Mathalicious: Triplets of Cellville

How do cell phone towers identify your location?

Today’s cell phones have amazing location-based capabilities. They know where you are, map where you’re going, tell you which route to take, and find a place to buy a coffee on the way. How do they DO that? How many cell towers does it take to pinpoint your location?

In this lesson, students describe the location information provided by a cell phone tower, explain why loci from at least three towers are required to pinpoint a customer’s location, and consider the tradeoff between coverage and “locatability” when a cell phone company chooses a new tower location.


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High School

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