You navigate the world just like all robots do! Did you know that robots also use GPS to get around? Yes, exactly like you do when exploring new places! But how can they read maps if they don’t have eyes like us?!
Join us to learn about the relationship between Cartesian Coordinates, Geographic Coordinates and GPS!
Which is smarter, latitude or longitude?
Longitude because it has 360°.
What are we even talking about?! Stay tuned for another fun Activity!
hello smart parents
If you are not familiar with the activities, please take the time to review the instructions for an optimal learning experience:
hello smart cookies!
LET’S CONTINUE OUR ADVENTURE?!
In Activity #1 The Language of Computers Zac found an old computer in the attic of their house, his mom, Dottie helped him to communicate with the computer. Then, in Activity #2 Secret Messaged Disclosed they finally logged in and got a pretty strange message, they needed to decode it using a Vigenere decryption to find it was just a bunch of numbers, they are now trying to figure out what it means!
Your third mission is to interpret the message sent by the old computer.
Dottie: I guess we just need to think harder. Old computers like this one would not belong to ordinary people and would certainly not be used for storing ordinary information!
Dottie: Well, I guess there must be something behind this… we need to find a starting point, a pattern…
Zac: Well, if you need a pattern, here is what I see: number dot number comma number dot number. I am not impressed!
Dottie: That does sound like something: a pair of numbers! Or maybe an ordered pair of numbers, like in a cartesian coordinate system!
Dottie: Sorry, I was just thinking out loud! Don’t worry, let’s have a better look at that!
Cartesian coordinate system
You will learn everything there is to plotting coordinates to a Cartesian Plane!
We loved this video by Rob from Math Antics! He explains very clearly what coordinates are and how to plot them on a cartesian coordinate plane.
Looks interesting, right?! First, let’s check if you got all the information in this video!
We prepared some helpful bullet points to summarise the content from the video. You can find it in Activity Sheet Page 1, make sure you fill in the blanks and check your answers before moving on.
Ready to find out some cool stuff you can do with coordinates?
Let’s play a game to apply your newly gained knowledge!
FIND THE ROBOT
🤖Biibibiibibiibi, where am I hidden?
PS. The coordinates can guide you!
Dottie: That is a good question Zac! We need to consider their applications in the real world.
Dottie: Well, more generally speaking, coordinates are mainly used for locating things because they organise the space on a grid. Can you think of any games that use grids for example?!
Zac: Hmm… games that use a grid?! Maybe battleship war?!
Dottie: Yes, well done! Chess is another example of a game that uses a grid.
Zac: Of course! In both games, we usually refer to the positions as letter number, if I remember well the tower is always initially placed at the extremes, A1, H1 or A8, H8 in the opposite side.
Dottie: Well done Zac! We also use coordinates in the cinema and on airplanes.
Zac: Oh yes, I remember the codes we use to find our seats! My favourites are A seats because they are always by the windows!
Dottie: Exactly, our robo vacuum cleaner also uses mapping to get around the house and do the cleaning!
Zac: That makes a lot of sense actually. Our robovac needs to locate the spots to clean and obstacles to avoid! There are so many ways we can use coordinates.
Dottie: Exactly, coordinates are used to refer to things in maps. From a seat on an airplane, to tourist attractions in an old town to even where your house is in the whole world!
Zac: Maybe that means the mysterious message is a location in the world! But it must be hard to map the whole world using coordinates!
Dottie: Sometimes new things can be scary at first, but just give it a try and you can always try again or ask for help! You will see it is actually not so different from what we just learnt. So, let’s learn more about it?
Coordinates are an ordered set of numbers or numbers and letters together that show you a position on a map, so they can help you find a specific place or object.
GEOGRAPHIC COORDINATE systems
You will be able to estimate the coordinates of any place in the world!
Guess what?! We will learn from another great video, this time we are going to Dr. Nagler’s laboratory. He will break the whole world down into pieces 🌐 –literally… but not so literally, you will know what I mean! But that will help us understand geographic coordinates better!
Brace yourselves for some shocking scenes, I warned you… 🤣
That was lot of damage! The good news is that you learnt the content of a whole hour of geography class in only 6 minutes, well done!!! If you got a bit distracted getting over the tragic scenes like we did, don’t worry. We’ve got your back!
Get your Activity Sheet ready, you will find some handy bullet points in Page 2. But you will need to complete them with the words you find the word search puzzle!
Good luck, I am sure you can do it! This knowledge will be essential in guessing places before finding them for sure.
You should now understand the puzzle from the beginning of the puzzle!
Yeah, they actually are! The prime meridian is like the y-axis and the equator is like the x-axis of a cartesian coordinate plane.
Dottie: That is perfect! We can find the latitude based on the position in relation to the Equator. For example, points above the Equator have a positive or north latitude and points below the Equator are negative or south.
Zac: Cool, so I guess we can do the same for longitude. Points to the left of the Prime Meridian have negative or west longitude and points to the right are positive or east. I think I finally mastered it!
Here you can use the map in Activity Sheet Page 3 to make it easier to understand the example.
Dottie: First, you need to locate the place. Let’s try New York for example. Next, looking at the nearest latitude (lateral) lines, we can see it is between +30° and +45°. I would say it is a bit closer to +45°, so I will guess +40° or N40°. Do you want to try the longitude?
Zac: Sure, it seems like it is between the vertical (long) lines -60° and -90°. It actually is right in the middle, so I will guess -75° or W75°. So putting latitude and longitude together in this order our guess would be (+40°, -75°).
Dottie: Great, I just checked the precise coordinates on Google maps and they are (40.69,-74.26). So, well done! We were off by less than 1°. Well done, you are now able to figure out the coordinates by knowing the cities’s position on Earth!
Zac: That is exciting, but what I really need to learn, is the opposite. How can I work out the position on Earth for the coordinate that the computer gave us?
Dottie: It is very similar to what we just did! We just need to draw the latitude (horizontal) and the longitude (vertical) lines given by the computer and see where they intersect.
Zac: Cool, so we are finally close to unveiling the secret spot! Let’s get to work!!!
Dottie: Maybe we should practice first, just to be more confident that we will get it right.
Zac: Sure, practice takes to perfection and I definitely don’t want to get this one wrong. I could waste time investigating wrong clues!
Geographic Coordinates can be used to specify every place on Earth. Latitude measures how far the place is to the equator. Longitude measures how far the place is to the prime Meridian. To find any place, we need the two coordinates (Latitude, Longitude) – always in this order.
You will find a quiz in your Activity Sheet Page 4. You can use the world map on Page 3 to assist you in finding the coordinates for different places based on the latitude and longitude lines.
Because you are a #SMARTCookie, this is no ordinary quiz: more than just an answer, you will need to guess the coordinates too! You can draw a point where you think the city is located and guess the latitude and longitude coordinates. Come back here to check your answers!
Check my coordinates
🤖Biibibiibibiibi. Input the coordinates below!
Zac: Now, my SMART friends and I are as ready as we can possibly be to guess the location of the coordinates from the computer. I could guess it is somewhere in Southeast Coast of the USA, maybe Florida?! Do you have a better guess my friends?
Dottie: Great work Zac! Now we can check it for sure!
Zac: Finally! After all the practicing questions, my SMART friends, this is our moment of glory! Check the coordinates that you decoded from the message sent by the computer!
check your decoded message
want to learn more?
global positioning system (GPS)
You will learn more about how GPS actually works!
Here is another great animation explaining how GPS really works!
Zac: That is so cool, it now makes sense to me how the Amazon delivery robot goes around the city! I suppose there is some type of GPS guiding it all the time?
Check this video out, it is a bit less kid-friendly, as it explains more advanced concepts about why GPS does not work well all the time!
👏 Great work in following this adventure and learning so much along the way 👏
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👇 Comment below who was the Battleship War winner of your household!
We would love to hear your creative guesses for where this story is going: Who owned the computer? Why is the code pointing there?