Geocaching: Geocaching How to use it in your classroom
What is geocaching?: What is geocaching? A “high-tech treasure hunt” that utilizes a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to determine a cache’s location.
“Caches” are hidden all over the world by geocachers who post latitude and longitude coordinates online and challenge others to find them.
A GPS receiver can pinpoint one’s location anywhere on the earth to within several meters. Often cachers also provide written clues to help with tricky locations.
Obtaining a GPS unit for your classroom : Obtaining a GPS unit for your classroom GPS units range in price from about $100-1000.
Some teachers have written technology grants to obtain multiple units for their schools
You can also borrow GPS units from friends for your classroom use. A 1:1 ratio is not necessary for optimum use, since people often geocache in groups/teams.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website offers a six hour training course about using GPS units and geocaching. Upon requesting and completing the course, teachers are permitted to check out class sets.
How is geocaching useful for students?: How is geocaching useful for students? Facilitates inquiry-based learning
Adaptable for any subject area
Improves technological proficiency
Fosters innovative instruction
Increases student motivation
FRNL/01summer/images/john_bengps.JPG Useful introductory terms: Useful introductory terms Waypoints- latitude and longitude coordinates
Multi-cache- a series of smaller caches leading to a larger one
Swag- describes items found in a cache
Muggle- a non-cacher (a cache that has been tampered with or discarded is said to be “muggled”)
Micro-cache-smaller than a tennis-ball; difficult to find for beginners
How do you create your own cache?: How do you create your own cache? Use a waterproof container and include
a small log book (This will allow students to leave a message about their experience.)
Items specific to the theme of your cache or content area of your class
Hiding your cache: Hiding your cache If you are hiding your cache off-campus, ensure that your location allows geocaching (Land overseen by the National Park Service is off-limits).
Ideally, no one should stumble upon your cache. Avoid locations right off the highway or high traffic areas.
Hiding your cache, continued: Hiding your cache, continued Disrupt the natural environment as little as possible.
Attach a label to your container and include a letter briefly explaining geocaching, in case a “muggle” finds your cache.
Using your GPS unit, determine the coordinates of your spot. For use beyond your classroom, post the coordinates on geocache.com.
Geocaching Etiquette: Geocaching Etiquette
Teach your students the three most basic rules for geocaching:
1) Write in the log book
2) Take something
3) Leave something (of equal or greater value)
Should your students become involved in geocaching on their own, they should also consult geocaching.com for more specific guidelines about being a “friendly cacher.”
http://www.averyl.com/attic/pinktea.htm See it in action. . . : See it in action. . . Fox station KABB aired this short segment that demonstrates the geocaching process from beginning to end.
Click on box to start video.
watch?v=flsZVs4l3gU Integration in your classroom: Integration in your classroom Geocaching can be successfully used with K-12 students
It can be used to enhance instruction in various content areas
Following are some examples of integration ideas. Most can be adapted to any grade level.
Elementary School : Elementary School Grade: 1
Subject: Language Arts
Title: Caching with Wolves
Description: This multi-cache hunt reinforces the study of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Students practice story sequencing and writing.
How it works: Caches 1-5: Each cache contains index cards with an event from the story on one side and a set of coordinates on the other. Students must choose which event is next and use the corresponding coordinates. Only the correct choice will lead to the next cache.
Elementary school, continued: Elementary school, continued Cache 6: Contains several flow charts. Each chart contains the title of a fairy tale. Students complete the chart using the perspective of a different character (ex. the wicked stepmother in Cinderella). When they return to the classroom, they will word process the first draft of their story.
Middle School: Middle School Grades: 6-8
Title: Math Cache
Description: In this multi-cache hunt students will practice their math skills and document their experience using a digital camera. Each cache corresponds to a “level” in the game. Ideally, this activity is done at a scenic outdoor location (ex. hiking trail, community park).
How it works: Students are divided into teams of three and will compete to reach the Level Five cache. Each team is given a set of coordinates that corresponds to a Level One cache. Each cache requires them to solve a math problem, choosing one of two possible answers provided by the teacher. A correct answer moves them to the next level. An incorrect answer moves them back. The first group to get to a Level Five cache wins.
Middle School, continued: Middle School, continued Each member of the team has a job. The “navigator” operates the GPS unit. The “notetaker” records the answers to the problems. The “photographer” documents the experience and scenic locations.
High School: High School Grade: 11
Title: A Class Act
Description: Students create and track a class cache through geocache.com.
How it works: Students fill the cache with items that are meaningful to them. Instead of signing the log book, finders are required to leave a favorite literary quotation or aphorism. Students track the “finds” on geocache.com and eventually review and discuss the quotes that are written in the log book.
Source: http://www.todayscacher.com/2004/dec/caches2.asp In conclusion. . . : In conclusion. . .
In addition to its benefits as an instructional tool, geocaching provides solid opportunities for team-building, physical activity and community exploration.