2 Days: Getting Started With Geocaching :{o

I am not an expert geocacher. I am a novice and have only found about 15 caches over 4 years. Most of those were found at DENSI events. But I love being outdoors, searching for a goal and finding a prize. Geocaching is the largest cooperative game being played worldwide.

There are great resources out there for using geocaching in your classroom, school grounds or the community in general. If you are new to geocaching, I would strongly recommend you visit Geocaching.com  This site is the manual for what to do, how to participate, plan an event or get involved in organizations that sponsor events.

After you have visited the above site and want to get started I have a few recommendations:
Purchase the app for your phone – it is cheaper ($10) than purchasing a navigation device ($100) If you decide you like geocaching, then explore different GPS devices you might want to have.
Create a Geocache name for yourself. When you look on the site you will see name of people who placed caches and names of those who find them. Be creative. Use your Twitter handle.
Look up some local caches to find first on the site above. You know your community and the lay of the land, so you may be more successful. There are 2 covered bridges within 3 miles of my home, so I started with the Chester County covered bridge tour!
Go with other helpers. You will laugh, be frustrated and cheer together!
Keep a little kit of things you might need: 2 pencils, 2 pens, a small tablet, garden gloves(some places are messy or filled with spiders), camera or phone with camera(document your find), a rag (you never know), and tissues.
Bring some small items to trade at the cache you find. If you take something, leave something. I have used little erasers in cute shapes, fast food toys, fun things you can find at a Dollar Store.

You can adapt geocaching for just about any subject of your curriculum. Our geography teachers created a scavenger hunt with geocaches within our school campus. At each station, there was a poster with 9 photos on it like in a tic-tac-toe chart. Each station had the photos in different boxes. So when the students went from place to place they had to write down which box the volcano was located, or the tundra, arctic, rainforest etc. When they return they check their answers on a large master board. They are given the waypoint of each location on paper before leaving the classroom.
This can be done creatively with different facts from whatever students are studying. THe point is to teach them about location, geolocation and following directions!

Additional resources:
Educaching: GPS Based Curriculum for Teachers -Includes standards aligned lesson plans.
Geocahing in 16 steps: http://www.wikihow.com/Go-Geocaching
Explore resources on YouTube, Diigo or Google search for geocache
Review the different tab of information here:  http://geocacher-u.com/
GPS Lesson Plans – http://bit.ly/15UvZ3T
DEN Guru Connie Mulligan’s resources for geocaching: http://bit.ly/15UwaMt
This blog post from 2011 still has good ideas: http://elementarygeocaching.blogspot.com/
This should be enough to get you started with geocaching. Within each of the above resources, you will see many links to other sites that will be helpful as well. Get out and enjoy nature!


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