A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: David Pike
Date: 2022 Sep 1, 14:04 -0700
I know diddly squat (is that a good American term?) about lunars, but I have taught students aged from 7 to 70 in my time, so maybe I could suggest a few ideas anyway. Firstly, we’re talking about 14–18-year-olds, so their minds will be on anything but schoolwork, as I’m sure you already know. Secondly, I wouldn’t attempt to start with higher trigonometry or geometry. The subject is World History, so start by helping them work out why lunars were necessary. Let the students drive the progress rate. If one or two are struggling on words like latitude and longitude, let alone terms like declination and hour angle, anything after that will sound like bagpipe music to them. Start by eliciting what they already know and keep driving them to work out the next stage. Start by asking them what they know about position on the Earth; then focus on latitude and longitude. Then get them to suggest why knowing where they are in terms of lat & long, or perhaps more importantly where they’re not, is of vital importance to mariners.
Then leave that for a while and find out what they know about the Universe, the Sun, the Solar System, the Planets, the Earth, and the Moon. I’m always surprised how much the primary grades do know; they seem to forget, or lose interest, as they grow older. Elicit why we have seasons. You can introduce declination here, and that enables you to show that if you know the Sun’s declination for a particular date and have a simple instrument for measuring angles you can measure your latitude quite easily by measuring the height of the Sun at mid-day. To be continued. I’ve got to leave early in the morning to drive to the Humber and be rigged and ready to slip at least an hour before high-water Brough 09.48UTC. Back Saturday. Anyone else is welcome to continue this story in the meantime. DaveP