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Mathematics, Geocaching and Fun

September 23, 2012

Our grade 7 and 8 students at SMUS embarked on a geocaching adventure to start the year. The goal of the three days was to show students how mathematics can be used outside of the classroom and have some fun while doing it. In an ideal world I hoped that students would become engaged in geocaching and develop a new hobby.

Over the course of three classes students had the chance to learn how a GPS works,enter coordinates into their GPS and try to find geocaches around campus. It was amazing to see 11 groups of students crossing the campus looking for little plastic boxes in bushes, under trees and behind various objects.

In order to meet our learning objective, we designed the classes so that students had to solve mathematical “puzzles” to move from one cache to another. Using this design we were able to meet our two primary goals:

  1. Checking prior knowledge for our grade 8 classes.
  2. Pre-assessment of our grade 7 classes.

In addition we found students had a chance to:

  1. Develop referents for distances between 20 and 250 metres.
  2. Work as a team to collaboratively solve problems.
  3. Examine circles though as part of understanding errors in GPS measurement.
  4. Solve problems to find caches not easily visible.
  5. Reason to determine possible errors in calculations and measurements.

Perhaps the most important of all, students came to math class with a smile on their face and were keen to learn. Does it get any better than that?

You can also read about our geocaching adventure on the SMUS blog, A Treasure Hunt Without a Map or watch a 2 minute video to learn how geocaching works. If anyone else has used geocaching in their math classroom I would love to hear what worked well for you.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2013 1:37 am

    Thanks for sharing up–to-date on this subject! I find it is very informative and very well written one! Keep up on this quality!
    ———–

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  1. Geocaching In STEM Classrooms -- Using High Tech Hide & Seek to Engage Students

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