Around the time I teach matrices, I also teach vectors to another class. I'm always on the lookout for ways to teach vectors that show students they mean something other than the dry material found in the textbook.
This activity is a great way to introduce the use of vectors though a treasure hunt. It is a seven page PDF showing how vectors are used to find the treasure using a program from the Concordia Consortium. The material is older but it could easily be adjusted to use google earth for the map. You could also use the original island map with annotation tools.
Teach Engineering has a lovely activity that combines history, vectors, and geography together in an activity designed to show students how dead reckoning relates to vectors. The lesson explains that vectors are used to show fluid movement in many branches of engineering before explaining dead reckoning to the students.
Although the lesson itself is paper based, it would be easy to scan into the computer to upload so students could use a program or app that allows them to draw or easily erase mistakes. It has everything needed except for colored pencils. Just download and go.
Jen Silver's Math Bloghas a lovely activity for creating a vector maze. The activity comes with an example to show how its done. Then students are expected to try it themselves. The idea is the student creates the smallest sum of lengths wins. There are rules they have to follow about setting up the vectors but it requires thought and lots of planning. I looked at it and immediately wanted to try it myself.
In addition, she provides a free downloadable PDF file with 8 different templates for students to use. The starting and finishing point may be different or the walls within the maze may change so this activity can provide lots of challenges for your students.
This site has a lovely video on Vectors in Climbing which talks about how vectors are used in climbing. It introduces using vectors in a real life situation while introducing the topic, talking about adding vectors using two different methods, decomposition of vectors, and vectors and angles.
In addition, there is a paper from a lady in Norway who made the video and refers to it in the paper. Its a well written paper with some very good information. It relates body geometry to vectors and climbing academically.
More tomorrow on orienteering and other activities that help students learn vectors.