Thursday, 27 October 2016

Trialling a new educational geocache trail

During the children's October holiday we saw a local outdoor centre looking for people to trial a new educational geocache trail, so we volunteered.

Dumfries House Indoor and Outdoor facilities at Cumnock advertised on their Facebok page
we are looking for families to come and try our new 'Science Safari' Geocache trail - a hi-tech treasure hunt if this is all new to you. Using our GPS devices, explore the estate to find the hidden treasure and complete our science linked challenges. Pick up clues along the way to complete the trail and win some Institute of physics goodies back at base.
It sounded right up our street, so I signed us up as a family of four, me, hubby, Fifi and Bob.

The facility is right next to the car park so we headed across and found a fellow cacher there, Paul, who joined us for the trail as his girls were not wanting to come. We signed in and picked up a preloaded GPS machine that I handed to Fifi.  The caches are not being released to the public so our machine was no use. We also picked up a sheet that gave the order of the caches we were looking for, the sheet also had a clue for each. The sheets were done in such a way that different groups would be looking in a different order so that all groups would not be looking for the same one at the same time. Paul had arranged to pick up the coordinates and had programmed his machine earlier on. He showed Bob how to use and then left him with it. This was good because it meant both the children had a machine to work with and let to a bit of competition of boys v girls.

we found the first cache very quickly 

This one involved using string telephones and taught them about sound waves and vibrations.
string telephones 

Paul and two other cachers 

Bob wandered away looking for No.2 

Bob and Paul were off. 

We learnt about our CO2 footprint, how many trees it would take to cancel out our footprint, and how dead trees release the CO2 back into the atmosphere when they die.

we bumped into some others doing the trail

In one of them we had to measure the height of a tree with a straw clinometer

measuring the height of a tree. 
 The straw clinometer did not work overly well as the thread was to thin and blew in the wind. So they cheated slightly and used a much smaller tree.

using a straw clinometer

Sun exposure beads worn in hot countries

walking along the wall between caches

we took some time off to climb trees

This science theme for this cache was gravity and Bob had to work out how to spin an astronaut in a cup upside down so it did not fall out.

spinning the astronaut 

Fifi also did some tree climbing

By now Bob was having a ball and determined that the boys team would beat the girls team. He disappeared off across the field to find another one. 

He found it before any of us got here. This one was learning about Fibonacci Numbers and how they appear in nature. This one tested Bob's adding up skills.

Bob found it.

Bob adding up numbers with Paul. 

Us girls were in front this time.

we stopped to admire the ceiling inside this building. 

love the colours of the bridge, 

They ran on ahead to find the last cache. 

which was cunningly disguised as a snail - not a plastic box. 

Back inside the science centre.

Once we had found all the caches we had collected six letters which Bob rearranged to make the word nature. We took out GPS machine back to the centre, filled in their feedback sheets and picked up their prize.

We stopped for some lunch before they headed off to play in the play area. 

The first area was based on water. Archimedes screw, locks and pumps had them moving water from one area to another.

They also used the bike and pump to shoot water high into the air, the harder you peddled the higher the water squirted.

Bob being musical.

They had a great day and spent time in an area of the estate they previously had not been to. 

They had a great day out, thoroughly enjoyed finding the caches as well as doing the experiments contained within each cache. 

Country Kids


  1. Looks like so much fun. Coming over from #CountryKids x

  2. This looks like a fantastic day. I love the look of where you were and that pink bridge is gorgeous! Having Geocaches set up with science based answers is a genius idea and I love all the experiments. You have reminded me that I need to add tin can telephones into one of our activity hours. I remember being fascinated by how these worked as a child. The gravity test is a good one too. Well done for spotting the day on Facebook. It looks well worth the time you took to prepare and take part.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  3. That looks like an amazing place to explore. I like the fact different teams were sent to different cache points, that's the issue we've had with NT ones where everyone ends up just following each other around the trail #CountryKids

  4. I'm loving that pink bridge!! Looks like a lot of fun with lots of activities to keep everyone entertained x

  5. These geocaches with educational themes seem really great for older kids - that sounds like it would be really useful for them to learn about these things in practice, not just in school. Never tried these but maybe I should! #countrykids

  6. This is such a brilliant idea for a trail for older children! I love that they are learning real science and having to apply it to the world around them. I am in awe! #CountryKids

  7. Wow that sounds like such a lot of fun! What a fab idea - we have never been geocaching but I think we are going to have to give it a go when my daughter is a little older. I love the pink and white bridge! #CountryKids

  8. That sounds like loads of fun. This something we need to do too. Great family activity. #countrykids


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