Lesson Plans for "Treasure Island": There Be Treasure in These Parts!

Treasure Island lesson plans provide a treasure trove of possibilities for learning and adventure.

By Kristen Kindoll


Treasure Island Lesson Plans

"Ahoy there Matey, we're talking 'bout pirates, arghh!" This poor imitation of pirate speak indicates that no matter what age you are, learning about pirate lore can be fun. The influx of pirate entertainment and regalia is especially prevalent with the popularity of the movie series "Pirates of the Caribbean". Yet, the granddaddy of all pirate adventure stories is the classic novel "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson.

"Treasure Island" has unique characters, daring deeds, and of course, treasure. The novel is perfect for any gender, and especially for reluctant readers. There is nothing boring about a young boy finding a map which leads him towards a destiny of intrigue and grand exploits. The story starts out in England where a young boy named Jim Hawkins comes into possession of a treasure map. It is given to him by an old, drunk seaman named Billy Bones. The map takes Jim, and his collected comrades, across the ocean to an island. It is during the journey that certain individuals, namely Long John Silver, question Jim, and the reader, on matters of moral ambiguity.

Robert Louis Stevenson was only 30 years old when he began his pirate tale. While the Golden Age of Piracy had peaked a century before his birth, Robert's father and grandfather were lighthouse engineers. Robert was a frequent fixture on voyages around the waters of Scotland.  It was his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, who was the catalyst for the novel. Robert happened upon Lloyd tinting a map with watercolors. This map proved the inspiration for "Treasure Island", and was sent in with the original manuscript. Unfortunately, it got lost.  Robert was crushed upon hearing the news.

The Treasure of Treasure Island combines lessons on the novel and on Robert Louis Stevenson. There are discussion questions, which lead to critical thinking on complex story essentials. Children can also make Jolly Rogers (pirate flags), among other pirate-worthy activities. Jolly Roger has a brief history of how the name evolved, along with true depictions of past pirates' flags. Robert Louis Stevenson has pictures and all things concerning his life.

Pirates are one of the pivotal draws to the story. Their quest for excitement and freedom is appealing to everyone. To begin any adventure, an understanding of the language and culture is helpful. September 19th is official talk like a pirate day. Pirates of the Past is a mini unit delving into the true lives of pirate men and women who populated the seven seas. It is mainly designed as an introduction to "Treasure Island".

Treasure Island can also be combined with learning about islands and oceanography. A Special Island teaches children about different islands around the globe. Students compare and contrast island life. Geocaching is a locale endeavor into small scale treasure hunting. It is a hunt game used with a G.P.S. handheld device. The official site allows visitors to type in their zip code to find locations near home.

"Treasure Island" Lesson Plans:

How Islands Form uses the globe and ocean floor maps to examine how an island grows. There is an easy visual demonstration to replicate using a stack of books.

Ahoy! Pirates in Florida and the Caribbean will study pirates in those regions. There are a myriad of Internet links for research as well as descriptions on criteria for a pirate presentation.

Treasure Island has chapter questions for the novel. There are also some true and false queries interspersed.