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hzoi

Help My Earthcache: a collaborative effort

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Inspired by this related thread, I thought there should be a place here for cache owners to get help with both proposed and existing earthcaches.  Not everyone has a Ph.D. in geology or an MFA in teaching, so coming up with ways to present an earth science lesson and frame good logging questions around that lesson can be daunting.  By helping each other, maybe we can all ease the collective burden (and maybe make the review process a little easier).

 

I propose some rules up front:

 

- This thread should not be confused with "I want someone else to write up my earthcache."  This should be a request for help on work you've already done, not an attempt to outsource.  Please do your homework first.  We're here to patch your roof, not to build you a house.  That includes reading the earthcache guidelines (or searching this forum) to answer basic preliminary questions, like, "Is this earthcache doable?"

 

- Those who seek help need to be open to criticism - by posting here, you are seeking criticism.  Please don't be defensive.

 

- Those who offer help here need to offer constructive criticism.  "That's a bad earthcache" or "What a ridiculous question" is not helpful.  Anyone who posts here is looking for help - please be helpful.

 

Rather than bogging this page down with dissertations, I recommend trying to post a summary of what you're looking for here and linking back to things where possible.

 

Let's see how this goes!

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My thread, I'll go first.

 

I'm struggling with how to improve the logging questions for our earthcache in Naerofjord without making them overly complicated.  Originally, they were pretty boring: estimate the width of the mouth of the fjord, estimate the height of the walls.

 

I tried revamping the questions, but it's been a long time since the last time I was there, and I can't recall any specific detail to ask better questions.  So I went with this safe, generic logging question:

 

Quote

Look around as you travel through the fjord. What evidence of glacial erosion do you see?

 

The problem with that is that it can be easily answered in two words: "The fjord."  And that'd be accurate, because it's a weak question.

 

I could add a minimum threshold: "Name at least two signs of glacial erosion," or "Other than the fjord itself, what other signs of glacial erosion do you see?"

 

So: in the immortal words of Joel Hodgson:

mst3k.jpg

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You could add a question about what you wrote in the text of the earthcache so more people might read it.

 

For example : How thick was the glacier that covered Scandinavia during the last ice age? 

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17 hours ago, hzoi said:

The problem with that is that it can be easily answered in two words: "The fjord."  And that'd be accurate, because it's a weak question.

 

What if you expanded it just a hair then? "Explain how the process of glacial erosion resulted in the formation of the fjord. Back up this explanation with an on site observation."

It's more open-ended, lets people use the terms and knowledge gained from the lesson and allows them to prove they were on site. 

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Compare two fjords or parts of the same one.  As about differences or similarities.Thow a few ideas in the write up.

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On 8/24/2018 at 2:17 AM, hzoi said:
Quote

Look around as you travel through the fjord. What evidence of glacial erosion do you see?

 

The problem with that is that it can be easily answered in two words: "The fjord."  And that'd be accurate, because it's a weak question.

 

I could add a minimum threshold: "Name at least two signs of glacial erosion," or "Other than the fjord itself, what other signs of glacial erosion do you see?"

 

That would be my suggestion - "Look around as you travel through the fjord. What evidence of glacial erosion do you see?  Name at least two specific features (or signs) that show evidence of glacial erosion."  And ensure that the write up has pointed out those features that evidence the erosion,  so rookies at geology (like me) could read the write up, look for those signs/features, recognize them as evicdence and then say so in my email to you.

 

That means I've read the write up, applied it to what I see, and learned something!  That's the whole point of an EC, to me.  And I tend to do better with specific questions like "Name two features that show ... " rather than general "What evidence do you see ... "  Whether I get it right or wrong, (and I would hope the CO would let me know either way!) I feel like I've worked the problem and been more aware of my surroundings.

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On 8/24/2018 at 2:08 AM, hzoi said:

I thought there should be a place here for cache owners to get help with both proposed and existing earthcaches. 

 

I think this is a great idea - and the rules are reasonable.  I've done a few EC's, but have yet to create one.  There's a lot near me already that I still have to complete!  If I ever do decide to try my hand at creating one, I'll surely look here for advice!!

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14 minutes ago, CAVinoGal said:

That would be my suggestion - "Look around as you travel through the fjord. What evidence of glacial erosion do you see?  Name at least two specific features (or signs) that show evidence of glacial erosion." 

 

Completely agree.

 

One strategy I tend to use is to describe on the cache page features which might typically be observable at the cache location - including some that I know for a fact will not be there.

 

Logging tasks then centre on identifying just those things which ARE at GZ - proving that the Earth Science Lesson (ESL) is generally good and that the finder(s) both learned how to identify the features I wanted them to see AND took the time to do that - at the cache location.

 

What makes that difficult with the OP's EC though is that it's a long time since they were at GZ and cannot reliably describe specific features of this nature.

 

Heck - can you even SEE such features in any detail from a boat in the middle of the water?

 

Would a trigonometry question be acceptable?  A person could combine use of a clinometer and measurements taken using Google Earth to estimate the height of the plateau above current sea level? *Except that the satellite imagery on Google Earth around the cache coordinates seems pretty low resolution and the CO still wouldn't know at this stage what the expected answer should be :(

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On 24/08/2018 at 9:08 PM, hzoi said:

Inspired by this related thread, I thought there should be a place here for cache owners to get help with both proposed and existing earthcaches. 

Only problem I see is that if this gets well used we will end up with a bunch of ECs getting discussed all mixed in with one another, some getting forgotten and bumped. A sub-forum might be a better idea.  How does one go about applying for a permit to build a new sub forum around here. I'm starting the process of building a new garage at home - do we have to get into boundary height restrictions and resource consent? ;)

 

One other suggestion- at no time, or at least only when absolutely necessary, should specifics be discussed lest any EC cheaters just trawl this for answers.

 

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6 hours ago, funkymunkyzone said:

One other suggestion- at no time, or at least only when absolutely necessary, should specifics be discussed lest any EC cheaters just trawl this for answers.

 

100% honesty, people who want to cheat are going to find a way to cheat. I'm concerned less about the 5% of people who might use this forum to cheat than the 95% of people who will get a better EC because I sought help here in refining my page and developing better questions.

 

Do too many people cheat? Yes.
Am I going to let that prevent me from getting good feedback? Nah.

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Okay looking for a little guidance.

I have four new ECs submitted and waiting to be published (Thanks to a wonderful honeymoon in Hawaii!).

I've written my first ever EC on soil composition. Looking for some feedback here on any good tasks/questions you all have found/seen for similar ECs in the wild. I've done a bit of searching myself but I thought I'd turn to the experts. 

This is what I currently have for questions.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1. At the coordinates what color is the soil? 
  2. Based on your answer to question 1, was the parent rock here mafic or felsic? Why do you suspect this?
  3. Based on your current location and the answer to question 1, what chemical process do you think is most responsible for the coloration of the soil?
  4. Describe the soil's texture. Is it fine? Coarse? Can this be attributed to chemical weathering or mechanical weathering?
  5. (Optional) Take a photo of yourself at GZ and include it with your log!

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1 hour ago, STNolan said:

Okay looking for a little guidance.

I have four new ECs submitted and waiting to be published (Thanks to a wonderful honeymoon in Hawaii!).

I've written my first ever EC on soil composition. Looking for some feedback here on any good tasks/questions you all have found/seen for similar ECs in the wild. I've done a bit of searching myself but I thought I'd turn to the experts. 

This is what I currently have for questions.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  1. At the coordinates what color is the soil? 
  2. Based on your answer to question 1, was the parent rock here mafic or felsic? Why do you suspect this?
  3. Based on your current location and the answer to question 1, what chemical process do you think is most responsible for the coloration of the soil?
  4. Describe the soil's texture. Is it fine? Coarse? Can this be attributed to chemical weathering or mechanical weathering?
  5. (Optional) Take a photo of yourself at GZ and include it with your log!

 

I can't see how anyone can gauge whether or not they've found/seen a similar EC in the wild based on the questions alone, without seeing the actual Earth Science Lesson - which makes it difficult to comment usefully.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Team Microdot said:

 

I can't see how anyone can gauge whether or not they've found/seen a similar EC in the wild based on the questions alone, without seeing the actual Earth Science Lesson - which makes it difficult to comment usefully.

 

 

 


That's fair, I was looking in general for some feedback on soils caches (and attempting to not clog up the discussion forum logs too much)

Below is the lesson I'm going for. I believe I have accurately captured all the information that I"m expecting people to answer questions to. Feedback is obviously appreciated and I look forward to tweaking my listing based on feedback. 

(And I know question 1 is kinda obvious based on the listing, but I was trying to figure out how to link it to question 2...)

Soils1.JPG

Soils2.JPG

Soils3.JPG

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1 minute ago, Team Microdot said:

Looks pretty good at first glance B)

 

Will have a proper read-through today and see if I can offer anything useful.

Thank you! I appreciate the once-over!

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3 hours ago, STNolan said:

Thank you! I appreciate the once-over!

 

OK - thinking out loud - no particular order:

 

  •  You cannot request answers via just message centre. You have to accept answers via email also.
     
  • You tell me what colour the soil is in the cache description - then ask what colour it is. Could you describe the colour in the cache description as brightly coloured / distinctively coloured or some variant thereof? This allows me to discover the colour for myself, give an indication that I ACTUALLY visited GZ, and make this a 'site-based' task which is a fairly essential ingredient which reviewers like / require.
     
  • You could then describe the colours of some different oxides and ask me which one I thought gave the soil its colour.
     
  • Question 2 then works as a site-based task rather than something I could easily answer using your cache description while sitting in my armchair.
     
  • Question 3 works likewise
  • You then tell me I'm looking at laterite soil - which I can google and find out that it's red and full of iron oxides etc. etc. etc. - enabling me again to forumlate my answers from the comfort of my armchair rather than the required site based task.

 

In summary - you've put together an excellent page there with lots of good text and images. Being a very visual person myself, too many EC's in my opinion lack good images to help me to understand and know that I'm looking at the right things at GZ.

 

The page though does need refining to make it something that requires learning at GZ rather than giving the answers away on the page or giving me enough information that I can easily get the answers via Google and Wikipedia.

 

My recommendations?

 

Very basically - think about what you want the person learn/discover/understand AT GZ. Think about what you need to teach them through your cache page so that they can make those learning / discoveries/understandings and what sort of evidence they need to provide to you to demonstrate that they did make those learnings/discoveries/understandings - and make sure at least SOME of that evidence (short of someone else just telling them the answers) can only be gathered at GZ.

 

Hope that helps in some small way.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Team Microdot
typos + afterthought
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48 minutes ago, Team Microdot said:

 

OK - thinking out loud - no particular order:

 

  •  You cannot request answers via just message centre. You have to accept answers via email also.
     
  • You tell me what colour the soil is in the cache description - then ask what colour it is. Could you describe the colour in the cache description as brightly coloured / distinctively coloured or some variant thereof? This allows me to discover the colour for myself, give an indication that I ACTUALLY visited GZ, and make this a 'site-based' task which is a fairly essential ingredient which reviewers like / require.
     
  • You could then describe the colours of some different oxides and ask me which one I thought gave the soil its colour.
     
  • Question 2 then works as a site-based task rather than something I could easily answer using your cache description while sitting in my armchair.
     
  • Question 3 works likewise
  • You then tell me I'm looking at laterite soil - which I can google and find out that it's red and full of iron oxides etc. etc. etc. - enabling me again to forumlate my answers from the comfort of my armchair rather than the required site based task.

 

In summary - you've put together an excellent page there with lots of good text and images. Being a very visual person myself, too many EC's in my opinion lack good images to help me to understand and know that I'm looking at the right things at GZ.

 

The page though does need refining to make it something that requires learning at GZ rather than giving the answers away on the page or giving me enough information that I can easily get the answers via Google and Wikipedia.

 

My recommendations?

 

Very basically - think about what you want the person learn/discover/understand AT GZ. Think about what you need to teach them through your cache page so that they can make those learning / discoveries/understandings and what sort of evidence they need to provide to you to demonstrate that they did make those learnings/discoveries/understandings - and make sure at least SOME of that evidence (short of someone else just telling them the answers) can only be gathered at GZ.

 

Hope that helps in some small way.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the feedback; based on your feedback I've made the following updates

 

1) Removed all reference to the color of the soil from the cache description. Also had to remove the "Mars" factoid, but it wasn't super relevant to the EC lesson anyway - so no big loss. 

2) Added a question based on iron oxidation looking for what element is causing the coloration.

 

Thanks for your feedback! Really helped me close the gap on the soil EC.

 

Now just got to wait for the reviewer to get through my four new ECs...

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9 minutes ago, STNolan said:

Thank you for the feedback; based on your feedback I've made the following updates

 

1) Removed all reference to the color of the soil from the cache description. Also had to remove the "Mars" factoid, but it wasn't super relevant to the EC lesson anyway - so no big loss. 

2) Added a question based on iron oxidation looking for what element is causing the coloration.

 

Thanks for your feedback! Really helped me close the gap on the soil EC.

 

Now just got to wait for the reviewer to get through my four new ECs...

 

Good luck :)

 

I noticed from the wikipedia page that the laterite soil can be used like bricks to build stuff!

 

That could also be an interesting question - do you think this soil would be better suited to farming or construction? (or something like that)

 

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Thanks for the assistance!

All four of my ECs were published today (How fortuitous that it's International Earthcaching Weekend)!

 

Most amazingly (to me) they were published the first time around without any revisions from the Geoaware! I credit that entirely with the assistance provided from reading these forums. Thank you all!

 

GC7YFVB - The Disappearing Sands of Waikiki

GC7YFRC - The Halawa Valley Earthcache
GC7Y8Z0 - The Hanging Beach - A Story of Coastal Erosion
GC7Y7YB - The Volcanic Soils of Molokai

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14 hours ago, STNolan said:

All four of my ECs were published today (How fortuitous that it's International Earthcaching Weekend)!

 

That's excellent news :D

 

 I must remember to take a look at them all tomorrow.

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