 

At the end of the mission, the results will be published and disseminated and a Queribus Diary will be produced which briefly tells the story of how the work was carried out. 

In order for this mission to be a success (even though the treasure may not appear), think a little about the following questions: 

1. How are you going to communicate with your Italian partner to organize the students? What tool(s) are you going to use (email, chat, skype, forum...)? The Teachers' Room is a private and safe space which may be useful. 

2. What tool(s) are the students going to use to communicate among themselves and organize the expedition (blog, forum, chat, email...)? They have to look for information on the itinerary and the destination, on the Cathars and the sought for treasure, plan the means of transport, the clothes they are going to wear, agree on what equipment they are going to bring from each country ... The students' corner is a space dedicated to the students which may be very useful for them.

3. Will the student group have a student-administrator or will all the students be able to manage the contents and information? 

4. How and where will the stages of the journey and the day working in the castle be published? An image gallery, blog, wiki...? 

5. The information from the local inhabitants is very valuable. Are the students going to interview them? How are they going to use the local language? 



It is early morning on 21st December 2012. It has been discovered that a tremendous storm of small asteroids will begin to fall on the North Pole in a few hours. The area will be totally bombarded. Earthquakes are expected and it is even possible that some inhabited zones may fall victim to these meteorites. But this is not the greatest risk. The scientists claim that sea level is expected to rise considerably to up to 100 metres above its present level: the population has to be evacuated! The European governments decide to give this task to a group of secondary school students from Spain, Italy and Denmark. To be precise, this group of expert students has to draw up a report for all the European nations which includes *The map of Europe as it will be after the sea has risen. *A list of the towns of more than 500,000 inhabitants which must be evacuated. * An evacuation plan: where should we send the inhabitants of these towns? Which cities could receive them? * A list of the protected animal species which should also be evacuated to avoid their extinction, and where they should be sent. * A list of works of art (paintings, statues, etc.) which should also be evacuated. The questions we ask on the development of this example are:     

1. How could the working method be organized among our students and the Italian and Danish students? (groups, means of communication, etc. )

2. Plan a series of activities in the TwinSpace adapted to this project and the tools which would be included in each one. 

3. Could student-administrators be used? What tasks could they do? 

4. How is the report required by the European governments to be presented? (Try to include more than one answer to this question, showing the variety of tools which can be used in an eTwinning project).

5. Make a list of objectives which can be achieved by working on this project. Can you think of any idea to improve it? 


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