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beauxeault

Geocaching Science Project ideas?

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My daughter is already looking for an idea for her 6th grade Science Fair project, next spring. I'm wondering if there might be a way to conceive a geocaching science project -- maybe something involving statistics and/or human behavior as seen in the movement of several travelbugs. Or maybe something else, I don't know. I'm not sure geocaching lends itself all that well to a science project, but if we could come up with a good concept, the novelty of it would sure be a strong point.

 

Anyone have any ideas?

 

 

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Don't most science fairs have rules against using humans as subjects of experimentation?

 

Meanwhile, while only very indirectly related to geocaching, a comparison of different adhesives bonding different materials would lend itself to a nice, visually-presentable, scientific-method-applicable project.

 

Something closer to caching, and also experimentally testable with lots of data collection and presentation, would be a project entitled "Does Weather Affect GPS Accuracy?"

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I am moving this thread from the Geocaching Topics forum to the Education forum.

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Don't most science fairs have rules against using humans as subjects of experimentation?

 

Meanwhile, while only very indirectly related to geocaching, a comparison of different adhesives bonding different materials would lend itself to a nice, visually-presentable, scientific-method-applicable project.

 

Something closer to caching, and also experimentally testable with lots of data collection and presentation, would be a project entitled "Does Weather Affect GPS Accuracy?"

Just because there are rules it doesn't mean scientists will respect them.

 

Since it is science there is the GPS satellites that circle the earth as opposed to the WAAS geostationary ones.

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Oooo. A science fair project that's actually fun for a change!

 

1. The cost benefit analysis project. Take an ammo can, a lock & lock, a dollar store knock-off and an Altoids tin. Put them all through the ringer somehow and see how long until they allow water intrusion. You could have all sorts of fun coming up with ways to test durability...shoot at them :lol: - maybe you'll have to drive over the ammo can with a tractor in order to breach its seal...but then if you have access to the ocean or rapids, maybe a few days tethered to a dock, etc. might do the trick, too. Then you compare. Ammo can $17.50, lasted five days before water got in. Sm. lock & Lock - $5, lasted one day. Altoids tin - free with mints, lasted one second. How many times do you have to replace the lock & lock for one ammo can. Which is better? My hypothesis would be ammo can trumps all (excluding the muggle thief factor), but I could be wrong.

 

2. The trade-up/even project. Science fairs I've been a part of allowed human experiments. Put a $5 inside a cache (probably better make it an unpublished cache). Give your human guinea pigs a brief geocaching overview, being sure to include the trade-up or trade-even ethos (maybe even give them a geo "tool kit" with some swag), give them the coords and send them out (one at a time). Make it a real easy one so they can actually find the thing. Afterwards you go check it out. Is the $5 still there? Did they trade a broken McToy for it? Better yet, have them find three caches near each other, only one of which has something valuable in it - that might be more apt to snag the less honest ones.

 

3. The geotrail project. Put a container in the far reaches of somebody's forested yard. Walk out there every day, multiple times if necessary. How long does it take until an actual geo-trail forms? Once the trail is there, how long does it take for that trail to fade? (Might not have enough time for this.) Land managers seem to freak over geotrails - just how bad a problem is it?

 

4. The Power-trail project. Plant 500 film cans around the perimeter of your property. Tell your human guinea pigs that they get one M&M for each that they log. Then put a well-stocked (well-hidden) ammo can in your absolute most favorite place in your county to visit. Maybe someplace that takes effort to get to but not so bad that your guinea pigs will refuse to go. Take your guinea pigs there (better go with them to make sure they actually find it). They get one M&M for that (one cache = one candy). Then ask them, which did they prefer, and why? My hypothesis would be that the amazing location will trump the power trail for the majority of the people, but I could be wrong.

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Don't most science fairs have rules against using humans as subjects of experimentation?

 

 

There are a lot of "human subject" projects. One of last year's (4th grade) winners tested the effect of music on math test performance, for instance.

 

There is, however, a rule against animal testing that results in the death of the animal. This is obviously a reasonable rule, but my daughter ran afoul of it when she tested the effect of water temperature on trout egg hatch rates.

 

 

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Oooo. A science fair project that's actually fun for a change!

 

1. The cost benefit analysis project. Take an ammo can, a lock & lock, a dollar store knock-off and an Altoids tin. Put them all through the ringer somehow and see how long until they allow water intrusion. You could have all sorts of fun coming up with ways to test durability...shoot at them :lol: - maybe you'll have to drive over the ammo can with a tractor in order to breach its seal...but then if you have access to the ocean or rapids, maybe a few days tethered to a dock, etc. might do the trick, too. Then you compare. Ammo can $17.50, lasted five days before water got in. Sm. lock & Lock - $5, lasted one day. Altoids tin - free with mints, lasted one second. How many times do you have to replace the lock & lock for one ammo can. Which is better? My hypothesis would be ammo can trumps all (excluding the muggle thief factor), but I could be wrong.

 

2. The trade-up/even project. Science fairs I've been a part of allowed human experiments. Put a $5 inside a cache (probably better make it an unpublished cache). Give your human guinea pigs a brief geocaching overview, being sure to include the trade-up or trade-even ethos (maybe even give them a geo "tool kit" with some swag), give them the coords and send them out (one at a time). Make it a real easy one so they can actually find the thing. Afterwards you go check it out. Is the $5 still there? Did they trade a broken McToy for it? Better yet, have them find three caches near each other, only one of which has something valuable in it - that might be more apt to snag the less honest ones.

 

3. The geotrail project. Put a container in the far reaches of somebody's forested yard. Walk out there every day, multiple times if necessary. How long does it take until an actual geo-trail forms? Once the trail is there, how long does it take for that trail to fade? (Might not have enough time for this.) Land managers seem to freak over geotrails - just how bad a problem is it?

 

4. The Power-trail project. Plant 500 film cans around the perimeter of your property. Tell your human guinea pigs that they get one M&M for each that they log. Then put a well-stocked (well-hidden) ammo can in your absolute most favorite place in your county to visit. Maybe someplace that takes effort to get to but not so bad that your guinea pigs will refuse to go. Take your guinea pigs there (better go with them to make sure they actually find it). They get one M&M for that (one cache = one candy). Then ask them, which did they prefer, and why? My hypothesis would be that the amazing location will trump the power trail for the majority of the people, but I could be wrong.

 

Good suggestions. I've been thinking along the lines of no. 2, but something like no. 4 could be good, too, though probably on a smaller scale than 500 caches. Ideally, we'd want something with useful implications beyond geocaching. For no. 2, it could be pitched as an experiment to discover "the price of honesty," or something like that. For no. 4, she could draw a conclusion about what is truly valuable to humans vs. the simplistic assumptions we use for value. In either case, of course the conclusion would be over-broad and over-simplified, but that's pretty much what you get from a science fair project.

Edited by beauxeault

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