manipulate GPS units. They were immediately hooked.
Some of them enjoy choosing caches on various websites and then finding them. In addition to coordinates,
many of these sites provide historical
information about the area, and some
provide problem-solving clues. Other
students enjoy entering the coordinates into the GPS units and checking
area maps. All of the students benefit
from getting out of the classroom to
seek a cache.
One student, Jessica Currence, said,
“I really enjoyed geocaching, because
not only did we get out of the class-
room, but it was also fun exercise and
a good way to enjoy nature.”
Another student, Haley Hoppert,
said, “While learning about this hob-
by, I also learned to identify birds and
to appreciate their beauty.”
Geocaching offers a wealth of lessons.
Our class has discussed our physio-
graphic province (Valley and Ridge) as
well as the province visible in the dis-
tance (Allegheny Plateau), which leads
to discussions about the origin of the
Appalachian Mountains. Bird, arthro-
pod, and tree identification are also a
part of our geocaching adventure, as is
basic information regarding hydrology
and meteorology. We don’t address
these student-chosen topics separately.
While we are en route to caches, the
world is our classroom, and each topic
is connected to all other topics. Every
student’s participation is uninhibited.
Each takes part in orienteering, ques-
tioning, and seeking. It is this interdis-
ciplinary contact and cooperative at-
mosphere that affords untold benefits
for the students and makes geocaching a dynamic teaching medium. Fortunately for me, Constitu- tion Park, which contains six official caches, is located near our school. But if you aren’t so lucky, don’t worry. You can create your own caches by hid- ing small Tupperware containers on school property. I would hide a cache and then have one class find it. These students would hide it in a new loca- tion and record the coordinates, and then the next class would repeat the process. To make the adventure more in- teresting, you can buy geocoins and
travel bugs from the geocaching web-
site. These items have tracking codes,
so as finders move them from cache
to cache, the students can “follow”
them. I placed a geocoin in a cache
on Antelope Island in Great Salt Lake
last summer. My students will be able
to track the progress of this coin and
learn about the areas to which the
coin travels. The last I checked, the
geocoin was in Colorado.
—Carole Diehl lives in Allegany County, Maryland, where she has taught science for 22 years.
She experiences nature through hiking, biking,
kayaking, geocaching, and bird watching, and she
shares it through photography. She recently published a children’s book called What Can I See
When I Look at Leaves, available at Xlibris.com.
Catch the Travel Bug
in november, is Te published
GPS and Geocaching in Education by Burt lo. since then,
we’ve gotten hooked on geocaching and wanted to show
educators how this activity
can be used in (and out) of
We sent travel bugs to is Te
members and geocaching
enthusiasts, who left them in
geocaches to get them moving.
each time someone moves an
is Te travel bug, we record it on
a map along with information the
geocacher provides about the
location where it was found.
We’re looking forward to seeing
how far the travel bugs go, how
many people move them, and
which get closest to philadelphia
by is Te 2011.
We hope you and your classrooms
will check out the map at www.iste.
org/geocacheadventure and watch
as geocachers add information,
and hopefully pictures, about
locations around the world.
if there’s a geocache with an is Te
travel bug near you, go find it!