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Satellite Tracking

Teaching Resources

Educator Created Products

Learning With Loggerheads (280 KB PDF)
Science and Children, September 2007

Sea Turtle Coloring Book (1.44 MB PDF)
Provided by the Ocean Conservancy in English and Spanish

Turtle Tracks (372 KB JPEG)
Using real-time satellite telemetry data in the classroom

Educators Guide (6 MB PDF)

If you would like to help develop the satellite tracking teaching resources please contact

The SEATURTLE.ORG Satellite Tracking Program provides a unique opportunity to engage students in a fun and exciting way. Satellite tracking can be used to develop lesson plans covering a number of subject areas, including biology, math, geography and even politics. Below is a list of suggested exercises divided by subject area. New exercises will be added to the list as they are developed.

Tracking Maps

Print and reproduce these maps for tracking and geography exercises.

Tracking Data

Access Data

Access to these data are restricted to registered users and are intended for classroom use ONLY. If you would like access to data on this site:

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  2. Send a message to requesting access to tracking data. Please include your name, educational institution, and position.
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Links : Education : Kid's Stuff


  • Species Identification
  • Compare your weight to that of a turtle
  • Guess where the turtles are heading
  • Why is the turtle traveling along her current path? What environmental factors might influence the track?
  • Describe the movements of the turtle. By looking at her movements, can you tell if she is migrating, nesting, or feeding?


  • Make a list of threats to sea turtles Ask students to review the news section of to identify as many threats to sea turtles as possible. Students can work individually or in groups.
  • Prepare a report on your favorite species

Earth Science

  • Navigation - plot turtle locations Using the tracking data and a blank map to plot the points at which the turtle's location has been recorded. Number the points on the map as you plot them, and mark the date of the satellite transmission next to each point. Connect the numbers sequentially to show the route of the sea turtle. (Note: these data are approximations, the precise data are yet to be published.)
  • Use the map scale to estimate the total distance the turtle has traveled? What is the average daily distance she has traveled? What has her average daily speed (mph) been?
  • Do you see points on your tracking map which seem suspicious? Which ones, and how do you explain them?


  • Ask students to label all of the countries or states on the tracking map.
  • Ask students to label all of the territorial or state waters that a turtle passes through. By internation law, the territorial waters, or exclusive economic zone, of each country extends 200 miles from shore. Many states also maintain jurisdiction over the waters extending from their shoreline. For example, US states have jurisdiction over waters extending out to 9 miles from shore, except for Texas and the west coast of Florida whose territorial waters extend 18 miles from shore.


  • How many miles did the trip cover?
  • What was the average speed from fix to fix and for the entire trip?
  • What was the heading (compass direction) on each leg of the trip?
  • Calculate total distance traveled, straight line distance, average daily distance, average daily speed.
  • Compare average speed near nesting beach, during migration, and on foraging ground. Can you use speed to tell if she was migrating, nesting or foraging?
  • Compare depths, where were most locations recorded?
  • Use algebra to calculate distance between each point. Good opportunity to teach students about the Pythagoras' Theorem. The length of the hypotenuse is a good approximation of the actual distance travelled over short distances.
  • Discuss "great circle" and try using trig to calculate more accurate distances, or use one of the many distance calculators available on the web. Does the algebra method give greater or smaller distances than the trig method? Pythagoras' Theorem breaks down over longer distances because the earth is not flat and the distance between latitudinal lines decreases as you approach the poles. You can use trigonometric calculations to get a better estimate of distance travelled. You can take this a step further by using "great circle" equations to take into account latitudinal changes. Again, this is only an approximation because the earth is not a perfect sphere. Demonstrate the limitations of the Pythagoras' Theorem by using both methods to calculate the distance between the first and last points available.
  • Bathymetry (Math/Graphing, Earth Science)


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