A hands-on navigation technology workshop to support the math options for girls program

Robert Gray, Thomas L. Hemminger

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The Penn State Erie Math Options Program addresses a national issue: women are vastly underrepresented in the fields of math, science, engineering, and computer technology even at a time when expertise in these fields is in high demand. National Science Foundation statistics show that only 12% of all engineers are women, and even fewer are minority women. The Math Options Program is designed to help increase the numbers of women and minority women entering careers in math, science, engineering, and computer technology through encouragement, support, workshop-based activities, role modeling, and mentoring. The program also focuses on the study of math as the foundation for science-based college major choices and careers. Since Spring 2000, Penn State Erie has offered hands-on Navigation Technology Education workshops for female students in grades 6, 7 and 8. Over one-hundred students and their math and science teachers have participated in the outdoor on-campus workshops "Measuring Distances Using Satellite Navigation" and either the "Scavenger" or "Search and Rescue" workshop. These workshops allow students to use G PS as a means of applying the math and science they are learning in school to solving real-world navigation problems. Additionally, the workshops allow a natural progression into supplementary demonstrations using geographical information system (GIS) mapping and discussions on careers in areas such as cartography, mapping and geodesy. Following each workshop, the young students are also are encouraged to reflect on navigation technology of the past, present and future; and how navigation technology is indeed an important application of the math and science concepts taught in grade school and beyond. This paper will describe, in detail, the workshop in which distances are measured by using satellite navigation and the Pythagorean theorem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2004
Event60th Annual Meeting of the Institute of Navigation - Dayton, OH, United States
Duration: Jun 7 2004Jun 9 2004


Other60th Annual Meeting of the Institute of Navigation
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityDayton, OH

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Transportation
  • Aerospace Engineering


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