As a culminating event to an orienteering unit, first-graders took their learning outside with GPS units. Under the guidance of fifth-grade student leaders, the first graders learned how to program and navigate with the GPS units.
Global Positioning System (GPS) is a technology that is obviously embedded in our students’ everyday lives. This technology can help students explore real-world problems in an interdisciplinary and engaging way. When you combine this technology, with gamification, you get geocaching. Geocaching is an activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates.
To prepare for the navigation activity, the fifth-grade student leaders set up a geocaching course for the first graders. During the outdoor activity, students work in groups and used GPS units to locate various waypoints in the schoolyard at BFA that were hidden but the fifth-grade leaders to gather puzzle pieces.
First-graders persevered as teams to navigate and seek the geocaches using their problem-solving skills to reach their goal of finding the hidden caches. Each team member took turns in different roles as they helped contribute to their teams.
After successfully finding all 25 geocaches, the first-grade team returned to their classes and used the puzzle pieces they had gathered to completed the final stage of the challenge, making a final map.
A special thanks to the hardworking fifth-grade student leaders who made this all possible. Their leadership with the lower grades students was a valuable lesson for all.