Introducing Geocaching to Students
Getting Startedfound here.
How does GPS work?
A good initial activity is to turn the handheld unit on and get students to observe the initial page which shows the unit acquiring a satellite. The Trimble web site has animations that explain what is going on, however this presentation rapidly gets complicated.
You may want to continue with a discussion around some of the limitations of GPS navigation:
- The blocking of radio signals from GPS satellites by solid objects
- Information you get in the field from a GPS is straight-line navigation, does not consider obstacles
- Elevation information not as accurate (EPE - estmated position error)
- GPS needs velocity to determine direction you are heading (distance = velocity / time)
- Depends on batteries
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What is a Waypoint?
What is a Basemap?
Basic basemaps are usually included in your GPS unit. They give you navigation information of fixed features in a given area; for example rivers, lakes, cities and towns. You might explore the details of the information of your current location with your students. What is included and what is missing?
What is a Track?
What information can be recorded with a GPS?
A good activity would be to get students to reset the trip computer and then compete with each other over 5 minutes to see who can record the fastest speed or travel the furthest distance. A more sedate activity would be to find the highest elevation in the school grounds.
Lynn M. Lary an Instructional Technology Specialist from Eugene, Oregon has produced some nice documents for introducing geocaching to your students.
- Ideas for Introducing GPS to Your Students (RTF document)
- Entering Waypoints on a Magellan (PDF document)
- Sample Geocaching Hints (RTF document)
- Sample Student Worksheets (RTF document)
- Cache Logsheets/Student Directions (RTF document)
Other resources that you may find useful are:
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