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Old 10-27-2006, 10:18 PM
newstome newstome is offline
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Default 1st grade - project idea with maps (long)

and I would love help shaping it into a SCIENCE project.

First, the local categories allowed for 1st graders are 1) hobby or collection, 2) model building 3) laboratory demonstration. The hobby or collection category only lists examples of collections, but as I understand it, the object is to display a collection and show what having/acquiring that collection has taught about the subject (types of rocks, classification of dinosaurs or insects, etc).

So, my son has an above-his-age interest in maps, something he has had for more than 2 years. If a "hobby" could be used to demonstrate knowledge acquired, could I use his interest in maps? I was interested in teaching him about geocaching - a hobby using a GPS device and longitude/lattitude coordinates to find small hidden boxes. While researching this, I also found that many geocachers search for benchmarks as well. I didn't know what these were - here is the explanation they had:

Benchmark Hunting - Using your GPS unit and/or written directions provided by NGS, which are available for review by the public, you can seek out NGS survey markers and other items that have been marked in the USA.

What is a benchmark?
Geodetic control points are permanently affixed objects at various locations all over the United States to enable land surveying, civil engineering and mapping to be done efficiently. These objects are usually metal disks, but can be any other object that serves as a control point.

These markers are part of the geodetic control network created and maintained by the National Geodetic Survey(NGS). The NGS maintains a database of these locations. In the database, each geodetic control marker has a PID (Permanent IDentifier) number, and a datasheet of information about it. Although much of the descriptive (how to find it) data is outdated, the surviving markers remain vitally important to the conduct of our nation's commerce.

Why search for geodetic control points?

The interesting thing about benchmarks and horizontal control points is that a majority of them are located in plain sight (though largely ignored by the
general public). ... Some of these points haven't been visited and documented as being still in existence in a very long time, so you may also be rediscovering long neglected objects of American history as well!

It seems to me there is some scientific basis involved in this type of hobby - longitude/lattitude, principles of using a compass, learning about topographical maps, ???? But it doesn't easily fit into the comments I see most often on science fair sites, especially concerning scientific method. But then again, I'm not sure that the "collection" idea fits that either.

Any help in shaping this idea into a project would be appreciated. I think it could be fun for a kid, especially one interested in maps (it's essentially like a treasure hunt). It has lots of potential for display interest, in maps and photographs of locations or geodetic markers, especially as they are set into the local (city) landscape.

In case it makes a difference, this is our first science fair, all K-6 students at the school are required to participate, the students will not be present at the judging (no questions or interaction with judges) and we have just over 3 weeks before the fair.

Thanks for your help
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