Real-Life Treasure Hunt

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Real-Life Treasure Hunt

September 6, 2015

When you jingle pennies or nickels in your pocket, they all look the same, like the millions of other coins just like them. But what if someone made only 30 coins of a certain type? Those coins would be super special, and people would pay a lot of money to have one. They would become real-life treasure. Well, that’s what happened this summer: treasure hunters found 60 gold coins inside a sunken ship off the coast of Florida. The coins are 300 years old, as that’s how long ago the ship crashed during a big storm. 9 of the coins are “Royals,” a special set of just 30 coins made for the king of Spain of that time. All together the coins are worth $4.5 million dollars because they’re so rare. But there are more Royal coins out there somewhere! So if you want to go on a treasure hunt, now you know what to try to find.

Wee ones: What shape is a U.S. penny, nickel, dime or quarter?

Little kids: If you counted the 60 coins by 10s, what numbers would you say?  Bonus: If the hunters found 9 of the 30 Royal coins, how many Royals are left out there to find?

Big kids: If the treasure hunters took 5 days to rescue the coins from the shipwreck and 5 times as long as that to find the ship to start, how long did the treasure hunt take?  Bonus: If these coins are from 300 years ago, what year were they made?

The sky’s the limit: The “face value” of the coins — the amount of money they say on them — is $1 million. If 10 of the coins are each worth $10,000, what’s the total face value of the remaining coins?




Wee ones: A circle.

Little kids: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.  Bonus: 21 coins.

Big kids: 30 days.  Bonus: The year 1715.

The sky’s the limit: $900,000, since the 10 coins will take out $100,000.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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