I had an ulterior motive.
In February, I learned of the National Park Trust’s school contest to send students to a state or national park for free. In March, my students created their entry for the contest. In April, we learned we won. And, in May, we boarded the bus to take us to Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Even though it was a two-hour ride on a bumpy bus, we were all excited. The students were excited about being out of school for a field trip; I was excited about visiting a park I hadn’t seen since I was a kid.
When I was 12-ish, my dad took my 8-year old brother and me to Glen Rose. I remember the large dinosaurs vividly; I ended up spending a lot of time with them. You see, I also remember my dad’s anger when he discovered that my brother locked the car keys in the car. It took two hours and two park rangers to get our car open.
We had three hours to explore the park so I set the students free. They roamed the park in small groups. Then the ulterior motive came into play.
I provided the students with the clues to the earthcache located in the park. They hunted for the answers to the clues. They learned about science and Texas history while I had my answers to the earthcache confirmed.
All in all, we had a blast. The National Park Trust paid for our bus, water, and healthy snacks. Only two students fell into the river. Only one student got badly sunburned.
I think earthcaches are my favorite caches.