GPS and never having to say: 'Where am I?'

Activities

The Helix Teacher’s Guide (CSIRO, Australia)

Getting the gist of GPS (April 2009, pages 2-3) – provides a range of cross-curricular activities on GPS including a triangulation treasure hunt, GPS story writing and discussion questions.

Investigating science in the bush (An Australian Science Teachers Association special for Science Week, 2002)

Bush technology: GPS – suggests six projects that allow students to investigate the application of a GPS system (page 16).

NSW HSC Online (Charles Sturt University, Australia)

This series of lessons on information systems provides background information and suggestions for classroom discussion and activities.

NOVA Online Adventure (Public Broadcasting Service, USA)

Find your longitude – students find out where they are on a voyage by calculating their longitude. (Shockwave and non-Shockwave versions of the activity are available.)

GPS: The new navigation – students calculate a receiver's distance from a satellite by looking at the time delay of the satellite's signal. (Shockwave, non-Shockwave and mini-application versions of the activity are available.)

Southern California Integrated GPS Network (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, USA)

Are GPS measurements accurate or precise? – students collect data to illustrate the difference between accuracy and precision.

What is a rate? – students answer questions to learn about vectors and how they are used.

How far away are the satellites? – students use provided formulas to calculate distances and wavelengths.

Balloon Outreach, Research, Exploration And Landscape Imaging System Classroom (Physics at Montana State University, USA)

Follow me if you can: Understanding the Global Positioning System – students reconstruct a two-dimensional map of another student's journey with the same reconstruction methods used by the Global Positioning System.

Catch me if you can: Understanding the Global Positioning System – students reconstruct a two dimensional map and calculate the average velocity of the traveller.

Geocaching

Nearest geocache(s): Australia – students can participate in the sport of geocaching in which GPS users use location coordinates posted on the internet to find a hidden cache.

From a distance (NASA, USA)

Who wants to be a billionaire? – introduces students to the worldwide growth of GPS systems from 1993 to 2000.

From home to school, GPS style – students produce a map of their route to school with information obtained using a hand-held GPS receiver.

Plotting latitude and longitude – students use a hand-held GPS receiver to determine the correct latitude and longitude of specific locations.

Space Geodesy Group (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA)

Using GPS in the classroom – students read about applications of GPS then click on the worksheet 'Applications of the Global Positioning System' where they are asked to design a system that incorporates GPS receivers.

Degree Confluence Project (USA)

Overview – students can participate in this project whose goal it is to visit each of the latitude and longitude degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. (The Australian sites that have already been visited are listed at http://www.confluence.org/country.php?id=15.)

External sites are not endorsed by the Australian Academy of Science.
Page updated July 2009.