Lesson Plan: Science and technology ages 13-16


Test yourself

Classroom Activity

Aim of lesson

  • To be able to understand the role Polaris/the North Star plays in celestial navigation in the northern hemisphere.
  • To be able to comprehend the importance of measuring latitude when determining one’s position on Earth.
  • To be able to understand how a simple navigational instruments such as the kamal works.
  • To be able to research the use of a GPS (Global Positioning System) and compare it with the kamal as a navigational tool.

Success criteria

  • Can explain the importance of Polaris for early navigators estimating latitude.
  • Can make and use a kamal to determine latitude.
  • Can use research skills to compare a modern navigational tool, the GPS, with a kamal.

Thinking skills

  • Evaluating: appraise, judge, select, value, assess
  • Applying: use, demonstrate, operate, procedure
  • Analysing: compare, distinguish, examine, contrast


  • Stiff card.
  • Scissors.
  • String.
  • A sharp thin object e.g. a nail.
  • Large sheet flip chart paper.
  • Markers.
  • Notebook pen and pencils.
  • Access to the Internet or a library.
  • Post-It stickers

Starter activity

  • Students to read through the information page to prepare for a class discussion of the question: ‘What role has the North Star (Polaris) played in celestial navigation over the centuries?’

Main activities

  • Guide and monitor the students through the activity sheet.


  • Discuss: What thinking skills did you use in this lesson?  How did you use them?  How did they help you learn?