Sunday, January 27, 2013

Navigation Topics Ideas

Again, main topics on education related to this project are at the Education tab at  These are just extra notes for those who might want to pursue more details on the navigation side.

Here are a list of topics and some notes on how to use them in a K12 setting
A work in progress to be added to

(1) how long does it take to walk from Africa to Miami
an intro to speed time and distance, since they row at walking speeds. intro to maps, experiment in measuring walking speeds.  how fast forward, how fast backward. time a measured distance. algebra speed time distance.  note that even if you get 60 days, or longer, note how really short this is... how small the earth really is.  even if it takes 90 days.  This has always been the most impressive thing to me on sailing across the ocean in a 30- 40 ft boat in 2 weeks. it is a small world.

(2) magnetic variation and compass use. here is a nice variation map:

note unusual pattern dakar to miami.  18w to 16w, then flat ,then back to 8w at the same rate.

on land variation is called declination. note big difference on how ships compass works compared to hiking compass.  study deviation by placing iron objects near a compass.  lines of force. magnetic fields... solar wind, northern lights... etc

north magnetic pole... (nowhere near the geographic pole) opens all new series of topics.  see travels and talks of Helen Thayer, esp her book Polar Dream

(3) maps versus charts... install and play with free echart programs.  ie   see  a wide open topic. lat lon nautical miles, directions, measuring distances, units, etc... almost anything can evolve from a study of charts.  if a picture is worth 1000 words, a chart is worth a book.  can order Training Charts at a fraction of the cost of regular charts for student plotting practice.

(4) Waves

(5) Weather

(6) Currents

(7) compare dakar to miami route with columbus route... role of trade winds.

(8) Wreck of the Brig Commerce in late 1800s off coast of W. Africa. Why was the book about the slavery of Capt Riley so popular with Abraham Lincoln.... this is a wonderful story. See Rileys Narrative and Robbins Journal, both at Starpath book catalog.  And you can even use Google earth to see that tracks across the desert that these poor souls were dragged across so long ago... and you will see that life in the deserts of Western Africa have not changed that much over the centuries.

(9) Christopher Columbus.  Time to start breaking the myth. He was a charlatan.You will need to do your research on this one, as you are up against The Establishment! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Maritime K12 Learning Resources

These notes are provided by Starpath School of Navigation for general information related to K12 education based on maritime affairs.  

A full education program for K12 students designed around the OAR NW expedition is online at the OAR NW website under the Education Tab.

We will add here information for students and teachers who want to learn more about the ocean by following this row boat expedition.  As time permits, we will also generate a few exercises for K12 students and for practicing navigators who wish to hone their skills. These are only intended to supplement the main program, and also to extend that program to practicing navigators who might like to look at the actual data and how it influences their own planned navigation.

For the time being, this is just a list as we run across resources. In no special order, nor level. Later we will organize by age group and subject matter.

For we know a lot of schools are following this program and we want to have a place for a quick list of new sources as we run across them and suggest a few exercises along the way. 

Navigation, seamanship, and ocean voyaging offer a  wonderful background to learn about many areas in math, science, and history.

The Geonauts inquire into the oceans... the full CD is online, just takes time to load to show you the  options

 Topex / Posidion

Mystic Seaport programs

Aviso - wonderful learning resources for teachers and navigators  (a big site, needs lots of surfing)

NOAA Teacher at Sea program 

NOAA K-12 chart related program

Worldwide science in the classroom

We do not want to have to experience any of this on our expedition, but the National Hurricane Center  does have an extensive set of K-12 learning resources available in their Outreach section..