A “Where’s Waldo” style of activity had kids hunt for their geography teacher with GPS, and involved their parents in the fun outside the classroom as well.
At Struthers Elementary school, 55 fifth graders went on a town wide search to find geography teacher Justin Gough at public places in the area. Some of the sites where Gough hid included an Arby’s restaurant, a Dunkin Donuts, and a public park. Every afternoon between 3:30 and 4:30 pm he posted directions online. The hunt lasted ten days, with each day becoming more difficult to find him.
According to Gough, the project “Where’s Mr Gough?” was designed to teach students about Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. No street names were used, and it was necessary to read the directions and solve the puzzle in order to find him.
While he has taught the students about GPS devices before, this year was the first time he launched an active “Where’s Waldo” type of activity. Parents and students enjoyed the challenge, and many students with the help of their parents were able to find his locations.
“It was a bit of an experiment,” Gough said. “But I would say it was a success. I had a lot of involvement with the students and their parents.”
The project was approved last spring by principal Pete Pirone. “I thought it was great that students and parents were able to meet with the teacher outside the school environment,” Pirone said
For the past two years, teaching students about GPS technology has become more important in Ohio public schools. A new content statement for social studies teachers was released from the state Department of Education. Increased awareness of how to use GPS technology will better prepare student for sixth grade material, and for use in their everyday lives.