Are you tired of hearing your students say "When would you ever use this!?" This lesson is a perfect way to silence their complaints!
I originally designed this lesson to be used after watching the episode "Convergence"of the CBS television series Numb3rs. I think every middle/HS teacher should own copies of this series. If you aren't familiar with the show, it is basically a crime show where the characters solve crimes with math. (Similar to CSI) You might be able to download free episodes online at Hulu, YouTube, etc. Entertaining math videos are very hard to find and this show does a great job of explaining advanced math topics to the "average person."
At one point Texas Instruments teamed up with the show to create lessons for each episode. These can be found online. As an 8th grade teacher I found some of these lessons to be too advanced for my students and created my own variations that related to my Algebra 1 or Geometry content. Typically I would show the show then follow up with the lesson. It is a great way to prove to your administration that you are not simply watching television.
This is a 1-2 period activity/lesson that integrates the topics of measurement, scaling, linear equations, slope, systems of equations and midpoint while explaining the concept of 2D-trilateration and 3D-trilateration. Did I lose you? In simple terms, this lesson explains how GPS works from a math standpoint. In the Numb3rs episode, a criminal uses GPS find the location of their victims. If you do not want to relate it to the show you can simply give a short introduction on GPS and get right to the activity. Do a quick Google or YouTube search to find a quick overview of GPS and trilateration.
This activity is designed to be streamlined but still incorporates higher level thinking and merges multiple concepts. It would ideally used as a culminating activity after students have some basic knowledge of graphing, linear equations and possibly systems of equations.
This download includes a step-by-step directions, a very detailed answer key and everything else you would need to plan the lesson. I have written out the directions to read to students so you don't even have to think!
The student handout is at the end.
If you are pleased with your purchase I would appreciate any positive feedback you would be willing to leave. Thanks! Happy Teaching!
GPS Math Activity
by Dana M. Burrows
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License