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Back to School #2: Library Treasure Hunt

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Lesson Overview:

Most school libraries change from year to year.  And, most students do not take time to look carefully at the complexity of the learning spaces around them.  In this Treasure Hunt challenge, get your kids moving and looking carefully at the library.  They will explore, make notes, and perhaps make a few sketches.  They will find out where the bathrooms are, saving you lots of time later.  And, they will learn where the emergency exit is, potentially saving precious seconds in an emergency.  Use this lesson to get your kids oriented to the physical facilities, and they will become more independent library users.

Lesson Plan:


To have the children move with confidence around the library physical facilities.  (Information Literacy Lesson: May tie to a Learning Continuum on the elements of Independence and Enthusiasm.  Independently moving around the library; enthusiasm when participating in the activity – kids love treasure hunts!)

Suggested Grades:


Suggested Time:

45 – 60 minutes

Success Criteria:

Children will be able to find each of twelve treasure hunt “stations” and return to the correct locations for story time, check-out, and quiet reading.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Welcome and review of last week’s lesson.  Today at check-out time we will use a browser card!  However, before we check-out, we need to become familiar with the layout of the library.  A few things might have changed from last year!  Watch carefully!  Introduce the idea of a treasure hunt and note that this is not a race, but a search to see who can find each of the important library landmarks.  You will be working with a partner for today’s treasure hunt.

2. Main:

Pass out Treasure Hunt game cards, clipboards, and pencils.   Instruct the children to find #1-#12 and draw a quick picture (Grade 1) or make a short note (Grade 2) of what they find there.  Emphasize that this is not a race and that the children should not run in the library!  “Please walk!”

3. Conclusion:

Review activity, what the kids found.  Have children report on their experiences.

  • Treasure Hunt game cards.  (See below for a sample handout.)
  • Large, printed numbers from #1-#12. (See attached handout)

Be sure to have at least one “trick” in the treasure hunt.

  • Example: Using a large sheet of paper, make a well-known city landmark such as a stadium, skyscraper, or river.  In Dubai we made a Metro Stop with the iconic blue train.  Place this landmark in a prominent place and tell the kids that there is one very tricky part on the hunt!

You will need to modify the treasure hunt to fit your particular library.  It is important that every treasure hunt include the bathrooms, circulation desk, and librarian desk so that the children know where to go for help.

I have included two sample treasure hunts:

  • The first is set up as a checklist and asks that the children check off numbers and write a few words. (See attachment)
  • The second is set up more for drawing/sketching answers. (See attachment)

Please select and adapt the format that is best suited for your students.

Key Terms:

Treasure Hunt, Libraries, Library Games

Treasure Hunt Large Printed Numbers

Treasure Hunt Template, Writing

Treasure Hunt Template, Drawing