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cazetofamo97

Geocaching with 4-H

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Does any one have any ideas how to incorporate Geocaching into 4-H with in a local group? My idea is at a field day where the kids will be excited and it would just be a day thing. any ideas about how to do the lesson and then the actual caching??

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When I've taught kids at church about geocaching, I've started with an in-class session explaining how geocaching works, how GPS works, what geocaches look like, what to do with trade items, what to do with trackables, etc. I have lots of hands-on stuff that I can pass around for them to see. Then I've taken them outside to a nearby area where I've hidden a bunch of geocache containers, and I had them raise their hands and point out the containers they spotted. All this usually takes about an hour.

 

If I take them geocaching, searching for actual geocachers, then I make a point to take them on a hike in a park somewhere a few miles away. I don't take them on a search for the local neighborhood caches. Even if I trust the kids in my class/club completely, I don't necessarily trust the friends or classmates they tell about the "treasures" hidden in the neighborhood.

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oh, i wouldn't bring them to real caches, i would have a few temporary unregistered caches around the fairgrounds we use for all our big events.

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I'm hoping more ideas come along on this topic. I've taught a "GPS and Geochaching" session at an adult national camping conference before, but that's not hands-on. Now I'm working on the concept of a 6-session SPIN (special interest) project for geocaching. The SPIN format is being explored nationally in 4-H as a way to include more youth in 4-H programming, and is outside the tradition local club format. There are three parts - an adult with a passion for a topic - youth interested in the topic - a place to meet. No obligation to join a club, and after six meetings it is done. Hopefully I can work with the city parks staff and meet at park facilities. After teaching a bit we go to the caches. Maybe seed the park for the first meeting, but maybe meet at different parks the other five meetings for real caches. I'm just in the brainstorming stage right now, but I think it has potential. Any suggestions welcome.

Edited by fidlnjohn

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I am planning to lead a caching project for my local 4h club with a group of nine 7-9 year old children. We will be doing the first presentation at our home to discuss what geocaching is and how to use a GPS, and then will go find a few local caches. The next few sessions will be held at local nature preserves where will will find caches. Does anybody have any presentation materials that you have used, or suggestions on how to make this go smoothly. I will take at least one other parent with me each time. I think that the idea of planting a cache is good, and will incorporate that.

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I am planning to lead a caching project for my local 4h club with a group of nine 7-9 year old children. We will be doing the first presentation at our home to discuss what geocaching is and how to use a GPS, and then will go find a few local caches. The next few sessions will be held at local nature preserves where will will find caches. Does anybody have any presentation materials that you have used, or suggestions on how to make this go smoothly. I will take at least one other parent with me each time. I think that the idea of planting a cache is good, and will incorporate that.
For that age group, I would minimize the on-screen projection, and maximize the hands-on experience. Some things have to be on-screen, like showing a sample cache description page, or showing some of the cache type icons while discussing cache types. But I demonstrate cache sizes by showing the kids example containers of each size, I demonstrate trade items by passing a few around (while talking about trading fairly), and I demonstrate trackables by passing around a few travel bugs and geocoins (while talking about logging trackables, not keeping trackables, etc.). I explain latitude and longitude by demonstrating them on a globe. And so on.

 

I demonstrate how GPS works by taping colored yarn to the ceiling, and letting the yarn represent the distance to each "satellite". They can see that a single satellite and distance defines a circle, that two satellites and distances define two points (where the circles intersect), and that a third satellite defines a single point. And then I mention that the three satellites and distances also define a point "up there", and explain that a fourth or fifth or sixth satellite would define the location more accurately. This all takes place in just a few minutes.

 

I'd be careful taking the kids to a few local caches. When I've taught kids this age about geocaching, either I let them practice with containers that I have hidden just for the cache, or I've taken them to a park or open space well away from the local neighborhood. Even if I trust the kids in my class/club completely, I don't necessarily trust the friends or classmates who will hear about the "treasures" hidden in the neighborhood.

 

When you take them to the local nature preserves, be sure to monitor their trades. When I've done this, the kids new to geocaching always want to trade for the tagged toys or the pretty medals, and then I have to remind them about what I told them earlier about travel bugs and geocoins—that you can't trade for them or keep them, and that you should take them only if you're going to move them to another cache.

 

And before you hide a cache as part of the class, think about who is going to maintain the cache. Owning a cache is a long-term commitment. Make sure you (or someone else in the group, but probably you) are ready to own and maintain the cache for the long term.

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Geocaching can be included in the 4-H Geospatial Project. Cornell has produced some interesting training programs for this, including a section on Geocaching.

 

http://nys4h.cce.cornell.edu/Documents/About/Program%20Themes/SET/4-H%20Science%20Toolkit/GPS.pdf

http://nys4h.cce.cornell.edu/about%20us/Pages/4-HGeospatialScience.aspx

 

These cover a lot of what niraD mentioned in his reply. As a 4-H leader, you should be able to get a copy of the Geospatial Project CD from your local 4-H office. I was (and will continue to be) a 4-H Geospatial leader, the CD and above links are where I get most of my training materials from.

 

Skye.

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