These are my notes from Beth Goodwin’s 3 hour workshop, “Geocaching In and Out of the Classroom” at the ACTEM 2009 conference in Augusta, Maine, on 15 October 2009. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Let’s setup accounts on geocaching.com first today
– for students, I have them do this at home with their parents
– many of my kids are 12, under 13

There are 8 Geocaches within 1/2 mile of our workshop room today 🙂

Beth has Garmin eTrex Venture HC GPS units from her school, as well as Garmin eTrex Legend units.

Beth brings supplies
– Geocache travel bug info
– extra stickers

Inside a geocache there is always a logbook, which finders sign with the date, info about animals
– often “swag” is also included in geocaches
– I get lots of stuff from the dollar store
– examplesP pedometer, toys from McDonalds and other stores
– I have a fishing tackle geocache
– have a New Hampshire turnpike token
– small slinkeys and other toys
– an ice cream scoop
– those are more “high end” swag items

Geocaching etiquette is all about trading items of equal value
– you put in a cheap item, take a comparable item

As a cache owner, you are responsible for the maintenance of the cache

Travel bug is an item that moves from cache to cache
– get the dog tag from geocaching.com and then attach it to an item
– then tell geocaching.com with the dog tag serial number

dog tags cost about $5

There are nano caches, which are magnetized and have a small logbook
– next size is small cylinder

I’ve seen old Samsonite suitcases as geocaches
– old ammo boxes are common and work well

Plastic gallon size mayo jars from the cafeteria lunchroom work really well

I use this as part of my Maine studies in school each year
– the students create a new geocache at some historically significant location in our town, Wells

“Muggles” are people who do not know about the “magic” of geocaching

If you are in a “high muggle area” like downtown Portland, you might pretend to talk on the phone

international sign for a geocache is a stack or pile of sticks
– usually you want to leave at least a corner of the geocache exposed to view

There are some retired engineers out there who make it their life’s mission to be the first to find new caches (they will leave a movie

Story of my cache by the Wells Rec/Hobbs Pond Cache
– got flooded out
– was muggled several times

sometimes goecaches will be identified:
– with a label that says “NOT TRASH”
– with an official Geocaching sticker

You cannot place a cache on federal public property
– must get specific permission from a private property owner to place on private property
– don’t put them in dangerous places

I’ve had a travel bug “muggled”
– I attached one to a large seashell, and it got lost in Quebec somewhere

Geocaches are rated from a “1” to “5”
– 1 is easy, paved road
– 5 is very difficult, may involve climbing

sometimes GPS reception problems can make it harder to find a cache

[END OF SESSION NOTES]

AFTER OUR CLASSROOM TIME, WE WENT OUT AND DID A PRACTICE GEOCACHE (A NANO CACHE) RIGHT OUTSIDE THE AUGUSTA CONVENTION CENTER.

A nano geocache

THEN WE WENT AND FOUND SOME NEARBY GEOCACHES ON THE BEAUTIFUL TRAILS RIGHT BY THE CONVENTION CENTER. SARAH USED OUR GARMIN ETREX LEGEND HCX GPS UNIT, I USED THE GEOCACHING.COM IPHONE APP ON MY IPHONE GS. WE LOOKED FOR 3 GEOCACHES, FOUND ONE, AND LOGGED TWO “FROM THE FIELD” VIA THE IPHONE APP. WHAT FUN! NEXT TIME WE’LL DRESS BETTER FOR GEOCACHING WITH HIKING BOOTS AND JEANS!

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Geocache found!

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3 Responses to Geocaching In and Out of the Classroom by Beth Goodwin

  1. John Weidner says:

    My in-laws were big into geocaching until they went hunting for one cache and had their car broken into while they were out looking for it. So I’d warn that you should be careful going to new caches.

    All my iPhone equipped office mates are now big into gowalla which kind of sounds like a new spin on geocaching.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for letting me know about Gowalla, John. I downloaded the app and will give it a try.

  3. […] participating in Beth Goodwin’s ACTEM 2009 workshop last week (“Geocaching In and Out of the Classroom”) and hearing how much fun her own students have had creating geocaches in historical sites of […]

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