Geocaching for Grade 8s

Our sons go to a school with a fantastic outdoor eduction program. Every school year, each grade enjoys two overnight trips (minimum one night, maximum four nights away).

One trip each year is to a wonderful piece of land bordered along one side by a creek. It’s about 90 minutes NE of Calgary; the landowners kindly make the property available for the students to enjoy: animal games, sing-alongs around the campfire, wetland studies, night hikes, playing in the creek, and this year – for the first time – geocaching!!
To prepare for the upcoming Grade 8 trip, we pulled out of our driveway about 9:15 this morning to drive to Camp Sweet and set out a series of geocaches. These temporary hides don’t contain much; in consultation with the teachers, we decided that trading for swag would be hard to manage with 100 students going through the activity over 2 days. And instead of a logsheet, we put a shaped-hole punch in each container; students will carry an index card and punch their cards at each geocache, as proof of their find.
The six small- or regular-sized containers also contain a clue to the coordinates for a harder-to-find micro cache. This bonus cache contains a secret word for students to note down on their index cards as proof of find. We also place one challenging stand-alone micro (which also contains a secret word). For this cache, the teachers provided a series of multiple choice questions we used to put together a puzzle front-end, so the students have to remember what they learned in math class over the course of the year in order to derive the cache coordinates.
We stayed to one end of property, so as to minimize the chance of interference with equipment put out for the animal game. As a result, the temporary caches are closer together than the standard Groundspeak minimum spacing requirements would allow. But the students only have 90 minutes for the geocaching activity, including a bit of an orientation to how the GPS units work, solving the puzzle and entering the coordinates for the 7 stand-alone caches.
We think there’s a nice mix of containers and hiding techniques, including one birdhouse cache that we improvised using an old, fallen-down birdhouse we found on the property.

Since Mrs. GeoK is going along as a parent volunteer on the second trip, she’ll report back in a couple weeks. If you’re interested in what the teachers and students have to see, check back after June 6.

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