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Early Navigation Theme Page

This "Theme Page" has links to two types of resources related to the study of early navigation. Students and teachers will find curricular resources (information, content...) to help them learn about this topic. In addition, there are also links to instructional materials (lesson plans) which will help teachers provide instruction in this theme. Please read our disclaimer.

All About GPS

Select "How GPS Works" for a tutorial on today's navigational resource - the Global Positioning System.

AskERIC Lesson Plans
Use the search engine (search term = 'latitude or longitude') to find over a dozen lesson plans. Most of these require the students to find or plot map locations.

[The] Columbus Navigation Home Page
There are three lessons at this site on navigation during Columbus' time on dead reckoning, celestial navigation, and longitude.

[The] Discovery of Longitude
A comprehensive paper on the history of navigation and the discovery of a means to measure longitude.

Exploring Geometry
Intermediate students will master basic geometric operations and develop their higher order problem solving skills in this four week integrated unit on early exploration, trade, and the clash of cultures, as well as geography. See Lesson Three: Exploring Lines of Latitude and Longitude and Lesson Four: Astrolabe.

Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
Use this site to look up latitude and longitude of geographic place names.

GPS Primer
A description of the Global Positioning System intended for junior and senior high school students.

How A Compass Works
A brief article that includes instructions for making your own compass.

How To Use A Compass
Lessons and suggested activities (orienteering-based) for children.

How Far Is It?
Enter two locations and find the distance between them as well as each of their latitudes and longitudes.

Latitude: The Art and Science of Fifteenth-Century Navigation
Articles describing how the knowledge of latitude influenced early explorations, including: Ships, Beacons, Maps, Compass, Science of Sailing, Coastal Navigation, Traditional Astronomy, Math in Maps, Calendars, and more...

Longitude and the Académie Royale
A comprehensive summary of the search for a way to determine longitude culminating in the Académie Royale's solution for land-based measurements.

Lost at Sea: The Search for Longitude
This NOVA site, a companion to a PBS show, describes the history of navigating including how sea travellers determined latitude and how a way was discovered to measure longitude. In addition, students can play a game to determine their longitude and learn more about our current technology - the GPS navigation system.

This BC site has an overview of the history of navigation.

Navigation Seminar
Short tutorials on basic navigation that include a teaching page, review questions, and answers to the questions. Topics include: Introduction to Navigation, Compass, Compass Calculations, Chart, Dead Reckoning Part I and II, Aids to Navigation Part I, II and III, Plotting Positions, and Time as Used in Navigation.

Solving the Problem of Longitude
The story of John Harrison, the maker of the world's first chronometer.

[The] Stowaway Adventure
Students use realtime data from the Internet to analyze location, direction, speed and travel plans of a ship at sea to solve the mystery of where they are. In the process, they will gain an understanding of latitude, longitude, speed, and direction of travel, and they'll learn to organize, analyse, and plot data.

TrackStar is an online interface which allows instructors to create lessons for students by sequencing existing instructional content in various web sites within a lesson. Students explore one topic at a particular location within one web site then move on to the next topic at another web site. The list of topics remains visible throughout the lesson so that students can remain on track. Explorations of the web sites beyond the designated instructional content are also possible.

This link is to their search page from where a keyword search on "latitude" or "longitude" will produce a number of hits. Caution #1: Many of the web sites that these lessons access may already be on this CLN page - it's the creation of lesson objectives and the sequencing of the tours through the sites that make the lesson potentially useful to your students. Caution #2: The quality of the lessons (e.g., definining objectives, finding web sites, sequencing the tours) will vary widely within the TrackStar collection.

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Note: The sites listed above will serve as a source of curricular content in Early Navigation. For other resources in Social Studies (e.g., curricular content, lesson plans, and theme pages), click the "previous screen" button below. Or, click here if you wish to return directly to the CLN menu which will give you access to educational resources in all of our subjects.

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