I meet a geophysicist at the SeaTac Airport and she introduced me to two great websites filled with wonderful information that could easily be used in the math classroom.
The first is Moon Trek put together by JPL and NASA. this site has great pictures of the Moon which you can explore in a variety of ways. The two tools I can use in Math is the elevation profile and distance. Yes, you can find the distance but then as the instructor, you can set up some great problems using the distance with a variety of speeds to see how long it might take to drive from Point A to Point B.
The elevation profile creates a wonderful cross section complete in meters with elevations using both positive and negative numbers. The line I chose started at -3075 meters and jumped up to positive 3000 meters so students can see what is happening. With that information, its not that much further to having students calculate the gradient for the profile.
JPL and NASA have also created Mars Trek, which offers the same tools to use with Mars. You can calculate distance, create elevation profiles just as you did for mars. We know that slope when dealing with the real world is often the overall taking it into account.
Both sites offer a person the chance to create a 3D printer file so students can print out models of any part of the maps. Furthermore, the program will calculate sun angle. Just think what activities you could create so students have the opportunity to analyze real life data!
The maps are great and it is easy to zoom in or out on any parcel of land.
I realize this is not a long entry today but I've been traveling for a couple of days and I am totally exhausted. Tomorrow its going to be back to normal.