Saturday, October 2, 2010

Geocaching, A "Rewarding" Experience

A few years ago our schools adopted SWEBS (School Wide Effective Behavior Support). Unfortunately my understanding of SWEBS is limited as I was just leaving the classroom as it was being adopted. Every teacher has the same set of expectations for students... that they be ready, respectful, and responsible. As part of this approach, students can earn school money that can be spent in a variety of ways. Routinely a school store on wheels makes its rounds to classrooms where students can purchase school supplies and novelties with their school money. Teachers offer other ways to spend the loot, such as having lunch with the teacher, getting extra computer time, or earning an extra recess.

One school, Lakeside Elementary, offers students another opportunity to spend their "Lakeside Loot." Each month the SWEBS team comes up with larger rewards. This month it is GEOCACHING!  Thanks to a mini grant from PAECT, I have ten GPS receivers that we can utilize!  So, in a nutshell, we have a few hundred students paying their hard earned money to use GPS receivers to find hidden treasures on the school grounds.

Here is how I set it up:

1. Purchased 10 Lock N Lock containers and created labels for them. "Lakeside Geocache A, B, C..."
2. Purchased 10 different kids of stickers, placing one kind in each container
3. Found 10 hiding spots and noted the latitude/longitude coordinates of each one
4. Loaded these 10 spots (waypoints) into EasyGPS and sent them to GPS receivers
5. Created a map, complete with pictures, for those helping guide students

Here is how it will work:

1. Students will get a 15 minute orientation on the sport and how to read the receivers.
2. In small groups, students will be assigned an order to follow. This way every group isn't searching for Geocache A at the same time.
3. Groups venture outside and search for their caches. When they find a cache, they take a sticker from the cache to put on an index card. This is their proof that they found the caches.
4. Follow up with be a brief refection piece.... what did you learn, did you enjoy the activity, and what could be changed to make the experience better?

I will check back in after and let you know how it went!

Reflections:  Things went according to plan for 4th and 5th grade. If I had it to do over again I would send an adult with each 3rd grade group. They handled the activity well, but could've used a little more assistance. I was very thankful for the help of two teachers... they stayed with their classes. :)

Our experience was captured in the newspaper!


Chris said...

Thanks for sharing this. I would love to get some of our schools geochaching. I am not completely familiar with this, so sharing how you set this up is extremely helpful. I love the fact that people are willing to share what they do to help others. Can't wait to see the follow-up post for results and/or improvements. Hope you all have fun!

Dave said...

Excellent idea, I'm sure a lot of teachers will find this blog post very useful and a lot of students will have great fun learning the ways of Geocaching and basic orientation skills!

Hope you don't mind if I link to this from our blog on The Geocaching Shop