Measuring the Circumference of the Earth with GPS

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GIS Level:
  • Intermediate
Geographic Scale:
  • Any-All
Target Audience:
  • Primary
  • Middle School
  • Secondary
  • Higher Ed
  • Career-Workforce

With a GPS receiver, find out how you and your students can accurately measure the circumference of the Earth to within 1% of the accepted value. In this lesson, students start by learning about Eratosthenes, who calculated the circumference 2,500 years ago. They then go into the field to calculate the circumference in a variety of different ways, and also consider mass and volume. This lesson incorporates scale, measurement, field work, coordinate systems, and brings together mathematics, geography, and physics.

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