Maths in 3-D


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  • number
  • algebra
  • measurement
  • geometry


  • understanding
  • problem solving

Zebedee is a handheld 3-D mapping system, which consists of a lightweight scanner that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analysing the reflected light. It has a maximum range of approximately 30m.The measurement unit uses electrical and mechanical components built on the nanoscale. It is mounted on a simple spring mechanism. As an operator holding the device moves through the environment, the scanner loosely oscillates about the spring, thereby producing rotational motion that converts the 2-D scanning plane into a local 3-D field of view.With the use of software, the sensor trajectory can be accurately and continuously calculated in real-time, and the range measurements can be projected into a common coordinate frame to generate a 3-D point image.

Teacher notes


Activity 1: Be a Zebedee

Years 8–10

Students simulate how the Zebedee works in two dimensions. Instead of light, this simulation activity uses sound to identify the positions. Students cooperate as a team to lay out and then navigate a course. They then construct accurate scale diagrams and compare to the original.


Activity 2: Are we there yet?

Years 7–9

Students perform calculations about speed, distance and time, emphasising estimation and correct units. They plan a driving trip of their own choice, taking into account practical factors.


Activity 3: Scientific notation

Years 8–11

Students explore the scientific notation used for very big and very small numbers, and use that knowledge in a variety of questions.


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