Creative lab is an applied science middle school elective. Students study a different topic each quarter. Every unit demonstrates how the different sciences (and math) are related.
In this unit, students are studying the very basics of navigation. The concepts of relative and absolute location, latitude, longitude, and cardinal directions are discussed, as well as the use and principles of a map and compass.
Students learn that math is important in navigation and engineering. Ancient land and sea navigators started with the most basic navigation equations (Speed x Time =Distance). Today, navigational satellites use equations that take into account the relative effects of space and time. However, even these high tech wonders cannot be built without pure and simple math concepts — basic geometry and trigonometry — used for thousands of years.
Students have built a Jacobs staff and will use this during their final exam project. In navigation the Jacobs staff was used to determine angles between the horizon and Polaris or the sun, or the horizontal angle between two visible locations to determine one’s point on a map. Our students will use their Jacobs staff to determine the angle between the top and bottom of an object to find the distance to said object if its height is known, or the height of the object if its distance is known. In the pictures below you will see some students practicing how to use the Jacobs staff.