Teaching Geocaching to Kids

4th Grade “Teach-in” Instructs Students How To Geocache

“As an automation consultant, I thought I could provide them (the fourth graders) valuable insight on the finer points of automating a manufacturing facility or warehouse,” says Greg Hammack when asked about his recent fourth grade ‘teach-in’ experience.

“However,” he continued, “Geocaching sounded more interesting, so I went with that.”

The objective of a Teach-in, according to Hammack, is to invite outsiders into the classroom to teach students about real-world topics.

“I wanted to introduce geocaching to the students for several reasons: It’s a fun outdoor activity; it’s something they can do with their families, and we need more cachers in Oviedo, Florida!”

The students were excited by the presentation and were thrilled to learn that there were 13 caches within a 1-mile radius of their school.

Geocaching has the potential to provide unique and enjoyable educational opportunities. Daniel Hammack, 9, discovered this first-hand when his father presented geocaching to Daniel’s fourth-grade classroom through a “Teach-in.”

During the Teach-in, the students learned about GPS technology, went in search of caches and ultimately created a cache of their own.

Here is Daniel’s story: “My name is Daniel Hammack, and I attend Lawton Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida. In November my fourth-grade class had a Teach-in where people from outside my school come in and teach us about business, hobbies, and other stuff. That day we had several speakers, but my favorite was the one who came in and taught us about Geocaching.”

“Geocaching is an activity where you use a handheld GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to find hidden treasure in the woods or parks. People (geocachers) hide a treasure box of toys and other stuff in the woods and record the location using the GPS. Then they post the Geocache and coordinates on the web for everybody to find. You plug the coordinates into your GPS and then go out and try to find the hidden treasure. After you find it, you can trade items and you can log your find on the website.”

“Our guest speaker’s geocaching name was CacheMonkeez. He did a really cool PowerPoint presentation with a lot of pictures in it. His presentation explained how Geocaching worked. After the presentation, my whole class was excited and we all clapped for CacheMonkeez. But the fun was not over.”

“After the presentation, we divided into two teams. CacheMonkeez loaned each team a GPS with coordinates already plugged into them. Each team had to find a micro-cache (a small cache) on school grounds.”

Next, he showed us how to use the GPS screens to locate the cache.“Next, he showed us how to use the GPS screens to locate the cache. Then each team went out and searched for their micros. My team found our micro first, then the other team found theirs soon after. We opened up our micro-cache and it contained little slips of paper with a Geocaching website on it:(www.geocaching.com).”

“On the lid of my team’s micro-cache, it said, ‘oak and pine.’ The lid on the other team’s micro-cache said, ‘Between.’ We put the two phrases together to form the hint for the final cache: ‘Between oak and pine’. There was another cache and it was between an oak tree and a pine tree! Off we went sprinting to where we thought it might be.”

“A friend of mine, Tyler, found the geocache right where the hint said it would be, between a pine and oak tree. The Geocache was full of cool colored rocks, enough for each kid in my class. What a fun adventure! The best Teach-in ever, but there was even more!”

“CacheMonkeez left the Geocache container in our classroom, and over the next week, each kid put some stuff in it. Then CacheMonkeez hid the geocache and put it on the website. Now we watch the website as different geocachers find the Geocache and trade items.”

“And you know the best part of this Teach-in? CacheMonkeez is my dad!”