Introduction Lesson: 3rd Grade Students
The VoiceThread embedded below was created by third grade students after completing the WebQuest "The Basics of GPS and Geocaching" investigating GPS systems and their use in the sport of geocaching. The objectives of the WebQuest were:

  • Students will critically read Web sites to answer essential questions about GPS and geocaching.

  • Students will understand how GPS devices receive signals from GPS satellites.

  • Students will understand how GPS devices can be used in the sport of geocaching.

  • Students will be able to list the basic rules of geocaching.

  • Students can define and/or explain GPS and geocaching vocabulary such as latitude, longitude, altitude, waypoint, cache, and travel bug.

Introduction Lesson: 4th Grade Students

Instead of sharing a Power Point or websites to define geocaching and teach the basics of GPS, I gave the students a list of essential questions to answer. No resources or websites were given, just a blank Inspiration map with questions and space for answers. Students were then told to find the answers independently, using any resource they thought would be helpful. (My reasoning for not giving students the sites to find the answers was to assess how they approach using the Web for research.) Some students launched Firefox and searched my “interesting links” page thinking I left them resources. Others, immediately went to Google and searched for geocaching. A few students decided to use as their search engine, typing in the essential questions exactly as I worded them on the recording sheet.
Essential questions included:

1. What exactly is geocaching?

2. What does the word mean?

3. What tools are needed?

4. What is a cache?

5. What is GPS?

6. What is Cache In, Trash Out?

7. Are there any rules for geocaching?
After about 25 minutes of independent research, the students gathered on the floor with their research sheets. We then completed an Inspiration map together as a class to make sure everyone had a basic understanding of geocaching and GPS systems.

Word Splash:

Use the word splash below as either a pre- or post- assessment. Give the students five minutes to write a short paragraph using all the words. If used as a pre-test, ask a few students to read theirs aloud. If used as a post-test, collect the papers to check for student understanding.

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