As soon as students complete their testing this week we will begin exploring a new project that has been in the works for quite some time. In order to further the geography education of my students I like to develop global projects for them to participate in. One hobby of mine is geocaching – placing “travel bugs” in secret locations identified only by their geographic coordinates. Using a GPS device of some sort, geocachers hunt for these bugs around the world. When found, many of these bugs are swapped out for other bugs and moved on their way to another cache. Bugs are registered on the website geocaching.com and tracked as they travel from cache to cache. Often, owners of the travel bugs generate goals for their items.
I have the opportunity to spend three weeks in the UK during the Olympics this summer and I’ve created a project around my adventure. During my stay, I will be travelling around England, and as far as the highlands of Scotland, “seeding” student travel bugs along the way. Over the coming weeks, students in my class will be bringing in a token of some sort to attach to a travel bug. We will be classifying each bug and develop a database of sorts containing things like mass, dimensions, color, etc. so that we can determine if any of these factors slow or speed up a bug’s progress.
The ultimate goal of each bug will be to return “home” to our local cache just outside of our school. In addition to gathering data prior to departure, students will be developing a backstory about each bug. Why does their bug need to return home? What adventures would the bug like to have on the return journey? Each bug’s story and goals will be accessible via a unique geocaching.com webpage (example). We will track progress throughout next year and see if any of the bugs make it home and how many goals have been realized.
five FOUR, Three, TWO bugs reserved for our friends around the world and if your class is interested, or would like more information, please leave a comment below. In order to participate, you will need to send me the item that you would like attached to the bug. I need to receive it by June 15th. It cannot be larger than a box of playing cards and must have some way to attach a travel bug chain to it. See images for examples.
There are, of course, no guarantees that any of our bugs will make it home. However, we will have a grand time tracking their adventures as they scamper across the planet in the coming months. Join us!