Thursday, April 10, 2014

Projects Seen Round the World

I am so excited to share this project with you! It has been one full year since this project was completed and there is a reason that I waited! For the passed year these little sculptures have been traveling around the United States (well most of them)!

I did this project with my 8th grade students during my student teaching experience. The students task? Create a small sculpture to travel through the world of geocaching. For some background:

Geocaching is a worldwide treasure-hunting game that uses GPS coordinates. Participants use a GPS device (anything from an SmartPhone to specially made devices) to locate specific coordinates where the "cache" has been hidden. Once found, participants can take a small token in exchange for one they place and sign a log book. It's a world-wide phenomenon and some of the most fun I've had! Here are some images of MY geocaching adventures-

Take a look at all those trinkets!

 This one took some serious climbing to get. Luckily this stranger was willing to hang over the water to help out. 

Geocaching in North Carolina...found it!

My brother Erich holding up the Logbook after signing it. Location: side of the road on drive to North Carolina.

That small black case on my husband's shoulder? A GEOCACHE. Cleverly called a Nanocache, this type doesn't hold trinkets, just log book. Located on the underside of a military tank. 

Kelsey from Artsy Fartsy Art Room likes Geocaching too!

So...incorporating geocaching into the classroom? 

I started by introducing my students to geocaching through a virtual geocache I made that allowed the students to learn about longitude and latitude, map reading and geocaching rules. I then asked students "Geocaching and art? How are they linked". Well geocaching has a big following in the artist community. There are geocaches that require you to submit a piece of artwork or sketch your log entry, there are even artists that design installation art pieces to house their caches. Just Google "Geocache, Art" and the list is endless. Needless to say the students were SO excited. Then I told them about Travel Bugs....

Travel Bugs are trinkets that have been tagged and travel from geocache to geocache. The creator sets a goal for their bug and finders help move the bug to reach their goal. 

My students each create their own Travel Bug using ceramics! Now, I couldn't have placed 50 ceramic projects into local geocaches and not every student wanted to give their project up. I ended up putting SIX projects into actual geocaches. The rest? I created several fake caches around school and students used GPS coordinates to find them. Once they found the caches they could either just take their own project or trade with a friend. Fun right? But what about the SIX Travel Bugs sent off on real geocaching journeys? 
Here's the Travel Bugs all tagged up and ready for their journey!

Well this is why I've waited a year to reveal this project! They have been traveling a year and most of them are still traveling. Some got "stolen" or placed in permanent collections of geocachers but one little guy is on the journey of a life time...Here's the story of Guppy the ceramic pirate fish. 
Here is Guppy's profile picture. He started his journey in Oshkosh, WI in 2013. On his profile he asks to be placed in geocaches close to water. The student wrote as the description of Guppy, "Guppy is a sword fighting gold fish who travels the world looking to sight see and fight off evil and protect the fish in trouble"
Guppy was quickly picked up by a business man who was in WI for a conference. Guppy's next stop was the lovely mountains of Colorado. The business man uploaded this breathtaking picture to show Guppy accomplishing his journey! 

After his trip to Colorado, Guppy was taken to Idaho and then spent about half a year traveling around Utah. 

Guppy's time in Utah was a little rough. One of his Utah finders posted Guppy's current condition and then very thoughtfully fixed him up. All that evil fighting really toughened Guppy up :)

Guppy is currently recovering in Wonderwood Park located in the beautiful Washington. 

I was so excited to see how far Guppy had gone! Currently two of the six original Travel Bugs have been "stolen", Guacamole the frog is traveling around Florida, Bobbie the banana is enjoying Kansas and Happy Feet the Penguin is still roaming Wisconsin. Even though the other Travel Bugs didn't get quite as far as Guppy, I feel this project was a 100% success. The students really enjoyed learning about Geocaching, I got to sneak a little cross-curricular instruction in and the world of geocaching gained some fantastic art pieces. The students were given a copy of their Travel Tag so that they can track their art as it travels the world. One year in, who knows how far these little guys could go!

Interested in geocaching? Hit up to get started!

1 comment:

  1. I just love the Guppy story and his travels. He has seen more of the US than I have. Go Guppy go! I love the name of your blog. Where did it come from? Let's do some ceramics this summer and then geocache them. It would be fun to see something I made travel the world. Love Mom.