The Treasure Hunt
“Am I doing Math on Spring Break?”, says my daughter as we complete a geocache course created at Sky Meadows State Park in Hume, Va. Twelve locations were entered into a gps that names the coordinates on longitude and latitude lines. She then used the tool to locate each location. They were given coordinates, distance from the goal in feet and a compass to lead them to the correct location. Each post was fitted with a part of a cartoon story-great for my non-reading 5 year old-and plastic eggs filled with candy.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Although it can seem intimidating, it was quite easy. The gps is relatively simple to read. At the top of the screen shows the distance, in our case it was feet. As you get closer to a location, the numbers go down. There is an image of a compass where the arrow points in the direction you need to go. When you are within 20 feet of the location you need to look in all possible places the tube can be hidden. At Sky Meadows Park the destination was clearly marked, however for those that do this world wide, a tube that holds a note can be hidden in a statue, behind a sign or in a pole.
Geocachers participate in this activity to learn about new locations, new cities, or new hikes. Once they find the “cache” they will log into a site to claim that is was found.
Imagine using this technology with your students? This cross-curricular activity takes the children outside on the school’s campus or around their town to learn about it’s history, plant life and tourist attractions. Interested in giving it a try, here are some ways to get started:
- Burt Lo’s Geocaching in Education
- Geocaching Activities in the Classroom
- Dr. Christie’s Live Binders