I always loved map navigation. During my school years, I used to follow on the map most of the Jules Verne adventures. Also I have followed in my imagination and with the compass on the map the big explorers, the pirates and the military campaign of the ancient conquerors.
It is amazing to learn about the human ingenuity in traveling, guided first by the sun and the stars and later, by the map and compass. The need to find a reliable system of navigation was one of the main engines in the development of the astronomy and mathematic. This is why navigation makes an excellent topic for interdisciplinary learning and it can be the source of many captivating projects.
Air navigation is one of the themes I used to teach my son about maps, climate, geography, science and math.
Mission: Start from one location and use a protractor and a ruler to navigate on a map.
Notions: Navigation, Maps, Compass, Longitude and Latitude, Scale.
Materials: Any map, protractor, ruler.
Chose a starting point on the map and write the coordinates of the itinerary (longitude, latitude, compass directions and lengths).If you want to keep it simple,give your child only the directions and the lengths of various segments of his itinerary. If you chose to travel around the world you can consider additional information about the place you are going to visit (refuel the plane).
If you want to make things more complicated, consider the weather factor and the effects of the ocean currents on the flight. Also, you can refer to Charles Lindberg flight plan and the reason he chose his itinerary considering the curvature of the Earth.
For more excitement, you can allocate a specific time frame to accomplish the mission. Also, do not mention the final destination and let your child discover it. Here you can chose a prize for to reward him for his success. If he is caught by the game, you can ask him to give you a similar challenge Of course, he will be again the one to get the prize!
After he finishes the course on the map you can ask him to use Google Earth to actually fly your itinerary.