As part of my implementation of GPS technology in the classroom I decided to take my students on a day long caching trip to find geocaches on the www.geocaching.com network. When I hind caches around the school they fit my curriculum goals, but they aren’t “real” geocaches. Today was a day to explore and find caches hidden by other cachers.
As a class we’ve added a real cache to the network: Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Planning started by finding a location with a reasonable cache density in a small area. I found a perfect area in the river valley in Lethbridge, Alberta. There are caches close together, of different sizes, and in varied terrain. Some are up in the coulees (small valleys leading into a larger valley), some down in the trees, there were large caches, micros, and even a multicache.
I had six groups (only because I have 6 GPS units) With 42 students I had 7 students in each group and at least one adult. The students took turns with the GPS receivers. I started each group at a different cache and gave them a detailed route to follow. The students are very familiar with the GPS units, but I wanted to make sure the parents were comfortable. I also gave the students hints that were covered up and they could uncover if they needed help. The goal was for the students to be successful and find as many caches as possible, so with some planning they were successful. I waypointed bathrooms and water spigots so the students could easily find them. I added three Bonus caches that they could try if they got done the other nine planned caches along their route.
In the afternoon we went to our second location to have lunch, play some capture the flag to break up the day, and found three more caches. I invited another class to come with us, a class I had cached with eariler in the year and who were very enthusiastic about the entire process. We hid a new cache in their honour. Check in out here: Flip for Baker
The secret to a good caching trip is to plan and plan some more. Have an information page for parents with tips, have a route planned out, different fore ach group, with cache names and the Geocaching label that shows up on the units (such as GC1811W). Have the caches preloaded on the GPS units. Go out ahead of time and check to make sure the caches are in place and in a safe location before you send the students.
Have fun and happy caching!