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GPS Treasure Hunt for Knowledge


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Keywords: GPS, GPS
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography, Biology, Algebra, Information Skills, Music, Special Needs, Life Science, Podcasting, Technology, Health and PE, Art, Science, Math
Grades 6 through 8
School: Dover Air Force Base Mid Sch, Dover, DE
Planned By: Cox
Original Author: Cox, Dover
Objectives/Planned Outcomes
Students will learn how to use a GPS device. In doing so, many science and math content standards and objectives will be met. Some of the big ideas that we hope to instill are:
* Children without a sense of place do not see themselves as part of the global community and likewise have no stake in the biosphere.
*Developing a sense of place is a natural processes that grows with broadening experiences.
* Creating maps can help children develop their spatial orientation and concept of a global ecosystem.
* GIS/GPS is a useful tool for applying the information, skills, and strategies learned in the classroom.

Methods/Strategies
Students need to see real life applications to what they are learning in school -- especially in math and science. Using a collaborative approach, we plan to culminate the school year with a GPS Treasure Hunt around the school community. Teachers will plan and assess collaboratively, and students will work collaboratively in this activity.

Sample lesson:
Explain that a satellite is any object that orbits or revolves around another object. For example, the moon is a satellite of the Earth, and Earth is a satellite of the Sun. Man-made satellites are increasingly important in our world. Their uses range from media and communications, to weather, scientific research, navigation, and more. Over the next few days we will explore the navigational uses of satellites, primarily GPS.

Tell students that GPS, which stands for Global Positioning System, is the only system able to show you your exact location on the Earth anytime, in any weather, anywhere. 24 GPS satellites, the first launched in 1978, orbit at 11,000 nautical miles above the earth. They continuously transmit signals that are monitored by ground stations located worldwide. These signals can be detected by anyone with a GPS receiver!

Each satellite takes 12 hours to complete one orbit around the earth. They are equipped with very precise clocks that keep accurate time to within three nanoseconds-that's 0.000000003, or three billionths, of a second. This precision timing is important because the receiver on the ground must determine exactly how long it takes for signals to travel from each GPS satellite. The receiver uses this information to calculate its exact position.

The GPS receiver (in your hand, on your car, on the farmer's combine, etc.) calculates the difference between the time the signal is sent and the time it is received, and multiplies that by the speed of light. This allows it to calculate the distance to the satellite. It takes these readings simultaneously from three to four separate satellites, each one identifying a region on the earth. The intersection of these regions pinpoints the exact latitude, longitude, and altitude of the receiver.

Global Positioning Systems have revolutionized the ability of people to find or document their location on the face of the earth. As GPS receivers are made smaller and at lower cost, they will begin to appear everywhere in our daily lives!

Students will be given directions over the next few days on how to use the GPS referencing the satellite information provided earlier. (There are some great interactive sites on NOVA and National Geographic) Next, students will use mathematical computations to understand degrees on the globe Ė longitude and latitude. Students will be given a set of coordinates and will have to find locations within the Base community. At each location, they will have a task card to solve a question from an earlier math and science unit to reinforce skills. For example, students will learn about rocks and minerals in a science unit. They will read and discuss material from the textbook and complete the labs that involve identification of rocks and minerals. During the Treasure Hunt, the task card will ask them to find an example of a sedimentary rock in the location and explain the characteristics of the rock and how it was formed. Students must complete each task card to move to the next one.

We believe that the collaborative process is a powerful tool for both teachers and students. With the chosen format, teachers across the curriculum will be involved in the process- from planning to assessing. They will analyze how we can integrate studentís skills and strategies into each otherís classrooms. Students will see these applications from one class to another.

Hands on learning outside of the classroom will be a memorable experience for our students. We will involve parents to assist in accompanying the groups on their treks. Further, members of the Air Base community will play a role in some of the tasks to show a connection to future careers.

Project Management
The school has walkie talkies that will used for teachers to communicate with one another in tracking progress and observations of groups. To ensure student safety, a parent will be assigned to each small group (7) of students. Since we are on an Air Force Base, we are in a gated community. The Library Media Specialist will oversee the purchasing of the materials.

Project Timetable

To begin-All teachers involved in the activities will meet to discuss how the GPS skills can be used within their curriculum.

Next-: Students will work with math and science teachers to gather skills needed to accurately find waypoints and locations. Social studies will collaborate with the science and math teachers in using the concepts of longitude and latitude. Students will be given several writing prompts to express their knowledge about various concepts that are being taught. ArcView is a technological tool that we will utilize to implement a GIS approach to environmental studies during this unit as well.

We will document lessons and activities with the digital cameras and will have a portion of the schoolís website dedicated to the projects. Further, we hope to have the local TV station do a story on integrating GPS technology into the curriculum.

Later: A parent night will be held to share some of the skills we have been working on with the GPS units. At this time we will present our culmination project with them and ask for volunteers to help with the groups.

THE EVENT: School wide Geo-Cache using GPS.
Late March, 2007: Teachers will assess the activitie and make any changes needed for success in the future. Teachers will begin to analyze the data gathered from pre and post tests and journal entries.

FOLLOW UP: GPS devices will be worked into plans for field trips. We will contact members of the community who may use GPS/GIS within their career fields to speak to our students about practical applications of skills they have acquired.

**A community Geo-Cache will be planned for the Base community families during the summer moths. This will be a great school and community partnership and will provide much needed stress relief for our military families.

Budget:
GARMIN INTERNATIONAL
eTrex Venture Cx GPS Navigator
Manufacturer Part# 010-00560-00
Dell Part# A0816113
20 at $230.00 each. The students will be divided into 20 small groups to use the GPS devices. The devices will be used in math, science, and social studies classes to learn skills. Total $4600.00



Evaluation:
Pre- and post tests will be used. In addition, throughout the year, various tests and quizzes will be used to assess student knowledge of skills and information taught in reference to the activities. In addition, state test scores in math and science will be used to assess student growth from year to year. Further, students will provide journal entries that express their acquired knowledge. A portfolio will be kept in the language arts classes pertaining to these activities.
Comments
GPS devices need to be in the hands of our students as they are becoming widely used.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Any class could use this as a review activity
Follow-Up
These GPS units will be used many times for many activities
Materials: Podcasting, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Camera Bags, Digital Voice Recorders, Digital SLR, Point and Shoot, Mobile Labs
Other Items: 20 eTrex Venture Cx GPS Navigator, $230 each, total of $4600.00
20 eTrex Venture Cx GPS Navigator, $230 each, total of $4600.00