Navigation Education Materials

In order to foster interest in navigation, the Satellite Division of the Institute of Navigation sponsored the development of navigation educational materials for students. The ION hopes that these materials will facilitate the introduction of navigation in middle school curricula and encourage the involvement of ION members in educational outreach activities. These lessons were developed by the ION Satellite Division in cooperation with students and staff at the University of Colorado Integrated Teaching and Learning Program (ITL).

The materials are now available as part of an online digital library: Visit Teach Engineering to receive these materials in online format.

The following modules include 10 lessons on a variety of navigation topics. The lessons are designed to be used by middle school teachers on their own or with the assistance of an ION member volunteer. They can be used in the classroom or as part of a club or outreach program.

Each lesson includes motivations for the students, background and assessment material for the teacher and mentor, activity descriptions and worksheets, and additional tips and resources. The activities are designed to have minimal cost and to be completed in 1-3 hours by a class of 28 students. Suggestions for scaling up and down are included.

Click on lesson titles below to download the lesson materials. Each lesson is comprised of several documents. The PDF version contains all documents in one file for each lesson. Please contact the ION with any feedback or questions you have. The materials are copyrighted by the Institute of Navigation, which grants use and reproduction of these materials for educational purposes only. They may not be used for commercial purposes.

ION would appreciate hearing your experiences and suggestions regarding these lessons. If you have any questions or are looking for additional information, please contact ION at, Phone: 1-703-366-2723.

Lesson 1: Where is Here?

  • Introduction to navigation, latitude, longitude, maps and compasses.
  • PDF File

Lesson 2: How to be a Great Navigator!

  • Dead reckoning and celestial navigation.
  • PDF File

Lesson 3: Navigating by the Numbers

  • Trigonometry in navigation, time-distance formulas and triangulation.
  • PDF File

Lesson 4: Getting it Right

  • Effects of errors, corrections and geometry in navigation.
  • PDF File

Lesson 5: Topo Map Mania

  • How to read and use topographical maps, and how to use a compass.
  • PDF File

Lesson 6: Getting to the Point

  • How to find position by triangulation.
  • Self-Extracting Word/Excel Files
  • PDF File

Lesson 7: By Land, Sea or Air

  • Compares maps and navigation in different environments.
  • PDF File

Lesson 8: Navigation at the Speed of Satellites

  • Global Positioning System (GPS) basics: ranging and trilateration.
  • PDF File

Lesson 9: GPS on the Move

  • How to use a handheld GPS receiver to navigate.
  • PDF File

Lesson 10: NOT So Lost in Space