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.