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Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience > Games > Examples By Topic > GPS Treasure Hunt
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GPS Treasure Hunt

Rebecca Teed (SERC)
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This resource received an Accept or Accept with minor revisions rating from a Panel Peer Review process

These materials were reviewed using face-to-face NSF-style review panel of geoscience and geoscience education experts to review groups of resources addressing a single theme. Panelists wrote reviews that addressed the criteria:

  1. scientific accuracy and currency
  2. usability and
  3. pedagogical effectiveness
Reviewers rated the resources:
  1. Accept
  2. Accept with minor revisions
  3. Accept with major revisions, or
  4. Reject.
They also singled out those resources they considered particularly exemplary, which are given a gold star rating.

Following the panel meetings, the conveners wrote summaries of the panel discussion for each resource; these were transmitted to the creator, along with anonymous versions of the reviews. Relatively few resources were accepted as is. In most cases, the majority of the resources were either designated as 1) Reject or 2) Accept with major revisions. Resources were most often rejected for their lack of completeness to be used in a classroom or they contained scientific inaccuracies.


This page first made public: Nov 4, 2004

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

This game is actually an on-campus field lab that has students using directions and a GPS receiver to make their way from one stop to the next. At each stop, they identify a building stone (or tree for an environmental studies or plant biology class). If possible, have the students work in small groups, taking turns using the GPS receiver and with each group having its own direction sheet. At the end, they collect a ticket for an edible prize.

Learning Goals

This lesson plan will teach students:

Context for Use

This game teaches students how to use GPS units and is appropriate for an introductory geology or environmental studies (depending on what they are identifying). Students need to have learned to identify building stones, trees, whatever they're being turned loose on before the game starts.

Teaching Materials

Before the activity, you'll want to create sheets with directions for the student groups.

Once it's time to start the activity, organize the students into teams of three or four (depending on how many GPS units are available).

Kendra using a GPS

Start by teaching students to use GPS recievers. They need to be familiarized with the global positioning system and with the ideas of coordinates and bearings before this exercise.


Give the students sheets of directions (different sheets for different groups if possible) and insist that they must take turns using the receiver. Ideally, you'll have twice the number of identification stops as students per group, so each student gets to use the receiver twice.

Teaching Notes and Tips

The biggest chunk of work will be the direction sheets. Making sure that students take turns but don't get lost during the actual activity is rather important. If they misidentify a stop, the bearings that lead them to the next one won't work!

A follow-up discussion for an activity could include having them work out some of the bearings they used on a map of the campus.

Assessment

Scoring: In addition to the snack, you could offer an extra prize for all groups who turn in 100% correct answers.

You may want to require the students to get a certain number of answers right for a grade.

References and Resources

This game is based on an exercise described by Weiss and Walters, 2004 and on the sport of geo-caching (more information at The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site (more info) ).

Subject

Biology, Environmental Science, Geography:Geospatial, Geoscience:Geology

Resource Type

Activities:Field Activity

Special Interest

GPS, Local Issue:Campus-Based, Field-Based Teaching and Learning

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Ready for Use

Ready to Use:Meets Peer Review Standard:Anonymous Peer Review, Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Biosphere, Geography, Solid Earth, Human Dimensions

Topics

Earth surface, Biosphere

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