Project Description

A Geochache is an item hidden,yet possible to find through GPS coordinates (  An EcoGeoCache is a multimedia informational display describing the surrounding environment and the human impact on it.  An EcoGeoTour is a tour of our cache sites through a smartphone app or website that triggers the multimedia content based on proximity to each cache (analogous to a museum tour with headphones).


                  Essential Questions

·         How does the environment support life?

·         How is biodiversity an indicator of environmental quality?

·         How do humans impact the environment and how can we mitigate it?

  • What does it mean to be a steward of the environment?  What is your role in protecting the environment?

Students will identify locations of interest and investigate the biological, chemical, physical, and cultural characteristics in order to identify and assess the indicators of environmental quality, as well as the human impact on it.  Tasks that groups will be expected to perform include:

·      monitor the air, water, and soil quality

·      assess the human impact and address how to mitigate it

·      interview an adult who is an expert on some aspect of their chosen location

·      plan a class field trip where we take measurements, clear non-native vegetation, or otherwise improve the location or our understanding of it.

·      create media that enhances the outdoor experience.

The final product is an EcoGeoCache (non-descript structure designed by students per agency regulations) with informational displays about the surrounding environment.  The EcoGeoCache will be promoted by and our municipal partners. The structure is meant to have the least visual impact on the surrounding environment in its contracted state.  When expanded, each panel will represent one student's understanding of the environment from the point of view of one species.  The panel will have text, images, and a QR code that links to a student created video.

Project Outline 

Following is the general outline for this project.  Due to guest speakers, site visits, and the nature of project-based learning, the schedule is subject to change. 

Camping trip: In order to develop an intimate relationship with the environment, we will be going on a class camping trip in which students are responsible for their own food and gear (which many teachers have available to check out.)  Date to be announced.

Field sessions, field trips, and work parties: There will be 10 to 20 field sessions and a number of field trips and on site work parties throughout the semester.  We may use public transit, chartered bus, or (parents and permission slips willing) legal student drivers.  Please complete the attached passenger form so that we have it on file for potential drivers to complete the rest when appropriate (and approved by the parents).


Weekly Topics & Important Dates

Week 1

Group & site selection.  Site recon on Wednesday (permission slips permitting).  Intro to biodiversity. Tool safety & prototypes.  Tech setup. Intro to music theory and the program Reason. Intro to color renderings using Photoshop.

Week 2

Class visits to SD River, Torrey Pines, Mission Trails.  Identify and contact agencies associated with sites.  Identify “questions” for site.
Musical scales practice.  Creation of site field guide.

Week 3

Site/project plans.  Enviro monitoring standards. Continue outreach to agencies.  Prototype redesign.  Pro Tools studio recordings - research slide shows.  September 11/12 – proposed camping trip.

Week 4

Physical monitoring (soil, water, air)
Slide shows created to store eco research in visual format. Voiceover narration early drafts. Video storyboarding begins.

Week 5

Historical/Cultural/Political research. Biological monitoring practices.  Work party at site. Gather media.  September 22 – staff day/senior day - seniors at school for morning.  September 24 – Senior Community Day.

Week 6

Biological flora monitoring.  Species ID and survey (quadrants and transects) Continue to create media in preproduction

Week 7

Biological fauna monitoring (soil, water).  Species ID and collection.  Field guide revisited.  Online community building.  Incentives for participation from community. Coding inroads.

Week 8

Biological fauna monitoring (air/off plants). Species ID and collection.  Field guide revisited.

Week 9

Human Impact Research.  Chemical monitoring practices. Work party at site. Biochemical animation.

Week 10

Chemical monitoring (soil, water).  Graphic design of ecogeocaches.

Week 11

Promotion/Marketing of EcoGeoCache and Exhibition planning.  Work party at site.  Wordpress/Buddypress online community.  Graphic design of ecogeocaches.

Week 12

Biological monitoring to assess changes.  On site assessment of human impact.  Work party at site. Graphic design of ecogeocaches.

Week 13

Finalize EcoGeoCache layouts for fabrication.  Nov. 21 Due Date.  Work party at site.

Week 14

Critique, revise, and finalize web-based EcoGeoCache deliverables.  Work party at site.

Week 15

Critique, revise, and finalize web-based EcoGeoCache deliverables.  Exhibition Prep.  Dec. 11 Exhibition at Downtown Library

Week 16

Dec. 18 All School Exhibition