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GPS Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan (Fall Quarter 2011)

Version 12.0120 (Release date: 01-20-2012) [Release Notes]

The Virtual Boat was developed as part of the NSF GK-12 Boat-of-Knowledge in the Science Classroom (BooKS). It was developed to help teachers bring the boat to the classroom and increase students’ interest in science by allowing them to explore the Ohio River in a virtual world.
Virtual Boat Demonstration Video (for fall quarter 2011)

Documents for GPS lesson plan of fall quarter 2011:

1. The 5-E Lesson plan document
This document is the lesson plan that follows the 5-E format (Engage, Explore, Explain, Expand/Elaboration, and Evaluate). It contains all instructions that the teacher would need to follow and what steps each student will perform during the lesson. This particular lesson plan assumes that the students know how to calculate the water quality index and it focuses on the background of GPS and mapping along with the uses of GPS in the real-world. The real-world applications introduced include geocoding and geocaching.

2. Powerpoint Presentation on GPS and Mapping
This Powerpoint presentation begins with attempting to engage the students by asking them how to describe the location of their high school. This will lead into a discussion on mapping and GPS coordinates. The lesson starts with the very basics of latitude and longitude. It gives images so that the teacher can explain how to use latitude and longitude to denote an exact location. After introducing latitude and longitude, a background of GPS is presented. This background includes what exactly GPS does for us, what each letter of the acronym stands for, and how many satellites are required to get an accurate reading. The next topic explains the different ways that GPS coordinates can be displayed: DMS (degrees, minutes, second), degrees and decimal minutes, and decimal degrees. It explains where these coordinates originate and applications of these coordinates such as river mile maps, geocoding, and geocaching.

3. Data Collection Sheet for Virtual Boat Excursion
This sheet supplements the lesson plan, but is used within the Exploration stage of the 5-E lesson plan. This sheet contains many pieces of data that students will need to collect while traveling up the Ohio River on the Virtual Boat. This data will finally be used to determine the source of pollution that has caused a fish kill. The students are in groups of 2-4 and will travel to key areas along the river to collect quality parameters such as Nitrates, Phosphates, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH. While one student travels to the next testing location, the others are working together to calculate a water quality index from the data at the previous location using the “Q-value” tables at the top of the first page. The students will use this data along with plots of the temperature at each location to determine the pollution source. A spatial analysis will be performed by the student as well by taking note of the GPS coordinates displayed on the game (decimal degrees), converting these to DMS (degrees, minutes seconds), and plotting them on the georeferenced map included below. This allows the students to keep track of where each source was located.

4. How to Convert between Decimal Degrees to Degrees, Minutes, and Seconds
This document explains the procedure for converting GPS coordinates from one format to another. It breaks down the procedure into easy-to-use steps. It includes converting from decimal degrees to degrees, minutes, and seconds as well as from degrees, minutes, and seconds back to decimal degrees. A copy of this document could be passed out to students for future reference.

5. Georeferenced Map for the Virtual Boat
This document is a map from the Virtual Boat that includes the same coordinate system as the game. It allows the students to keep track of each pollution source’s location in the game. The coordinate system for the map uses degrees, minutes, and seconds which requires the student to convert to this format from decimal degrees.