Our Grade 4 students visited the Senior School last week to spend their morning geocaching with the Grade 9 Geography students, using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. Head of Geography Kirsten Davel had hidden small toys and trinkets around the campus, which the students could find only by using their GPS to lead them to specific locations.
Geocaching is a world-wide trend that has sprung out of the wide availability of GPS. Geocachers are given the latitude and longitude location of caches – small containers holding things of slight value – and use GPS to find them. To prepare the children for their search, Mrs. Davel visited the Junior School to teach the children how to use GPS, and how to set their own waypoints – coordinates that pinpoint a physical place.
The Grade 9 students acted as guides for the activity, letting the younger students lead the way. The students used the GPS to find points by watching the numbers on the tracker get higher or lower, and going in the direction that would bring the numbers displayed by the GPS closer to the numbers on their chart of cache locations.
Inside each cache were rewards such as bouncy balls, fun pens, and hair clips. Usually, geocachers take one item from each cache, and replace it with something else. In lieu of this, Mrs. Davel had the Junior students collect items for the food bank in exchange for the small toys they were allowed to take from each cache that they found.