Spicing up Social Studies Classrooms with Geocaching

Geocaching: The Basics

Geocaching is a digital application that helps students take part in a scavenger hunt for hidden caches around the world. Hidden caches can be found in both urban/rural environments, such as a park bench on a busy Toronto street or under a rock next to the Bay of Fundy. Geocaching is a terrific activity that helps merge technology and the great outdoors.

Things Getting “Stale” in your Social Studies Classroom?

Are your students using twenty-year-old decaying history textbooks? Are your students “tuning out” of your class and not making connections with your curriculum?  Students have reported that social studies is boring because of its emphasis on memorization of endless facts that they say are of little importance to their lives (Rossi, 1995). It doesn’t have to be this way. With geocaching, social studies can be brought to life as students can ditch their stained and moldy textbooks for engaging inquiry-based learning activities in the “real” world.

Geocaching in the Classroom

The possibilities of geocaching go far beyond recreational use. As a classroom tool, geocaching provides authentic inquiry-based activities that support higher order thinking skills. (Lisenbee, Hallman, Landry, 2015). Geocaching also encourages students to get outside the classroom walls and make meaningful connections between technology and the natural world (Lisenbee et al, 2015). Teachers who have used geocaching praise it for facilitating students to become a community of learners where they became their own instructors (Lisenbee et al, 2015)

 Connection to the Curriculum

Geocaching lends itself well to a variety of interdisciplinary opportunities in the social studies classroom.  In history class students could use geocaching to explore a battle field where they could uncover caches that detail quotes from military leaders, journal entries from soldiers, and photographs from the time of the battle (Adam and Mowers, 2007). In geography class, geocaching can be used to help students map the community around their school or explore the meaning of longitude and latitude. Geocaching is a terrific tech tool that can help students to make meaningful “real-world” connections with the social studies curriculum.

References

Adam, A., & Mowers, H. (2007). Can you dig it? School Library Journal, 53(8), 40.

Lisenbee, P., Hallman, C., & Landry, D. (2015). Geocaching is catching students’ attention in the classroom. The Geography Teacher, 12(1), 7-16. doi:10.1080/19338341.2014.975147

Rossi, J. A. (1995). In-depth study in an issues-oriented social studies classroom. Theory & Research in Social Education, 23(2), 88-120.

Schlatter, B. E., & Hurd, A. R. (2005). GEOCACHING: 21st-century hide-and-seek. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 76(7), 28-32.

Please feel free to reply below and let me know if you have ever used geocaching in the classroom. 

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