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RE: [CentralTexasGeocachers] Project ideas needed

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  • Mary Beth Booth
    Alex- I do a GPS exercise with my GIS classes at Austin Community College every semester for the last 9 years, so I have run dozens of them. It has slowly
    Message 1 of 10 , Apr 1, 2008
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      I do a GPS exercise with my GIS classes at Austin Community College every semester for the last 9 years, so I have run dozens of them. It has slowly evolved into a format that I think works really well. I set it up as basically a multi-cache. I hide camo'd film canisters around campus. Each student gets his/herown GPS but the work in teams of 2 (mostly for safety reasons because one time a recent transplant to Austin who didn't know he was allergic to fire ants got bit while doing the exercise and went into anaphylactic shock & almost died). Each group gets a set of coords for one of the film canisters and they each get a different one to start with. Since I usually have 8 students, I hide 4 film canisters. Then they go find them just like a regular multi-cache. The only difference is that I have multiple slips of paper with the next coords on them in each canister, so everyone takes the paper with the next coods from each canister. Then when they collect all the coord papers from all the canisters, they come back to the starting point, show me the 5 slips of paper (the original I gave them & the 4 they collected from the canisters) & then they can choose a prize. I used to hide the prize container as well, but one semester, it got muggled and then thrown in PI between when I hid it at 11:30am & when the students found it at 1:30pm.
      The prizes are never anything big because, did I mention, I work at ACC? I just did this exercise right before Easter, so there was lots of Easter candy in there (because it was on sale). There are also things I collect all year like lanyards, CD cases, free trial versions of GIS software, etc. I give away 1 or 2 bigger prizes - always a T-shirt & sometimes also a GIS book. I just put the name of everyone who completed the exercise into a hat & draw the winner(s). I used to give the prize to the first group who finished, but stopped that (again for safety reasons - they were running through the parking lots on the FTF chase totally engrossed in their GPS's and totally oblivious to all the cars driving around the parking lots trying to run them over. And one semester, someone tripped & fell while running & tore up their leg. You never like to see blood for liability reasons). Of course, you will have the luxury of planning this at a time & in an area where traffic won't be a concern. But I would still have them sign a release & make sure that you have contact info & medical info on them (who to contact in an emergency with telephone number, who their primary physician is, any meds they are taking, any allergies they have and anything else they would want an ER doc to know if they were unconscious). Then destroy that info as soon as you get done and everyone has left (for HIPPA reasons). I still remember the EMT guys asking me "Is he taking any medications? Is he allergic to anything? Does he have diabetes?", etc as my student was lying there having seizures. We didn't even realize he had been bitten by a fire ant & he had never had a reaction like that to any insect bite so he didn't have an EPI pen. All I could tell the EMT was "His name is X". It was a helpless feeling.
      After we get all done the exercise, then I say "If you enjoyed running around looking for hidden film canisters covered with camo duct tape, have I got a sport for you". Then I show them the GC site & explain it to them. It's a lot of fun & I have gotten several converts to caching, the most famous of whom is celebrating 2K this weekend at Pedernales.
      Using punches at each station is a good idea , but hiding film canisters with papers inside is way easier. And as we all know, you can hide film canisters almost anywhere - big cement blocks would be hard to hide. If muggles aren't a problem, then it would be fun to vary the container sizes (to emulate the types of real caches they will encounter in the "real world" of caching LOL) and to hide the final cache with the prizes in it.
      A few weeks ago, I asked on this forum for a volunteer to help me run it this year because Pat had to work. You should have come to see it in action. But you probably have a real job so you just couldn't decide to take a Wed. afternoon off. It's a lit of fun but it's a lot of prep work for me. The students love it - it's their favorite thing we do all semester
       Mary Beth

      From: CentralTexasGeocachers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CentralTexasGeocachers@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Alex Alexander
      Sent: Monday, March 31, 2008 10:16 AM
      To: CentralTexasGeocachers@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [CentralTexasGeocachers] Project ideas needed

      Hi all

      I have an opportunity to apply for a grant of anything up to $10,000
      to fund a community project. There is a VERY loose remit about what
      kind of projects qualify. It has to be new and it has to provide
      some kind of service to the community and or kids in that community
      that is not already being met. So no taking something old and revamping it.

      One of the examples of a project from last year was setting up an
      orienteering course, training local schoolkids and organising a
      competition between schools at the end.

      It struck me that I can substitute geocaching for orienteering and do
      something to help local schools teach the kids about GPSRs,
      coordinate systems and navigation.

      Ten grand could buy a whole load of yellow etrexes.

      On the down side, would it run the risk of letting the "bad kids"
      know what we do and risk wholesale muggling of local caches?

      I need thoughts and ideas please.

      Alex (Slytherin)

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    • bharris202
      My sister is a fifth grade teacher and geocacher. She sets up event caches to teacher her fifth graders navigation skills and they have a ball. I am a Cub
      Message 2 of 10 , Apr 1, 2008
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        My sister is a fifth grade teacher and geocacher.  She sets up "event" caches to teacher her fifth graders navigation skills and they have a ball.  I am a Cub Scout leader and the boys have found it to be "high adventure" and they can earn belt loops by utilizing it.  I don't think you could go wrong in spending it on kids...providing the teacher utilized "event caches" rather than the "real McCoy".  They can learn mapping skills, navigation skills, geography, etc.
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