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Go West, Young Man!

by Brina S. Welch

The purpose of this webquest is to give students the opportunity to be more observant and curious about the world around them in general and the sky in particular.  They are required to observe the night-time sky at their homes across a two-week period and make notes on any changes they see.  They will also get the chance to flex their technological muscles with online research about the history and development of basic celestial navigation to gain insight into how necessity creates the need for advancement and how ideas can grow and change across time.  This research will culminate in the development (and creativity) of a timeline that plots the development of some of the techniques and tools used.

The webquest has been designed for middle school students in grade 8. 


Standard 8-4:  Astronomy: Earth and Space Systems - In their research, students will be introduced to the idea that navigators imagine the world as a sphere inside another sphere made of stars and from this they gain their reference points for determining the direction in which to travel.  This idea illustrates the relation of movement of the Earth to other features of the night sky.