Using geocaching in school

The week before last I published a blog explaining a little bit about what geocaching is and I thought I’d return with just a few ideas about how geocaching can be used in school.
Last autumn’s new OFSTED guidance states clearly that for a school to be graded ‘Outstanding’ they wish to see teachers who innovate and children who are curious and interested learners. I’d say that a dose of geocaching might help you to achieve both of these things!
Longitude and Latitude
Geocaching uses coordinates to explain the location of caches. This is a good way of introducing the idea of longitude and latitude, which are now in the KS2 Geography curriculum.
Map skills
Once children have looked up caches local to their school they can plot them on an OS map of the area, perhaps using the excellent digimaps for schools resource which you can add pins to. If you have a local environment walk to visit some caches you can plot your walk on a map or even make your own map of your journey. You can work with children to express the location of your local caches in 6 figure OS Grid references (also KS2 Geography).
When navigating around local caches (or a cache trail you have set up) there are many opportunities for estimating and measuring distances, describing locations using positional language and using degrees to express directions.
Travel bugs
Knowing the countries and counties of the UK is now in the Primary Geography Curriculum. A class could release a travel bug with a specific mission to visit every county in the UK. Each time a geocacher logs the travel bug has moved your class can get the maps out to locate the bug’s position and record it on a wall display. You might prefer to have a bug whose mission is to visit different rivers or coastlines to fit in with upcoming topics. You could even send a bug to a country you are studying and ask geocachers to share facts about where they live in their cache logs.
Topic work
Educaching is a spin off of Geocaching where a school hides geocaches temporarily, often on their school site, linked to topic-based work. In this case you might have a series of caches hidden which teams of children find and which contain a topic themed challenge/piece of information.
A key part of geocaching is to record your finds online so that the cache owner can enjoy hearing how people found their cache. Children can each write a cache entry and one could get posted on line. You could ask children to write a letter to their grandparents explaining what geocaching is (quite a tricky task!) or to their parents describing the thrill of their first find; this might provide a nice home-school link.
I am by no means a physicist but there could be an interesting lesson looking at the science of GPS systems and how the satellites in space help us determine our location on earth.
Local history
Many geocachers place caches at significant locations and use their cache log to share information about it. I have a cache in Branston, Leicestershire for example that I chose to locate in a hidden away and disused Ironstone quarry. People who find the cache are discovering a locality they never previously knew about.
I hope that is enough to whet your appetite! I’d love to hear your own ideas for how to embed geocaching into your curriculum: or