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This Topic in Depth explores the Web's offering on compasses. The first site is another great site from How Stuff Works.com called How Compasses Work (1). Visitors can read the interesting text and view attractive graphics on the basics of what a compass is and how it is used. The second site, maintained by Learn-Orienteering.com, is specifically about How to Use a Compass (2). Topics covered include the Compass Alone, Compass and Map Interacting, Magnetic Declination and Uncertainty, Suggested Exercises, Navigating Under Difficult Conditions, Finding the Directions Without a Compass, A Collection of Rhymes People use to Remember About Declination, and even information and tips on Buying a Compass. From Heather Williams of Williams College comes the next site entitled Compass Types (3 ). Here, those interested can learn about the workings, uses, and differences of the baseplate or protractor compass and the thumb compass. One other interesting paragraph describes how important the compass actually is for navigation. The fourth site is a quality lesson plan offered by National Geographic's Xpeditioin Web site called Which Direction Should I Go (4)? The activity "has students review and practice their knowledge of compass directions and do several brief exercises to practice using directions in their community and on maps." Next, the Make a Compass (5) Web site is part of the Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Education page. Visitors learn how to make a simple compass out a sewing needle, magnet, bowl of water, and a piece of paper, pretty easily. The history of magnetism and the compass is chronicled in the next site from NASA called Magnetic Fields: History (6). The site explains what transpired when Hans Christian Oersted in 1820 carried out demonstrations of magnetism using a compass needle mounted on a wooden stand. The seventh site is part of Opticsgiant.com, an optics retailer, called Compasses (7). The site provides a short description on how to use a compass, but was primarily chosen to give readers an idea of the wide range of compasses that are available today for purchase. The last site on this subject is maintained by the US Geological Survey called Finding Your Way with Map and Compass (5). This well designed site does a good job of explaining everything from using topographic maps, determining direction, taking a compass bearing, and more.
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