Geocaching – More than a High Tech Scavenger Hunt

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The advent of Global Positioning Satelite Systems – GPS has given rise to a new sort of treasure hunting adventure called geocaching. Geocachers worldwide hide caches, small boxes with a few trinkets and a visitor’s log, in unique locations. A handheld GPS device or cell phone app is then used to record the longitude and latitude coordinates. The locations along with clues are posted on the Internet for other geocachers to find.

You can get started with geocaching by visiting the Geocaching.com website. In the upper right-hand corner, click: Create a Membership and sign up for a FREE account. Explore this site thoroughly. Be sure to visit Getting Started and Hide and Seek a Cache. The Resources page has a lot of useful information including a PDF Guide to Geocaching . Visit different types of caches- earth cache, virtual cache, multi-cache, and mystery cache. Consider how each of these holds unique opportunities for your classroom.

For an introduction to geocaching in the classroom try the following article: Can You Dig It? Geocaching in the Classroom by Anna Adam and Helen Mowers, School Library Journal, 2007. . The Geocaching for Kids site features the experiences of one teacher geocaching with his classroom.

Although locating caches can teach students map skills, geography and mathematics, you might move the geocaching experience in your classroom to a higher-level by having students create their own caches. Students could create caches that answer questions such as: What is it in your community that would be most interesting or important to a visitor? What are the most historically significant areas in our community? What geographic or biological features are exhibited in or even unique to our community? Student caches can provide background information addressing a variety of questions such as these.

Michelle Kendrick is a program coordinator for the eMINTS National Center.

Google Earth in the Classroom

AntWeb- Google Earth MapWish you could “ travel to cities across the globe, dive into the depths of the ocean, explore remote islands and even fly to faraway galaxies”? You can!

Google Earth allows you and your students to explore the universe. Visit the Google Earth Download page to install Google Earth 5 on your computer. The Google Earth User’s Guide is a great place to learn how to get started. Google Earth Learn allows you and your students to learn skills and practice those by completing challenges.

How will you use Google Earth in your instruction?

Michelle Kendrick is a program coordinator for the eMINTS National Center.

Google Earth as a Collaborative Tool

Google Earth is a great way to help students read maps and develop an understanding of geography, but Google Earth can also be a great tool for sharing data during a collaborative project.

Google Earth allows students to add text, data and pictures to a particular location on a map. Locations can be entered into Google Earth using GPS coordinates or simply an address. Descriptions, data and photos can be added to each location.

All of this material can be saved as a kmz file for sharing with others. These files can be opened in Google Earth for display on any computer. Collaboration with students from different geographic areas can be facilitated by uploading the kmz file to a website or portal where participants from different schools can download the file and add their information.

The Google Earth tutorial is a great place to start in learning to add data to Google Earth documents.

The Google Earth Community also has some helpful tutorials.

Many projects that involve examining different geographic locations could be enhanced by using Google Earth. Consider how adding pictures and text to locations on Google Earth might add to a Flat Stanley Project .

Many science investigations could benefit from using Google Earth to record information collected from different geographic locations. The Pathfinder Science Project involves many such investigations.

What about Chewing the Fat ? In this online project, students from different areas collect examples of slang. In the How Much Does it Cost project ,students compare the cost of items in different areas of the world . The ideas are endless.

Do you have other ideas for using Google Earth for sharing information and data?

Michelle Kendrick is a program coordinator for the eMINTS National Center.

Just Five Minutes Each Day

Teachers are pressed for time. There is not enough time for planning, grading, and keeping up with the latest in education. There seems to be especially little time for the range of curriculum we must uncover. But have you ever considered what your class might accomplish in just five minutes each day?

This group of students at Bangalow Public School in Australia decided they might actually change the world in just five minutes a day. Check out their video. to see what they accomplished.

What could your students do if you gave them just five minutes each morning of the school day?

If your students come up with their own great idea to save the planet, funding for their project might be available from the Captain Planet Foundation.

Michelle Kendrick is a program coordinator for the eMINTS National Center.