Thursday, September 11, 2008

History: Navigation Aids

Today, we finished up our pre-explorer unit of American History by discussing navigation aids and how many times, these crazy sailors were literally "winging it" as the instruments were so unsophisticated.

We then made a quadrant -- where you looked at a landmark, measured the degrees from the ship, and somehow assumed you knew where you were in the big wide blue! Here's our version:
We decided that it would be really hard to measure -- especially as, during the day you have to look right in the sun; at night, you can't see so good! Then, too, with the ship moving up and down and all round, this could be pretty tough to get exact measurements.

We then made a compass -- using a magnetized needle, stuck in a piece of foil and floating in water -- and figured out where north is (funny thing, I thought it was where west actually is, but then I'm directionally challenged!).

Here's our compass and how it compared to a real compass -- look pretty darn close doesn't it? LegoManiac than spent much of our lunch time and after we got back from Drama Club designing a war ship that could take advantage of this magnetic pull and be able to go "real fast" ...
Pretty cool day!

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