This is post #14 in a series of free resources for educators interested in using geocaching in education and other community groups like scouts or camps. The material is pulled directly from Educaching GPS Based Curriculum for Teachers. If interested in more resources, check out www.educaching.com.
Jason Hubbard, Author
This acronym stands for “Cache In, Trash Out” and is a healthy way to encourage a little environmental etiquette. The basic idea is that while you are out EducachingTM, you carry a small garbage bag to fill with trash. Place a small plastic grocery store bag or kitchen garbage bag into 35mm film canisters. Pass these out to students before a hunt and instruct them that they need to place any trash they find into the plastic bag and dispose of it properly when back inside the building. Explain to your students that they have a responsibility to their community to keep things cleaned up, and that this is an easy way to practice.
You can also set up a specific CITO hunt in your schoolyard. Give groups the different waypoints of areas that need to be cleaned up (i.e. playground, north end of building, playing fields, etc.). Set a time limit, then have them meet back at a central location. The central location coordinates could lead them to the school’s dumpster! Then give final coordinates for them to find a cache holding a treat for them as a reward for all their hard work. You could team up with the school’s student council for this activity, or branch out into the community with some help from parents to organize a larger CITO event. See www.caceintrashout.org for information about the actual organization.
Out Into The World
Here are a couple ideas to help your students make connections with the communities, and even the world surrounding them:
Travel Bugs – A travel bug is a trackable item that can travel all around the world through “geocaches” that people have hidden. Travel bug dog tags or other trackable signature items can be learned about and purchased online through www.geocaching.com. A recommendation is that you purchase a few of these and send them off on “missions” throughout your school year. The students can track a travel bug’s progress online and read logs posted by people who pick it up and drop it off in another location. The beautiful thing is that the travel bug can continue to circulate the globe long after it is released by your class. A student will be able to continue to see where it goes and where it has been long after you teach him or her.
Try thinking of unique mission for your travel bug. For example, the goal of the travel bug EduBee (go to www.geocaching.com, click on trackable items, then use tracking number: TB1CF4P), is to travel to educational institutions all over the United States and learn interesting facts from people who find it. The 5th grade class that sent this travel bug can then learn facts from people all over the U.S. and learn the geography about where the bug has been. Here’s another idea: let’s say your class is going to be studying volcanoes. If you can’t take your class to the nearest mountain of magma, send a travel bug with a mission to photograph a particular volcano, then you and your students can research that volcano and its surrounding area! What other travel bug ideas do you have that could allow your students to “travel” the world?
Hide an Educache container on or near the school grounds or somewhere in your community and log your container at www.geocaching.com. This will allow for anyone in the world to
locate it and log their find online. Make certain you hide this container according to the web site’s requirements. Inside the container, place blank postcards addressed to your school, care of you and your class. When someone finds the container, they will take a postcard, fill it out with information regarding where they’re from, and send it back to your school.
Won’t it be fun for your class to receive mail from fellow “cachers”? For more fun keep track on a map of what parts of your county, state, or other country you receive them from. Students can create a US (or world) map on a bulletin board or wall and then attach the postcards on the map.
Over the course of the school year, the students can keep track of the locations. Postcard senders will tell where they are from and a little about the area in which they live. You could have students calculate distances: furthest traveled, closest in proximity, etc., as an extension.
Well, that's a few for now...more "beyond" ideas to come! Feel free to post your own in the comments section. Until then, keep 'em caching!
-Jason and the Educaching Team