A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Project Information


You may be able to navigate the roads, but can you navigate the skies? There are no signs to point you in the right direction. How do pilots find their way? Learn the principles of aviation navigation in this real time data project!

After completing a number of pilot training lessons in which students learn how to use vectors, read real time weather maps, and track real planes flying in U.S. skies, students then put their knowledge to the test by taking the Pilot Test Flight. Here they will solve an authentic real world problem using science and mathematics.

Appropriate Grade Level

This project is intended to teach high school physics students about vectors. Students will learn how to use vectors to represent displacement and velocity and then how to use both graphical and analytical methods to determine vector resultants and components. Younger students may use the first 2-3 lessons in this project as an introduction to vectors.

Time to Complete Project

This project is broken up into 8 lessons plus a pilot test flight. Lessons #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 are each designed to be used in one 45 minute class period. Lessons #2, 7, and 9 may each take 2 class periods. The level of the students using the project and how much prior experience they have had using vectors will factor heavily into this time allotment. Please review each of the lessons carefully and use your judgment for allocating class time for the project.

Material Available on this Site

 It is recommended that the student lessons be completed in the order they are listed. Students and teachers are welcome to submit work for publication in the Student Gallery. The Teacher Guide contains a teacher's guide for each lesson (including printable student worksheets), a list of curriculum standards that are satisfied by the project, web site backup information, hands-on activities and other related project information. The Reference Material section has lots of links related to aviation and physics, and the Ask An Expert section contains a list of online experts you can contact with aviation/physics questions.