Make Your Own Compass

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
6 7 8
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Summary:In ancient times, sailors found their way by observing stars and other celestial bodies — when they were visible through the clouds, that is. Thus, one of the most important improvements to ocean navigation was the invention of the compass. There is some disagreement about who should get credit for this invention. It's pretty clear that the Chinese knew about magnetism as early as 2637 BC, but the first written description of a compass for navigation didn't appear in Europe until 1190. Why did it take so long? After you do this activity, you may have at least one good answer!
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 1
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS1.A
NGSS Performance Expectations:MS-ESS1-1
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Developing and using models
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Patterns
Subjects: earth science week; mapping; space
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