EMC² Blog

Traps & Treasures Are Super Tricky Fun

Trick or treat! Well ok, not really. But the EMC² Traps & Treasures pedagogy is one clever disguise for some serious learning! And it’s an amazing way to get students fired up to do some detail-oriented work in collecting as many look-for items as they can.

Remember that feeling of going door to door to get all that sweet candy, candy, candy when you were a kid on Halloween night? And remember the unbridled joy you felt when you stumbled upon that ONE house on the block who always gave out *THE. BEST* dollar bars? (You know the ones!)

The thrill of the chase! The sweet taste of victory! And the crushing agony of defeat when you happen upon a house that’s decided to give out something super gross like mini bags of peanuts or (shudder) black licorice. Yuck! 

That’s the same playful spirit we’ve set out to capture with Traps & Treasures. The goal of this instructional activity is for competing teams to scour a common data set or text in search of as many examples of (thing x, y, and/or a) as they can find before time expires. Traps & Treasures turns any ho-hum jigsaw into a spirited team against team adventure to collect a series of long lost artifacts. Find the forgotten treasures but watch out for traps! This eagle-eyed attention to detail makes it a great tee-up for something like a class-wide debate, Fishbowl Discussion, or Socratic Seminar. And the perfect trick to add to your teacher toolbox that can transform what might otherwise have been a low-energy close reading activity into a pulse-pounding, game-like experience. Self guided and 100% powered by student choice, it’s a SUPER low prep instructional approach that uses the Endowed Progress effect in conjunction with a splash of team based competition to deliver some serious student engagement! 

Infinitely adaptable whether you’re paying close attention to a massive data set in science class, a common database in history, or a shared text in a humanities course — Traps & Treasures is the perfect mid-unit activity to get EVERY student in the game with minimal teacher prep. Best of all: we’re adding new themes and variants to the site every week! And all you’ll need to put this powerful pedagogy in play in your classroom is the printable activity template and instructions! Colorful, collectible, and easily adapted for ANY close reading activity your curriculum might have in store.

Because let’s be honest here — nobody *really* likes black licorice, right?

We hope you’ll consider joining us as a member of our EMC² Engagement Engineer community to access this resource and countless othersGive a click to this link for details and we’ll see you inside!

"This site is a total game changer for both me and my students! Thanks for all the ways you level up my learning and classroom."
Carol McLaughlin
1-8 Teacher

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