TES Maths ROTW: Stellar sat nav

Craig Barton

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TES Maths Resource of the Week

Resource title: Stellar sat nav

Resource author: RoyalObservatoryGreenwich

What is it?

Bearings are often an unpopular topic for students so it is great to find an activity, using real-life examples, which will engage them.

This resource has a very simple premise – students use their knowledge of bearings and scale to map out constellations. Aimed at KS4 classes, I found that its simplicity meant that the two classes I have tried this activity out on responded very positively, and dare I say, tolerated working on bearings.  

How can it be used?

Although the task pretty much runs itself, I decided to get my students started by plotting the first two stars as a class before getting them to work alone.

Once they have cracked the basics, you can extend the activity by getting students to create their own patterns, or link to topics such as standard form and ratio.

In terms of helping students get comfortable with measuring and drawing bearings, this is one of the best resources I have seen.

Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.

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