Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Educaching! ~TOS Crew Review


let the hunt for learning begin!
What is Educaching? Jason Hubbard, a 5th grade teacher, created a full curriculum that combines geocaching and education to create an exciting learning adventure! The GPS based curriculum is for teachers grades 4-8, but can easily be adapted (homeschoolers love that word!) up or down. For this review, I received the electronic version [PDF format] of the Teacher's Manual.


It is a large manual [128 pages] and is divided into five parts:
  • Teacher Training: includes explanation and internet links about GPS technology; terminology, overview of equipment/gear
  • Lesson Plans: beginner, intermediate and advanced lesson plans on mostly math and science related subjects (there’s some language arts, social studies, and physical education). Each lesson has a list of National Teaching Standards that it meets.
  • Field sheets: worksheets from the lesson plans that students use to complete as they find their “caches”
  • Acquiring GPS: This section is more applicable to traditional schools as it goes into details about how to obtain GPS units at no cost (e.g., grants/grant writing). For homeschoolers, Walmart carries a great, basic Garmin GPS for $76!
  • Beyond the Basics: additional ideas for implementing GPS technology with educational learning.
When given the opportunity to review the 'educaching' program, I knew it would be something we could easily do, since we started geocaching [as a family] about two years ago and we know how to use our GPS quite well! But don't worry if you are a beginner...the first section of the manual is perfect for beginners, you will learn all you need to know! After downloading the manual I started reading through it and I quickly realized that this manual is written for the public education, classroom setting, but it can be adapted for homeschools and homeschool co-ops fairly easily. There are lots of lesson plans to choose from and I decided to try the 'Dino Discovery' lesson, because my 8-year-old loves science and loves dinosaurs and loves our GPS, so this was going to be a 'triple treat' for him!

ALL the materials you need are lined out in the lesson plans. It's nicely organized and easy to follow! For the 'Dino Discovery' lesson...I made a map of where I wanted to hide the 5 caches and proceeded to make 3 copies of the 'dinosaur bones' [on red, yellow, and blue cardstock], cut out the pieces, mixed all the bones up, and put them in 5 different baggies. I hid the caches and my hubby helped me set the waypoints. The kids 'hunted' for the dino bones and once found, we sorted the colors and they each worked on creating their dino. They had a great time and I was amazed at how well they used the GPS and worked together to find the caches. Fun, cooperative learning...gotta love it!

Educaching...what a neat concept! It will be easy to incorporate some of the other lessons into my homeschooling and I've already got lots of ideas to create my own lessons. I'm very pleased with the concept and the manual. I think it is a wonderful resource for homeschoolers, especially those that are interested in geocaching.

Read more Educaching reviews from my TOS Crew members HERE.

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