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Find Yourself with Global Positioning
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"Hi-Tech War," from Thirteen's INNOVATION series, shows the extreme importance of remote sensing and Global Positioning System (GPS) to modern warfare. Yet these new technologies sometimes carry a new set of problems into the theater of battle. Do "hi-tech" solutions like sensing and GPS locate objects better than traditional methods? How can areas be mapped using new technologies?

In this lesson, students will use new technologies to create a 3-dimensional terrain model of their community. They will research different means of obtaining a 3-dimensional visualization of their community. They will use satellite images, topographic maps, and their own investigations to collect information. Then, they will test and select materials and methods in order to create models of a landscape. They will create a realistic 3-dimensional terrain model of an area of their community, and will ultimately describe the story of its creation in a paper.


Language Arts
Visual Arts

Grade Level

Grades 9-12

Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of new mapping technologies
  • Perform research to gather information about mapping and navigation
  • Apply the information obtained from the research in an original creation
  • Discuss and defend their creation

National Standards

Standard 4, Level III, Benchmark 2

Knows the physical characteristics of places (e.g., soils, land forms, vegetation, wildlife, climate, natural hazards)

Standard 4, Level III, Benchmark 2

Knows how technology shapes the human and physical characteristics of places (e.g., satellite dishes, computers, road construction)

Standard 2, Level III, Benchmark 3

Knows the common features and uses of spreadsheets (e.g., data is entered in cells identified by row and column; formulas can be used to update solutions automatically; spreadsheets are used in print form, such as look-up tables, and electronic form, such as to track business profit and loss)

Standard 3, Level III, Benchmark 3

Knows ways in which technology has influenced the course of history (e.g., revolutions in agriculture, manufacturing, sanitation, medicine, warfare, transportation, information processing, communication)

Standard 1, Level III, Benchmark 6

Writes expository compositions (e.g., states a thesis or purpose; presents information that reflects knowledge about the topic of the report; organizes and presents information in a logical manner, including an introduction and conclusion; uses own words to develop ideas; uses common expository structures and features, such as compare-contrast or problem-solution)

Standard 8, Level III, Benchmark 6

Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g., uses notes and outlines; uses organizational pattern that includes preview, introduction, body, transitions, conclusion; and point of view; uses evidence and arguments to support opinions; uses visual media)

Standard 8, Level IV, Benchmark 1

Uses criteria to evaluate own and others' effectiveness in group discussions and formal presentations (e.g., accuracy, relevance, and organization of information; clarity of delivery; relationships among purpose, audience, and content; types of arguments used; effectiveness of own contributions)

Standard 8, Level IV, Benchmark 5

Makes formal presentations to the class (e.g., includes definitions for clarity; supports main ideas using anecdotes, examples, statistics, analogies, and other evidence; uses visual aids or technology, such as transparencies, slides, electronic media; cites information sources)


Standard 1, Level IV, Benchmark 2
Understands how the communication of ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes one uses

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