A Geospatial Scavenger Huntby: Adriana E. Martinez, Nikki A. Williams, Sandra K. Metoyer, Jennifer N. Morris, and Stephen A. Berhane

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With the use of technology such as Global Positioning System (GPS) units and Google Earth for a simple-machine scavenger hunt, you will transform a standard identification activity into an exciting learning experience that motivates students, incorporates practical skills in technology, and enhances students’ spatial-thinking skills. In the activity described here, seventh-grade science students use GPS units to locate, identify, and describe the location of simple machines on their middle school campus. Then, by importing the GPS points into a file that is viewed in Google Earth, students view the relative location of the simple machines to the school from an aerial perspective.

Grades
  • Middle
Publication Date
2/1/2009

Community ActivitySaved in 181 Libraries

Reviews (8)
  • on Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:51 AM

This article written in 2009 has some wonderful ideas on how to use a GPS to do a simple machines scavenger hunt. But it could now be done with most smart phones that students have available now in 2013!! So read the article and explore with your students the world of GPS technology.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:29 PM

This 5 E lesson using a handheld GPS to locate objects around the campus will be sure to engage students. With GPS technology becoming such an integral part of our society and applied in so many careers, it us a usefull technology to put in our students hands. The students import their positions into Google Earth, so they are getting experience with GIS software as well. The article provides very detailed instructions for the operation of a Garmin E-Trex GPS.

Angelika Fairweather  (Bradenton, FL)
Angelika Fairweather (Bradenton, FL)

  • on Tue Aug 16, 2011 10:40 PM

Discussing how GPS works includes a discussion fo the great circles around the Earth. In addition, the idea of triangulation or how if there is a fourth circle, the elevation can be figured. Great for an integrating activity of disciplines.

Susan German  (Hallsville, MO)
Susan German (Hallsville, MO)

  • on Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:20 PM

This is a very interesting approach to teaching geospatial reasoning. In this cross-curricular exercise students use handheld GPS units to find an identify simple machines around their campus. This intriguing exercise, students learn about geography, physical science, and technology as they use GPSes, google Earth, and identify simple machines like hinges, bicycles, etc. This exercise could be expanded to include information on the geosyncronous orbit of the GPS satellites. The student reproducible sheets required to complete the lesson are included with the article. One negative I see with this lesson is the cost of purchasing the GPS units. However, there are grants available to help fund programs like this. This article presents an excellent hands-on activity that will definitely engage students.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:19 PM

This is a very interesting approach to teaching geospatial reasoning. In this cross-curricular exercise students use handheld GPS units to find an identify simple machines around their campus. This intriguing exercise, students learn about geography, physical science, and technology as they use GPSes, google Earth, and identify simple machines like hinges, bicycles, etc. This exercise could be expanded to include information on the geosyncronous orbit of the GPS satellites. The student reproducible sheets required to complete the lesson are included with the article. One negative I see with this lesson is the cost of purchasing the GPS units. However, there are grants available to help fund programs like this. This article presents an excellent hands-on activity that will definitely engage students.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:44 PM

To help students improve their spatial thinking, they used GPS units to locate, identify, and describe the location of objects on their campus. They then imported the GPS points into a file that was viewed in Google Earth so they could see an aerial view. Teacher preparation and activity guidelines are included. Extension ideas are also given.

Ruth Hutson  (Westmoreland, KS)
Ruth Hutson (Westmoreland, KS)

  • on Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:26 PM

The use of this resource could be wonderful in an elementary classroom. However, the costs associated with it, according to the suggested instructions, could be more than what the teacher has access to for such a project. Aside from the cost, this would be a very exciting and engaging learning experience. I hope to be able to use such lessons in my future classrooms.

Wendy Goley  (Goshen, IN)
Wendy Goley (Goshen, IN)

  • on Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:21 AM

This article presents a great way to integrate a personal spatial understanding with a representational understanding with an activity that most students will find engaging. By creating a game (a scavenger hunt) and integrating technology, students have an opportunity to do significant hands-on learning. That learning is used to understand the map representation of the area by using Google maps. This allows students to become part of the aerial view. I have used a similar exercise with students, and have found that most have thoroughly enjoyed it, at the same time they gained confidence in their ability to use and understand the tools.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)


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