Map trails, find treasure caches, and solve problems by using a Global Positioning System (GPS) with your students. GPS technology is made possible by 24 U.S. military satellites orbiting Earth that transmit signals to a receiver. This data provides the location and the current time for each of the satellites. The receiver calculates its position based on where the satellites intersect. Data from at least three satellites is necessary to find a 2-D position and from four satellites for a 3-D location.
Build a foundation of knowledge with latitude and longitude concepts. Then, read about GPS and tap into some great lessons. Finally, hide treasure boxes around the schoolyard and have your students use GPS receivers to find them, or take a field trip to locate a cache in your community. Learning about geography with GPS can lead your students to loads of cache!
GPS: A New Constellation
Learn about the history and uses of GPS from the Smithsonian Institution. Concise descriptions and illustrations help tell the story that began in 1978 when the first Navstar Global Positioning System satellite was launched. Older students will find this site a good starting point.
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