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Dead Reckoning II

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: War of 1812

Grade Level: 4-8

Common Core Standards
Measurement and Data
• Solve problems involving measurement
• Represent and interpret data

Content Areas: Math, Social Studies

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes

Learning Goals: Students will understand the relationship between time, distance traveled and speed. Students will practice multiplication and division calculation skills.


  1. Read aloud or have students read independently the article on traditional navigational measurements and time/distance calculations. Emphasize the traditional units of nautical miles and knots (nautical miles per hour) and that 24 hour or military time eliminates the confusion of a.m. and p.m.
  2. Explain that students will be practicing the kind of calculations ship navigators routinely did in plotting their courses.
  3. Review the directions for the Time/Speed/Distance worksheet. Work a simple example on the board. E.g. The time between May 1 – 800 and May 3 – 1000 is 50 hours. A ship traveling at 10 knots for 50 hours will cover a distance of 500 nautical miles.
  4. Have students work independently or in pairs to calculate the distances traveled.
  5. When students have finished the calculations, review their responses. Clarify any disagreements or errors.

Assessments: Collect worksheets to determine completeness and accuracy.

Materials/Resources: Time Distance worksheets

Special Considerations: The teacher can determine if the use of calculators is appropriate or not.

Extensions: These courses and distances actually lead somewhere (New York to XXXX). If students are interested they can try to plot the course on a world map. Keep in mind that typical maps have significant projection distortion that may make accurate plotting impossible. However, the courses should get close enough to guess at the intended destination.