HAGS! (Have A Geocaching Summer)

Posted on April 27, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

by Kevin Merritt, Instructional Technology Facilitator

I don’t know about you, but I think we went from Winter straight into Summer!  State testing is right around the corner, and SUMMER BREAK is within reach!  Don’t forget to sign your students’ yearbooks with HAGS!  It has a new meaning, though.  Have a great summer can become have a GEOCACHING summer!

As you think about what to do this summer – aside from attending the UPSTATE TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE on June 23, 24, and 25 – you might consider doing a little geocaching yourself.  It is a great opportunity to get outside, absorb some Vitamin D, and have a little fun.   Remember, you need to “catch some rays” for a minimum of 15 minutes per day to get your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D.  Go have a little fun while improving your health!

What is Geocaching, you ask?  Follow this link for some great information about the sport.  Be sure to sign up for a free basic membership at the main site:  www.geocaching.com.  Once you get in, you can look for caches by address, zip code, or latitude/longitude coordinates.

Now that you are signed up and have found some caches near your location, you need a device that will help you locate these “treasures.”  A car GPS unit will actually work.  Most car GPS units have a screen buried somewhere  in the menu system that shows that latitude and longitude coordinates.  It is typically the screen that also shows the satellites and their signal strengths.  This will do the job.  Keep in mind that the battery only lasts for about 2-3 hours with car units, but it is certainly a great way to start without spending any extra money.  You can also purchase handheld units specifically designed for this activity.  They feature longer battery life and many are designed so that you can download the coordinates directly from www.geocaching.com into the unit via USB cable.

As you look for caches, remember that a GPS will get you within 10-20 feet of the “prize.”  You will have to use your “powers of observation” to actually find the treasure container.  When you look up the cache on the geocaching website, you will find “hints” further down the page.  These can be especially helpful to “newbies” who are learning about the sport.  It definitely can cut down on the frustration of running around in circles for 30 minutes while people gaze at your strange behavior!

There is more information about geocaching than I can put in this blog post.  If you are interested in learning more about geocaching, email me!  kmerritt@greenville.k12.sc.us. I would be happy to present a workshop for you and/or your fellow teachers.  I can also help you select appropriate GPS units based on your budget and interests.  Let me know how I can help you.

Don’t forget:  Beware of MUGGLES!



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[…] I have been using the app on my iPhone to find caches. In the session we used handheld GPS units. Read what Kevin writes about Geocaching here.  There are lots of ways to use Geocaching in the classroom. Can’t wait to try it with my 5th […]

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