Bringing Social Studies Alive
Seventh Grade Independent Service Learning Projects
Students in Seventh Grade U.S. Studies complete a service learning project in which they research a community issue or community of need, develop an action plan to address that specific need or issue, and implement the action plan. During a day/evening of sharing, students are eager to showcase the results of their hard work.
Geocaching at Terrill Middle School
Sixth grade students in Mr.Boyle and Ms. Brodsky’s world geography classes at Terrill Middle School recently completed a map skills unit in which students learned about the five themes of geography, the parts of a map, how to read various types of maps, and the purpose of latitude and longitude. In order to make learning more meaningful and engage students in the learning process, students applied these skills to a real-world activity known as Geocaching over the course of three consecutive days. Geocaching is a worldwide phenomenon in which individuals act as treasure hunters by locating hidden objects, or geocaches,by utilizing a handheld GPS device.
In this activity, students in both classes were broken up into 10 groups and were each given a set of coordinates and a handheld GPS device. They had to work together outdoors in order to find hidden objects and signs around the school that asked students to perform various tasks. This simulated Geocaching and allowed students to use technology, as well as apply their knowledge of latitude and longitude. As a follow-up activity,students were asked to bring in objects from home that represent their middle school culture. Students then hid their own items and had the other groups find them, using the given coordinates and the GPS. Afterwards, students were asked to write a reflection about the effectiveness of the activity.