What do pirates, 2nd graders, gps units, and math all have in common? Pirate geocaching, of course!
This summer, I had the opportunity to work with a great bunch of 2nd graders during summer school. This group loved technology, and so I decided to organize a Math review using our GPS units. Since it was summer time, and we were reading stories about pirates and the ocean, the theme naturally lent itself to pirates! Plus pirates are really fun!!
So, here’s how it all went down:
1) I organized the caches the students needed to find around the pirate theme. At each cache, students needed to solve a 2nd grade math problem to know what to bring back to the “Captain.” A big thanks to Joani Sotherden, Kathy Smith and Diane Rose for this part of the project! They helped me come up with the problems for each cache.
Download cache questions (Print on Avery size 8164 labels).
Here are pictures of the caches and their contents:
Next, Meg Swecker joined me one afternoon to help find great hiding spots for the six caches around South Salem Elementary. We programed in each location on six gps units.
Judy Fisher (the other second grade teacher) and I rounded up some adults to help lead each group. We also organized our two 2nd grade classes into six different teams of four students each. Then morning before the event, we hid the caches in their spots. A clipboard was made for each team that consisted of:
- a ziplock baggie (for the loot)
- a list of caches to find (in a different order for each team)
- scrap paper
- the rules and tips and tricks and job responsibilities
- a pencil
Download Directions and Tips and Tricks
Right before we went out to do the activity, we gave the students pirate hats (free from Long John Silvers), set up the scenario, gave some basic rules, and assigned teams.
Each team was given their clipboard. The adults quickly showed their group of students how to use the gps units, and they were off!
It was so much fun! Everyone had a blast, and I was amazed to see students who struggled to complete work at their desks take lead rolls as they trekked around the schoolyard solving math problems.
A big thanks to all those people who showed up to learn about geocaching or to lend a hand, including…
Co-Teacher: Judy Fisher (she also supplied the awesome pirate hats)
Group Leaders: Judy’s son–“Mr. Fisher,” Hunter Routt, Sherri Tompkins, Debbie Stanley
Photographer : Diane Rose
Math Problems: Joani Sotherden, Kathy Smith and Diane Rose
Partner-in-Crime: Meg Swecker (who’s always up for an adventure, pirate or otherwise)
Here are some other fun pirate resources:
Magic Treehouse: Pirates at Past Noon by Mary Pope Osbourne
Do Pirates Take Baths? by Kathy Tucker
(This book is great for a writing prompt, especially writing asking and telling sentences).
Read 10 comments
What a great idea! I just started Geocaching myself and was looking for ways to use it with my second graders. This looks like fun (and educational!) and I know my class will love it!
Thank you for all of the details. The cache questions and pictures of the caches are very helpful.
Awesome idea and nice to see something like this for the younger grades. I think this is something I will have to try out for sure this year and maybe use it as a way to encourage techintegration with other teachers at the elementary level. You might also want to check out http://arrrpirates.wikispaces.com/.
Thanks for the comment on my blog. The students had a lot of fun doing the voicethreads though it tool a long time with just one computer!!
I loved the math problems that you incorporated with the geocaching Pirate adventure. Very creative! Thank you for all of the downloads, too. Very helpful!
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This looks crazy fun – I’m pirate geocaching on talk like a pirate day for sure! (September 19 – its a Saturday – but the Firday is close enough!)
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I loved your idea and would like to try it in my classroom. Where did you get your GPS units?
Our set of 6 Garmen eTrex Legend GPS units were bought for our division through the Blue Ridge Consortium, which is funded through a Federal Grant (Title II D). There has been talk of some of our school PTAs buying more now that there is so much interest. We have found we are able to work with 6 units per class, though it would be nice to have 10-12. If you need info on what to buy, I suggest you check out the http://www.geocaching.com site. They have a buying guide and reviews. Hope that helps!
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