According to the Geocaching.com website, “Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.”
When I entered the room, I saw my friend Chris Craft waiting for the session to start. I find it interesting that I didn’t know anyone else in the room, except someone who didn’t even teach in the same district that I had taught. I have talked to Chris online and met him last year at this conference. It was nice being in a class with someone I knew so I can imagine how my students feel when they enter new situations.
We carpooled to different locations and were given a handout with specific coordinates to find the treasures. These coordinates were found on the Geocaching.com website. You can put in the zip code of the area or look at a Google map in the area you want to look and find different geocaches in that vicinity. We matched the coordinates on our GPS to the one on the handout. Then we had to look for the treasure. It was great to find the three geocaches that we looked for. Chris bought the geocaching.com app for his iphone and was able to log in that he found the cache.
I think this would be so much fun to do with students. It requires the students to use many different skills and still can be fun. Since it involves a lot of movement, I could see lower level students being more involved or even excelling in this activity. I think pairing up students at first would really help them as they learn how to do this. Eventually they could work individually if there are enough GPS units to go around. I would also recommend that the teacher finds the cache first before attempting to have students do this. This is important in case students get frustrated, the teacher can help guide and encourage them in order to be successful.
I think it would be fun to plant caches around the school campus and have students find them. Just like the TV show Amazing Race, the students could be given a clue to the general area of the next clue. The final location could be the cache and the first one to find it could pick their choice of prizes. As each one finds it, they could pick a prize and it would continue until the last one finds it. Everyone would get a prize.
I really think learning geocaching would be a successful activity for students. You can adapt the lessons according to their age levels or abilities. I also think it would be fun to see their faces light up when they find what they are looking for (I know the adults in this session were very excited when they were successful!)