Tuesday, July 13, 2010

GPS Camp

First of all, thanks again to everyone who is sticking with me through the summer! I really am still having trouble getting motivated to post. And, I'm working out HARD! I'm working towards a 5K in October and a sprint triathlon in April and putting in lots of hours training. I am learning to "run" (jog) and made a new personal best yesterday - I ran for 5 minutes straight! I'm also swimming, cycling, lifting weights, and other types of activities. I'm really feeling great!

Ok... back to the blog! Alex is in a GPS camp at our co-op this week. Well, actually she's home sick today, but we hope she'll be ready to go back tomorrow. (She was vomiting last night, but no fever or other symptoms.) Anyway, yesterday they learned some of the fundamentals regarding longitude and lattitude and satellites. At lunch, he explained to me (and others) some basics about GPS and satellites. Here is some of what I learned:

  • satellites were originally intended for military applications and first launched in 1978

  • there are 30 satellites which each circle the globe every 12 hours

  • GPS receivers compare when a signal was received to when it was sent to determine how far the receiver is from the satellite

  • each satellite has a unique "sound"

  • each satellite is built to last about 10 years, but the oldest currently up is almost 20 years old
Alex's camp lasts 2.5 hours a day. After learning about the GPS systems, they went out on our property (I think it is 4+ acres) to find a site the teacher had programmed. Then, the 3 groups of 3 each were to find a different location where the teacher had hidden a box.

I helped Alex's group and we found this box of goodies. There were instructions telling us how to trail blaze. There were specific instructions, but we basically to use the materials in the box to make a trail (300 paces long!) that the other teams could follow. This proved to be pretty hard for us! One boy on Alex's team led the way and he was out of all of our rocks pretty quickly. We then decided we needed to pick up our rocks and use them more sparingly and mark our team number on them (as other teams would be crossing our path, too). Well, time ran out and we never finished, but we learned a lot! We are both disappointed to be missing today's camp. 

I think today we will watch the following brainpop videos: GPS, satellite, and longitude and latitude. I also borrowed a book from the teacher titled "Let's Go Geocaching" by John McKinney (a DK Reader).


Rhonda said...

Glad to hear that you are getting fit and feeling good. Keep up the great work. That GPS class looks like it was so much fun, but hard. I am not good with directions at all. Sorry to hear that Alex is not feeling well. I hope that it passes quickly.

lahbluebonnet said...

What fun! I forgot to post on the 4th at CW, my son was using his 18th century sun dial/compass and a guest next to him, while waiting or Lafayette, pulled out his gps and they compared notes! It was really interesting!

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