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Geocaching for 2nd Graders


Hobnob18
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My 7 year old daughter and I love geocaching and I began to think it might make a great activity for her class. I am trying to come up with some ideas on how to integrate the idea with a 2nd grade curriculum. I also thought it might be fun to make it a schoolwide project, allowing each class or grade level to place a cache on campus and allow other classes to find it. Any ideas would be super helpful before I talk to her teacher about it. Thanks

 

KT

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My 7 year old daughter and I love geocaching and I began to think it might make a great activity for her class. I am trying to come up with some ideas on how to integrate the idea with a 2nd grade curriculum. I also thought it might be fun to make it a schoolwide project, allowing each class or grade level to place a cache on campus and allow other classes to find it. Any ideas would be super helpful before I talk to her teacher about it. Thanks

 

KT

 

Perhaps you could incoorporate it in to field trips. This of course would require someone placing a cache on the site of the trip prior to the outing.

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I am currently working on incorporation of geocaching into an early childhood classroom as well. Prior to my setting out containers for the children to find, they had worked with puzzle maps (Montessori) and demonstrated their knowledge of the cardinal directions and at least a partial understanding of intercardinal directions. Several of them had also made their own compass roses. Although this work is available to children of all ages in our multi-age classroom (3-6 year olds), the 4 1/2 to 6 year olds are the ones who gravitate to it the most.

 

And yes, with no trepidation I let them take off with my $300 personal GPS unit (after the usual instructions on use and responsibilities) in search of what I had hidden that day. The hard part for me is taking multiple sets of readings on hiding places to average coordinates for each of the hides. Our playground is small, and the children are enthusiastic. That makes it hard to keep up with their interest in caching by setting out new caches on a regular basis. Recently I shared trackable items with them. Tracking items like TBs and GCs online with the trackables' maps would be another way to use geocaching in the classroom (geography). You also could establish some mystery caches that would require the children to incorporate math and other skills. Although my students could not go find the final cache locations for several mystery caches in another state, they enjoyed completing the mazes that enabled them to see the coordinates that I had also determined and used to find the caches myself. We then looked up the locations of those caches in a DeLorme atlas using the coordinates along the edges of the maps (grid system). Field trips, as mentioned in another log, would allow you to visit sites of virtual caches which might have historical or some other cultural value in addition to finding caches that are available through geocaching.com.

 

Yesterday I did an introduction to geocaching presentation for interested families from our school. It was well received. The children ranged in age from 5-9 years of age. None of the children wanted to leave until they had found all 7 containers I had placed on the campus. Containers ranged in size from a magnetic nano to an ammo box. A few hints were needed to make some of the finds, but once the children and their parents understood the method, they really took off.

 

Best wishes for an awesome educational opportunity ~

 

CCO

Edited by Cacher Checks Only
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I work as a teacher in a 4/5 combo class. I am just recently getting into geocaching, but after telling some stories to my kids and seeing their interest I decided to plan a little activity. It was a simple multicache event (each group of 4 had 30 mins) where I placed clues around the playground. The children were given coordinates to the first clue and had to solve puzzles to find the correct coordinates for the other clues. The puzzles ranged from referencing a dictionary where children had to look up specific page numbers to a more simple long subtraction math problem.

 

Long story short, the children absolutely had a ball with it. My principal loved it too. Not only were the children problem-solving, but they were working together towards a common goal. Teachers are all about incorporating technology into the classroom and finding activities that are engaging for their students. This was a great experience for my class and me. I look forward to doing another one soon.

 

Something I did learn from this experience was that muggles are nothing when compared to children on a playground. We had some issues with clues missing after a team made a discovery when another class was outside. I was only encouraged by that, it just shows more kids wanted to be involved! Still, in the future I’ll make arrangements for the kids to search when other children who aren't participating at that time can't swipe some of the caches!

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My 7 year old daughter and I love geocaching and I began to think it might make a great activity for her class. I am trying to come up with some ideas on how to integrate the idea with a 2nd grade curriculum. I also thought it might be fun to make it a schoolwide project, allowing each class or grade level to place a cache on campus and allow other classes to find it. Any ideas would be super helpful before I talk to her teacher about it. Thanks

 

KT

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I work for Virginia State Parks. We developed a staff training manual for developing and delivering GPS activities last year. It is based around the inexpensive Garmin eTrexH and includes everything from setting up the GPS units and managing waypoints to safety. We also developed color dot system for the eTrex buttons that is coded to our simplified "cheat sheets" that we laminated and attached to the GPS units (made instructing students MUCH easier.) If anyone is interested in getting a copy, just email me at chuck.wyatt@dcr.virginia.gov.

 

Also, if you a close to a Virginia State Park, just call the park if you are interested in a field trip to the park to do GPS activities. Each park has 10 GPS units and will be glad to host your trip.

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I am planning on doing some sort of geocaching activity with my son's kindergarten class this spring. I am thinking of incorporating it into their lesson on magnetism, and involving some compass work. I'll place a multi around the school grounds. I like the idea of having them answer some sort of question or solve a problem at each station.

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I am currently teaching a Highly Abled group of students (used to be "Gifted and Talented") in grades 3-6 and have been using a course in "Instrumental Enrichment" by Reuven Feuerstein called Orientation in Space II. It follows up OIS I which deals with understanding internal space and relating to things around us (front, back, left, and right). OIS II deals with understanding space in relation to the compass points. This was a natural for introducing Geocaching. I am having the students develop three different caches that we will place in the community where our school is located.

 

They certainly enjoyed when we went to find a nearby cache someone else had placed.

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I was a guest speaker in my son's 2nd grade class last year. Another parent had previously spoken to the class about his career which involved making/using maps at a local level. This gave me the idea to incorporate a geocaching unit into their curriculum. I met with his teacher, and she was enthusiastic about my idea. We originally planned to take one hour, but it ended up taking 90 minutes. We just had to interrupt the lesson for a recess. I normally teach college students, so I was not sure whether my style would work well with 2nd graders. They had been studying maps in a geography unit.

 

The outline of my lesson was as follows:

 

1. I asked the class how to get to my hometown (a very small town in our state). At first they were not sure, so I followed up with questions about how could I figure it out. Someone suggested looking at a map.

 

2. The teacher had a large state map. I started looking it over and acted like I could not find it. Then asked how do I know where the city is on the map. One of the students suggested to look in the map's index (they had been studying how to read a map).

 

3. After finding the town on the map index, we found the grid coordinates "A7," "G12," etc. I asked a small group of students to come up and find the town on the map using the grid.

 

4. So that others had a chance to try it out, we had other groups come up and try to find other cities in our state.

 

5. Once they got the hang of this, I asked them what if I needed to find a place that was not in our state, perhaps some place in another country? Someone of course suggested to get a different map. I asked that student if they had a map of Australia handy. They did not. So then we pondered what we could do. One of the students said to use the globe.

 

6. The teacher had assembled 5-6 globes in the room. We split the students into small groups of 4-5.

 

7. I talked about the "grid" on the globe being a lot like the grid on the map of our state and how it could be used to get anywhere in the world. This allowed me to introduce big words like "latitude" and "longitude" as well as the "equator" and the four hemispheres (N, S, E, W).

 

8. Next, I asked them to use the globe and identify the country located at a particular set of coordinates. The globes only went in 15 degree increments I believe, so I had to be broad. They found Australia, our home state, China, England, etc.

 

9. Then we talked about how we might find our way around the world if we did not take our globe with us or have a big map. We briefly talked about how a long time ago people navigated by the stars, landmarks, the sun, etc., but that today we can use technology to find our way.

 

10. I gave a basic description of GPS technology and explained that there were satellites miles above us in space that we can use to navigate with. I pulled out my GPS unit (Garmin GMaps 60CSx) and turned it on so they could all see the little image of the unit trying to connect with the satellites. Eventually they could see that I had connected to about 6-7 satellites and got a set of coordinates for our location.

 

11. Next, I devised a way of explaining how the satellites work. While they were at recess, I had hidden a small object in the classroom. Actually, it was in plain site, but something that they would not notice. I had also taped 3 pictures of satellites around the room. I explained that each satellite sends a signal and that the GPS receiver measured the distance from each satellite. I then told them that I hid something in the room. They immediately all started to look around for it. I also said I had clues. The first clue said that the object was 20' from Satellite #1.

 

12. The kids pondered this for a few seconds and then I asked how we could find something no more than 20' away from the point where Satellite #1 was taped on the wall. Someone suggested a ruler, but when I asked, none of the kids had a 20' ruler. They did have a yardstick. One child suggested a tape measure, but he did not bring a tape measure either.

 

13. I asked if we could make a ruler? They brainstormed and discovered that could make a 20' ruler out of a piece of string. One group of children set off doing that. We cut the string and taped it to the wall. This gives you a big 20' arc of where the object could be hidden within.

 

14. I gave the second clue that the object was 12' from Satellite #2. Clue 3 said it was 15' from Satellite #3. Two more teams measured string the appropriate length and connected them.

 

15. This gave us 3 arcs from different points in the room. When the students brought the strings together at a common intersection, we found the object which had been hidden. I told them another big word "triangulation," then explained this was how the GPS receiver and satellites worked.

 

16. The final step was to ask if they wanted to go on a real treasure hunt using the GPS receiver. Of course they all did. I had previously hidden a short-three stage multi-cache on school grounds. The first two stages were micros and the final was a decon with quarters. We broke the class into 3 groups to take turns. I accompanied them on the cache hunt along with a teacher's aid. While the other kids were out hunting the cache the rest of the class did math or something inside. Stage 1 gave the coordinates for stage 2 and a note that said "ha, ha, this is not the prize". It also gave a verbal clue to the second cache. They had to solve a very simple puzzle or riddle. They moved on to stage 2 and again got a clue to the final. We moved on to stage 3. Many of the kids had some trouble with the concept of searching for a hidden object. They wanted to dig up the ground, so I had to give them hints as the cache was camouflaged under some leaves. They eventually found it and all got to claim a quarter for their prize. We repeated this process with the other two groups. Everyone got a chance to walk with the GPSr and follow the compass. We walked slow and they used the strap so as not to drop it.

 

In the end, the teacher said the lesson went very well. She said that she could tell the kids really liked it because even some of the slow learners were very engaged in the lesson.

 

Hope this helps stir some ideas.

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My wife and I did a 45 minute course for three third grade classes two years ago. It involved classroom time and then taking groups of about 12 out to find 2 caches we hid on school property. 1 was a larger cache hidden in a rotted out tree and another was a micro on the playground.

 

We made the kids bring trade items if they wanted to trade. We wanted to impress that it is about trading and not just getting stuff. The swag were foreign coins. Some of the kids were really bummed. I thought foreign coins would be neat. Swag for 70 some kids seemed like a lot!

 

I talked about GPS system and how it works. I don't really think they learned much from it. Some liked it and others were bored.

 

We might be hosting an event at our local library soon where we can share geocaching with families.

 

Now that i think about it maybe i will do some sessions for my sons 5th grade class.

 

Geocaching is full of learning. Not just GPS science, but the cool places it takes you. Outdoor life, dams, historic places, monuments, locks. The list goes on and on.

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My class has been geocaching on school grounds for a couple of years now. This year we learned about EarthCaches. Recently I took small groups outside and they found invasive plants, marked the location, and wrote questions about the plant at that location. The other groups came outside and located the plants and then answered the questions the original team had written. We also have done geocaches on the school property. After we finished a unit of studies on rocks, I hid small plastic containers that contained a rock. As students located the items, they were given a clipboard that held a paper with questions about that particular rock. Another time, I hid 4 containers, each container contained one piece of a logic puzzle. Students had to write that part of the puzzle on their clipboard paper, put the clue back for the next group to find, and go on to find the next part of the puzzle. After they found all 4 pieces of the puzzle, they had to write the answer by combining all of the clues. Small groups work better, so parent volunteers are a great help. I wrote grants until I finally received money to buy our classroom 6 GPS's. Email other schools and teachers, someone may have GPS's that you can borrw for your class. Everyone in the small group loves to be holding their own GPS. Have fun.

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I was a guest speaker in my son's 2nd grade class last year. Another parent had previously spoken to the class about his career which involved making/using maps at a local level. This gave me the idea to incorporate a geocaching unit into their curriculum. I met with his teacher, and she was enthusiastic about my idea. We originally planned to take one hour, but it ended up taking 90 minutes. We just had to interrupt the lesson for a recess. I normally teach college students, so I was not sure whether my style would work well with 2nd graders. They had been studying maps in a geography unit.

 

The outline of my lesson was as follows:

 

-truncated-

 

In the end, the teacher said the lesson went very well. She said that she could tell the kids really liked it because even some of the slow learners were very engaged in the lesson.

 

Hope this helps stir some ideas.

 

This is exceptional! I have been trying to figure out how to put a 2nd grade presentation together without getting bogged down in a PowerPoint presentation that would bore half the class. While some of the PPT's I've located are filled with great information, it's not the kind of thing 5 and 6-yr olds are going to get into or grasp and I wanted to demonstrate the "triangulation" methodology as well. Your approach is perfect! Thank you very much for sharing!

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