Geocaching & Geography Basics

(Borrowed from Dr. Hammond’s blog post)

Geocaching is a hobby in which people hide a container (a ‘cache’), post its lat-lon, and then other people try to find it. Common containers are hide-a-keys, prescription bottles, small Tupperware bins, ammunition boxes, or even paint buckets. (My favorite find was a tennis ball that had a slit cut in the side.)

Using a GPS unit, you can navigate to within a few feet of where the container is hidden; once you’re in the geocache zone (GZ ), you have to think like your opponent: If you were hiding something here, where would you hide it? Likely spots are in a hollow tree or stuck magnetically to the backside of a metal pole or fence. Part of the fun of geocaching is coming up with crazy ways to hide objects and thus challenge would-be finders. One ever-present possibility is that the cache has been lost, moved, or removed due to animal activity, erosion, or human error.  

Once you have found a cache and opened it up, there is typically a log sheet inside to sign and sometimes objects to take or trade. This reinforces the social nature of the hobby–after all, if you are a hider, you may never see or meet your finders; if you are a finder, you may never see or meet your hiders. 

Geocaching for Teaching/Learning?


  • Fun! Students are motivated.
  • Good practice working with Lat/Lon
  • Active learning/Student driven
  • Develops spatial awareness


  • Uncovering stage can be frustrating
  • Locational hazards – bees, mud, poison ivy, etc…

What do YOU think? Is the educational return of geocaching “worth it?”