Education Technology

Science TODAY™ - Scientists Go Below to Find

Published on 10/17/2008

Activity Overview

In this activity, using the USA TODAY® Infograph "Scientists Go Below to Find," students will graph a city's location by using latitude and longitude coordinates. Students will determine the distance to travel between cities using a vertical and horizontal movement. To determine the shortest distance between two cities, students will use the Pythagorean Theorem. Applying the relationships to a real-world problem will help students understand how geometry is used to solve problems.

Before the Activity

Provide one graphing calculator for each student. Each student should have a copy of the corresponding student activity sheet. Provide each student with the following AppVar PYTHAG.

During the Activity

  • Have the students link the AppVars as part of the class period on the previous day or during the beginning of the class period when you are going to use this activity.
  • Review opening an AppVars using Cabri Jr. with your class before starting the activity.
  • Students can work individually or in groups to assist each other during the activity.
  • Have students discuss their discoveries while they work to better understand the relationships.
  • Before starting the AppVars, remind students to carefully read the opening screen and the activity pages.
  • Students should take time to identify and discuss what the numbers represent.
  • Before starting the activity, discuss using longitude (horizontal) and latitude (vertical) movement to find the distance traveled between two points. Remind students that these components represent the two legs of the right triangle formed.

  • After the Activity

  • Review student answers
  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary









  • Note: TODAY is a trademark of USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co., Inc.