Navigating by the Numbers

Students learn that math is important in navigation and engineering. Ancient land and sea navigators started with the most basic of 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 designed by engineers cannot be created without pure and simple math concepts — basic geometry and trigonometry — that have been used for thousands of years. In this lesson, these basic concepts are discussed and illustrated in the associated activities.