As an Outdoor enthusiast I have always enjoyed the challenge of getting outside and exploring the natural environment. This enjoyment is what made me seek a career within the Physical and Outdoor Education fields. Flash forward to today’s students and there is sadly an ever growing mix of kids who simply do not leave their house during the course of the day.
Technology is often mentioned as one of the biggest distractions when it comes to today’s kids and their ability to get active. However technology can and should be used in a way that not only brings new possibilities but actively encourages kids to get off the couch and into the outdoors. Here are a few tools and activities that utilise Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that seek to do exactly that.
Geocaching which is actually pronounced geo-cashing, is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure. A geocacher can place a geocache anywhere in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache. Check out the introductory video below.
A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammo boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value.
Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica After 10 years of activity there are over 1.1 million active Geocaches published on various websites devoted to the activity such as www.geocaching.com
How to use in your Physical Education/Outdoor Ed classroom?
- Have your students race to find a series of Geocaches around your town that require them to work as a team to solve puzzles in order to receive the next geocache co-ordinate.
- Complete an active revision session for an exam by hiding questions at geocaches around your school. Students then have to track them down and answer to move to the next cache. This is a really engaging and active way to revise, that gets your students out of the classroom. (for more information see my blog post at here)
- Use Geocaching as a way to explore interesting natural environments in your local area. Simply setup geocaches at a point of interest and include a series of questions or discussion prompts for the location. This forces students to think that little bit deeper about the place they are visiting.
- Use a series of geocaches on the school oval or local park to teach anatomical concepts. Basically each geocache would represent a piece of the human anatomy and students would walk around discovering the caches in a sequential order. For example a teacher could set up a chain of caches that took students through a simulation of how the blood or oxygen flows through the body. This would allow kinesthetic learning minded students the opportunity to cement their understanding.