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Modern Treasure Hunt (Grade 7)

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Modern Treasure Hunt
by Drew Cribbs

When pirates hunted for buried treasure, they used a map and a compass. They would use the compass, map, and even the sun to trace each step to their buried treasure. Today, we don’t need a map and compass like pirates did to find the way to where we need to go. We can use a GPS on our phones to tell us directions. GPS is a term for the Global Positioning System. We can download the GPS on our phones, cars, computers, or just buy a handheld GPS. We can even use it to look for treasure.

The GPS is used for the game known as Geocaching.

Geocaching started in May 2000 when a man named Dave Ulmer wanted to test how the GPS works. He decided to hide a container in the woods and posted the coordinates of the container online. Inside the container, he put a piece of paper and a pen, so people could sign it when they found the item. Dave Ulmer waited about a week before he went to check the container. It turns out that he has a couple of signatures on the piece of paper. Soon, many people started to find the container and began their own game of it. They called it Geocaching, Geo meaning earth and Cache meaning hidden object.

After twenty years, geocaching has spread around the world. There is a hidden geocache on each continent including Antarctica! It also has more objects hidden in each container than just a sheet of paper. Each cache has something to trade inside. The Geocaching® foundation suggests trading something with value such as Happy Meal toys, game pieces, stickers, or anything else you can think of. This way, when you find a geocache, it is more fun to find the cache and there’s a little bit of treasure to keep. Geocaching also posts the level of difficulty and the size of the cache. This helps give an idea of what you are looking for and how big of an item you should bring to trade.

However, like every other game, Geocaching® does have a few rules to make sure the game stays fun. Number one, you cannot bury the container, but you can be creative where you hide it. I have seen a few hidden in birdhouses, trees, on street lights, and many more places. The second rule is that you cannot trade random items found in nature such as rocks, leaves, and twigs. Try to hide something that you would want to find and have, because no one wants to find an old leaf to keep. Another rule is to try to keep Geocaching a secret when you are looking for a cache. There are times where you might have to look in the middle of a parking lot or park for a geocache. People who don’t know about the game and see a cache might just throw away the container. Geocachers call these people Muggles. You can always try to explain geocaching to a muggle, but many geocachers think it is fun to find a container while trying to be sneaky.

Pirates used a map and compass to find buried treasure. However, geocachers only use the GPS to find geocaches. Geocaching is a fun game to play outside in your home or while your family is traveling. All you have to do to play is download the Geocaching® app or look on the geocaching website, geocaching.com. The location, difficulty, and hints of each cache is on the app and website. The rules and tips are even on the website and app in case you are new to the game. Geocaching is a fun game to play with family while staying outside.

It is like a modern treasure hunt!
1. 
Instead of a compass and map, what can we use to search for treasure?
  1. GPS
  2. NOAA
  3. a television
  4. virtual reality
2. 
Based on the word roots it contains, what does geocache mean?
  1. treasure hunt
  2. forest trail
  3. hidden object
  4. open highway
3. 
What type of treasure is found in a geocache?
  1. gold and silver coins
  2. popular books from history
  3. a piece of paper and a small item
  4. a mirror to show you your own face
4. 
According to the passage, a Muggle is someone who
  1. loves Harry Potter books
  2. spend an entire day looking for treasure
  3. throws away a geocache container without realizing it
  4. sneakily hides a cache so no one can ever find it again
5. 
Why did Dave Ulmer come up with the idea for geocaching?
  1. He wanted to hide treasures to surprise people.
  2. He wanted to see if his global positioning system worked.
  3. He wanted to try and put a geocache on every continent.
  4. He wanted to find a way to pass the time on the weekends.
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