#3 Navigating the World!

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!


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!

mission #3
Interpret numbers!

Your third mission is to interpret the message sent by the old computer. 

the story

Zac: This is a bit disappointing. I must say: “I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with …” this 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!

Zac:  Yeah, that is true! The security question was pretty cool! But a bunch of numbers… I was expecting a bit more from this message.

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!

Zac: Oh yes, of course it does…👍 Now, can you translate that to English, please? I can’t make heads and tails of what you just said.

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! 

activity sheet

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!


Smart Edu

🤖Biibibiibibiibi, where am I hidden?

PS. The coordinates can guide you!

Score: 0

the story

Wow, I understand now why you thought the message looks like coordinates, it basically is an ordered pair of numbers. Coordinates are actually cool, but how can they helps us?!

Dottie: That is a good question Zac! We need to consider their applications in the real world. 

Zac:  Like helping us draw a robot?!

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?

Key Point

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.



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!

activity sheet

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!

the story

Dottie: Did you find geographic somehow similar to cartesian coordinates ?

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! 

Dottie: That is absolutely right! We can use these rules of thumb to guess the coordinates of places on the world map based off the nearest latitude and longitude lines.
Zac: Oh really? How would we go about doing that?

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!

Let’s practice this a bit more, as it will help us achieve great results in our mission. We prepared a fun quiz with some interesting questions on places all over the world. 
Key Point

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.

activity sheet

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!

the story

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

Zac:  Wooooooooow   😲  This is getting interesting!

I need to do some research about this place 🚀

activity sheet
Who doesn’t love Battleship War? It is such a simple and fun game to play. It is also a great opportunity to share all the cool stuff you learnt today with your family members. If you can teach someone, it is safe to say you have mastered it!  In Activity Sheet Page 5 and 6 you can find our version of Battleship War. Take one sheet and give the other one to your opponent. ENJOY IT!

want to learn more?

extra task

global positioning system (GPS)

You will learn more about how GPS actually works!

Zac: I learnt how geographic coordinates are used to map everything on Earth! But how does the GPS in our car know where we are in the first place? Or even Google Maps when we go travelling to new places? 
Dottie: Great that you are curious about it! Let’s learn more…

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? 

Dottie: Exactly! However, it also needs to use some Artificial Intelligence because urban environments offer some additional challenges.

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 👏

🙏 Support us by sharing SMART Edu Challenge with your friends using the buttons below! 

Smart Edu

👇  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?

Stay tuned!

Activity #4: Ready for take-off?

We have come a long way! In this last activity of our challenge we will take you to Florida, who’s excited?!

4 thoughts on “#3 Navigating the World!”

  1. Hello, I played Battleship war and I won against my mum. We gave each other the clues ‘ warmer, colder ‘. I love the game and it was great fun.

    I think an astronaut owned the computer. It sounds really exciting!


      1. Kesja & Jonatan

        Really a massive enjoyment & brainstorming here! Excellent activities that involve the whole family! So, Cap Canaveral it is! – Kesja & Jonatan

        1. smarteduclub

          Great to hear that, it is wonderful that they are doing it together, brainstorming is so important for learning. Well done!

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