We were walking down an abandoned country road and it was cold, wet and rainy. Two large, angry dogs followed us. Their owner, an upset farmer from across the road, soon joined them.

And it was a great day because my son and I were geocaching.

Geocaching is a treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to hide and seek containers. The weatherproof containers are called caches and contain such “treasures” as trinkets, small toys, inexpensive trade items or coins. Most caches also contain a logbook to record finds.

While geocaching and the use of GPS devices did not originally start as an educational activity, there are some opportunities for geography and social studies teachers to use the idea. You can find a good example of a geocaching / gps lesson plan at the Alabama Learning Exchange.

There are also lots of resources online:

The granddaddy of geocaching sites. Membership is free allowing you to record and locate caches. Some nice info here.
The favorite grandson of geocaching sites. Much like the grandfather but claims to be more selective in hosting “fun, memorable and challenging caches.”
“Cacheopedia is a wiki-based online encyclopedia, reference, and guide for the sport of geocaching. It is a source for geocaching FAQs, articles, definitions, guides, and a whole lot more.”
A Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching
A basic overview of the process with some nice tutorials
Geocaching with Kids
Some good suggestions and ideas for using caching with kids as well as a few more links.
Geocacher University
A large site with lots of tips, downloads and caching links (though I could do without the ads!)

The dogs and angry farmer?

We made a new friend who, when he found out that there was treasure buried just across his yard, called off his dogs and joined in the search!

Have fun!

“Farmer.” MadMonk’s Photostream 26 July 2006. 17 Apr 2008 http://www.flickr.com/photos/zarwan/200240253/.