Using a GPS in the Classroom

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A GPS is an exciting and unique tool to use in the classroom. It's applicable to many disciplines, including mathematics, geography, earth science, environmental studies, and more. And, most of all, children love it!

It won't take you long to search the internet to find numerous lesson plans that incorporate GPS into classroom learning. For example, I came across one teacher's lesson plan for a field exercise in which students had to navigate using a GPS to find 3 targets given their latitude and longitude. In the second part of the lesson they had to store the location of the coordinates of 3 additional geographic sites for which the latitude and longitude were unknown.

Students were divided into teams, with each team receiving one portable GPS. One of the first steps was to delete any landmarks or routes that may have previously been stored in the GPS.

The teacher walked around, picked out the 3 spots, and used the GPS to record the latitude and longitude of each. The students, using their GPS devices, had to navigate to find these spots. For the second part of the lesson, the students picked 3 known landmarks, walked to them, and stored their latitude and longitude coordinates in the GPS unit.

In addition to this wonderful lesson plan, you can create an exciting treasure hunt for your students, have them use GPS coordinates to create simple maps, and much more. There are many geo-science teaching forums with some great lesson plans that incorporate GPS technology. And they're just a click away!

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