Friday, January 23, 2015

Geocaching with Venture Outdoors!

In December we shared our Indoor Adventures with Venture Outdoors, and we shared that we have had some rough weather the last few outings with Venture Outdoors.   In January we realized we had a few inches of snow to stomp around in, so our VO leaders decided it was perfect for geocaching in the snow! The students loved it!
Don't know what geocaching is? Watch this brief video to get a better understanding.

Essentially, you punch in the GPS coordinates and go find the cache.  I like to think about it as a crazy hide and seek game, our students saw it as a treasure hunt!

We bundled up and headed out to Grandview Park. Grandview Park is an amazing Pittsburgh treasure that sits between the Allentown and Mount Washington neighborhoods.  It provides a beautifully clear view of the city, with walking trails and a small stage/amphitheater to boot.

Our VO leaders explained what a GPS was and how it worked, they then showed the students how to operate the GPS to find the specific coordinates to the caches that were hidden prior to the outing by Mr. Alex, and they were off! 
Some students chose to run through the snow in search of the cache and others stuck to the trails.  Mr. Alex explained that a GPS sends a signal to a satellite into outer space and then comes back down to us, sometimes it may take a few seconds for the compass to catch up with which way we turned.  This allowed our students to work on being patient with the technology 

The students worked as teams and learned to help each other with the GPS and by searching together for the little yellow box. Their faces were priceless when they found it. A few "happy dances" followed a couple difficult caches.  There was one student that became frustrated that they could not find it and literally sat down on the tree stump the cache was hidden inside, this resulted in lots of laughter and silliness. 

As a teacher, the part of this activity that I enjoyed the most was watching our students work together as a team. They had a goal and a purpose and they worked together to accomplish it. I especially loved the excitement and spirit of adventure they exuded, it was contagious and I found myself excitedly looking for the caches too.
Overall our January geocache experiences were a success and lots of fun was had.

We greatly enjoyed this adventure and the students have already asked to go again!  ALEC students are looking forward to what our February Venture Outdoors experience will hold for us.

For more on Venture Outdoors and the many activities they offer and participate with please check out their website,
For more information on geocaching and to find coordinates near you please check out
Did you know there are 576 caches near Pittsburgh! That's a lot, so pull out your GPS and go on an adventure!


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