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Determining Coordinate Positions and Distances

 Activity Description Activity Guide Resources

In this activity, students investigate the minimal number of satellite signals needed to determine a 2-dimensional position (latitude and longitude) on the earth. Students will also determine their position and calculate differences between positions.

Mathematics: Students will explore coordinate systems, triangulation, conversion, and distances.

Mathematical Thinking: Students will explore the minimal number of satellite signals needed to determine a 2-dimensional position on the earth. They will also estimate their latitude and longitude and compare these estimations to their average GPS positional readings. Students will be asked to predict the shape of the graph for time versus latitude, and for time versus longitude. They will also discuss how to determine the distance between two locations on the Earth using coordinate positions.

Technology: Students will interpret the meaning of the information displayed on the Satellite Page and determine their coordinate position using the Position Page on the GPS handheld receiver.

Screenshot: Below are images of the Satellite and Position Pages from the Garmin GPS 12 handheld receiver.

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