Thursday, May 19, 2016

Navigation and Math

Gps, Navigation, Garmin, Device  Locally, navigation usually means knowing where the markers are on the trail.  Sometimes you can use your fingers and a knowledge of the terrain to find your way.  Of course if you are in the city, you use various land markers to get you there but how does math fit into it all. 

I found this page of lesson plan links for math in navigation spanning 4th to 12th grades. Finally a site with more high school things than elementary.  Yeah! 

Middle school has one lesson on measurement and degrees of movement which is a great introduction to navigation being a 360 degree circle. using physical movement.  It might bore older students but if you have some who need to move around, the activity is great.

For high school there is a two day lesson on using vectors to navigate which shows real life applications.  It includes vocabulary, hints on using the Smart Board and requires a map for a lake. The first day is an introduction to vectors and maps while the second day has students applying the knowledge gained from the first day to a classroom activity.

I love the plotting a course through school lesson where students plot a course to get them through the school building.  It would be easy to change out the map provided if you wanted them to do your school but I think I'd have them use the one provided as practice.

There are 17 lesson plans listed. The material is for Michigan but it is easily adjusted for your own state or you could use them as listed.

From the Mathematical Magazine is a lovely 10 page pdf on the Mathematics of GPS.    The author goes into explaining how the GPS calculates your location using satellites and math.  He includes a simplified explanation but it is good and well thought out.  Although, this is more of a paper, it can easily be used in a trigonometry class as a real world application.

Finally from the Navy comes this 34 page STEM activity called GPS and Navigation.  This has everything needed to teach the lessons including essential questions and the standards it meets.  The first lesson addresses how the GPS works and includes information on how triangulation works.  Lesson two looks at applying GPS principals on the ground while lesson three focuses on GPS and naval navigation and includes an arctic ice race.  It appears this activity accompanies a discovery education power point however, the power point can be found by doing a quick search.

So know we have more indepth activities using GPS and math.