Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Geocaching and Education, part 3 - Subject Integration

This is post #3 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
Jason Hubbard, Author
         Every subject area can be combined with GPS technology to create challenging and educational hunts for your students. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you want to have your students read some newspaper articles in order to keep up with current events about a particular topic. Take a few articles of your choice, cut them out, and hide them as educaches. Your students form groups, take a GPS receiver, paper and a pencil, and go out to seek their group’s article. Once found, each group will read their article aloud or silently and write a brief summary of the article to later present to the class. Voila! You’ve just tied in reading, writing, social studies (or whatever subject the articles cover), geography (latitude and longitude), and technology. 
It is easy to tailor Educaching to meet the needs of your classroom.
Think about the elements of discovery available in your local area. What local history is just waiting to be explored through the use of GPS? A historic fort? An old canal or lock system? In regard to ecology, is there a river system or forest that can be mapped, explored, or discovered by your students? Is there a problem in your community that could be solved by your students and connect them to technology and their duty as a citizen? For example, in the area I teach and live, there is a natural invader which has sprung up over the past few years, known as the emerald ash borer. This mean, green beetle devastates large populations of ash trees and has been spreading across the Midwest states. Through awareness, the bug’s progress has been hampered, fortunately. What opportunities do you as a teacher see to promote further awareness to you students and the community you teach in? Could you and your students team up with the local forestry department or city employees to map out areas of the community that have been invaded by the emerald ash borer? Could your students continue to keep tabs on the situation over the years and help the city work toward a solution? Why not? The possibilities are unlimited. What areas of your curriculum could be enhanced through the use of the geocaching concept at school?

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