Introduce key vocabulary words: latitude, longitude, equator, prime
Distribute two wooden sticks to every student and have them glue or tape
them together, creating a plus sign. Ask the students to hold up their sticks
so that one is parallel to the classroom walls and the other is parallel to
the floor. Write “top” in small letters at the part of the stick closest to
the ceiling. Then ask which of the two sticks measures latitude and which
measures longitude. Establish that the vertical stick represent longitude and
have the students write “longitude” on that stick, starting with the “l” at the
top and moving down the stick. Then establish that the horizontal stick
represents latitude and have students write “latitude” across that stick.
Tell students to use their sticks as a reminder if they should get confused
over the meanings of latitude and longitude as they complete this activity.
Using a spherical world globe and demonstrate that the globe is bisected
north to south between the poles by an imaginary line called the prime
meridian, and east to west through its center by the equator. Put a
thin piece of colored tape around the globe at both the prime meridian and
the equator and pass it around for students to see. Tell students to imagine
the entire globe with a series of vertical and horizontal lines that form
a grid by which any point on the earth’s surface can be specified.
Divide students into pairs and give each pair a copy of the Atlantic Ocean
map and a Latitude and
Longitude worksheet. Have them plot the cities for which latitude and
longitude are given, and write in the latitude and longitude for the final
Have students exchange their worksheet and map with another pair of students
to check each other’s results. If they find differences, have the pairs work
together to find the right answer.
Have students use the Latitude and Longitude Finder from Infoplease.com (http://www.infoplease.com/atlas/latitude-longitude.html)
to locate the latitude and longitude of at least three places. Collect the
students’ coordinates and use them for a team quiz bowl, with competing students
trying to plot a location on a class map.
Have students make a map of a make-believe place. It could be a place totally
of their imagination, or a place such as Narnia, Atlantis, or Sherwood Forest.
The maps should have a latitude and longitude grid by which a person could
locate specific places.