Latitude
Lesson:
Calibrating your Fist
Grades:
35
Objectives:
The student will be able to:
1. identify and draw a 90° angle.
2. understand the concept of measurement.
3. use their body to measure latitude.
4. estimate measurement.
Materials:
Map for reviewing concepts of latitude and cardinal directions.
Chalkboard or drawing pad for modelling.
Drawing supplies for students.
Handouts for latitude exercise. (See Part 2)
Lesson:
One to two class periods.
Introduction:
How did people learn to measure before they had instruments for measuring?
They estimated based on things that were familiar to them. Everyone can
relate to size by equating them with our body. Familiarize students with
common measurements in use today that refer to the body, such as foot
(12 inches), hand (10 centimeters), head (unit of 30, as in cattle). In
this lesson, students will learn how to measure using their fist.
Activity:
Part
1
1. Briefly review the concept of horizon, latitude, and the directions
North, South, East and West. Ask students to position themselves in the
room to demonstrate understanding of directions.
2. Demonstrate how to imitate a 90° angle by holding one arm
straight out to the side and the other arm straight in front of you. Ask
students to imitate the angle.
3. Demonstrate how to calibrate your fist. Stand still and raise
the arm out in front of you to eye level with your hand in a fist. Close
one eye. Carefully begin moving your arm out to the side, watching and
counting how many fists you can line up side by side until your arm is
straight out to your side. Use things in the classroom as guides to help
you count those imaginary fists. Ask students to do the same.
4. Ask students to draw a 90° angle and write down the number
of fists they counted. (An average fist is equal to about 10°. You
can also divide 90° by the number of fists counted to get the value
of a single fist.) Explain that the measurement in an angle is called
degrees. Ask students how many fists they measured and ask them to answer
in degrees.
5. Have students calibrate the angle in degrees using a ruler.
Part
2 (indoors or outdoors)
1. Tell the students that today they will be finding their latitude
by using their fists. Briefly review the concept of horizon, latitude,
and the directions North, South, East and West. If moved to a new location,
ask students to identify cardinal directions.
2. Explain the concept of altitude, parallel, perpendicular, horizontal
and vertical.
3. Identify a horizon point in the room or playground, and landmarks
above the horizon line (pictures on the wall, tree tops, etc.). Explain
that the altitude of these landmarks are perpendicular to the horizon.
Demonstrate by using objects or your body:
Hold one arm on your stomach and lift so that your forearm is in a
straight line in front of you. Explain that your arm is lying horizontal,
or parallel to the ground. In other words, your arm is lying in the same
direction of the ground.
Now raise your arm from the elbow so that your fingers are pointing straight
up. Ask students if your arm is parallel now? Explain that it is now
vertical, or perpendicular to the ground. Perpendicular means exactly
vertical, or straight up and down.
4. Line up your closed fist parallel to the horizon. Count the
number of fists it takes to measure the altitude of landmarks. Allow students
to try out measuring other landmarks with their fists.
5. Give students handout of landmarks to measure. Include word
problems asking students to draw a landmark in relationship to the horizon.
Closure:
Recall your introductory story and discuss the importance of being able
to measure your location. Recall the relationship between latitude and
altitude, and why that is important to know in determining one's location.
Ask students to think of inventions that have made it easier to measure
things. Review how to calibrate their fists and let them know next time
they will use their understanding to construct and use a quadrant.
Extensions:
Online:
Go to the activities, Rotation of the Earth and/or Constellation
Identification.
Offline:
Ask the students to use their fists to calibrate tall buildings or constellations
when at home.
1. In the evening after the sun has set, students should face
north.
2. Students should locate the tall building or constellation they
wish to measure.
3. Students place their fist straight out in front of them with
the bottom of the fist resting on the horizon line. They should then count
how many fists they can stack up before the top of their fist reaches
their target object.
4. Since the students have already calibrated their fists, they
know that the number of fists they counted up to their target object multiplied
by how many degrees their fist will cover will give them the number of
degrees up, or their latitude!
Share these experiences with the rest of the class.
Assesments:
Observation of children during activities.
Drawing of angle. (Review their drawing to see if they are grasping the
concept of a 90° angle.)
Handout on measuring the landmarks. (Review handouts to see if students
grasp understanding of measurement.)
Glossary:
altitude
angle
cardinal directions
degrees
horizon
latitude
parallel
perpendicular
vertical
Standard
covered in this lesson:
Grades 35
State Goal 9 (referenced in this lesson)
USE GEOMETRIC METHODS TO ANALYZE, CATEGORIZE, AND DRAW CONCLUSIONS ABOUT
POINTS, LINES, PLANES, AND SPACE.
State Goal 13 (referenced in this lesson)
HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY,
AND SOCIETY IN HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY CONTEXTS.
CAS A.
Identify and describe major technological changes and their effects on
people, tools, and nature.
Grade 4
State Goal 13
HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY,
AND SOCIETY IN HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY CONTEXTS.
CAS A.
Investigate and present ways in which science and technology have changed
the tools, careers, resource use, and productivity of society.
CFS
2. Describe technological developments that have enabled scientists to
observe phenomena beyond the capabilities of unaided human senses due
to factors such as distance, location, and speed (e.g., microscope, radar).
State Goal 17:
DEMONSTRATE A KNOWLEDGE OF WORLD GEOGRAPHY, AS WELL AS AN UNDERSTANDING
OF THE EFFECTS OF GEOGRAPHY ON SOCIETY, WITH AN EMPHASIS ON THE UNITED
STATES.
CAS A.
Explain and demonstrate the use of geographic concepts and skills (eg.,
estimation of distance, calculation of scale, population, density, spatial
distribution) when describing the historical development of the City of
Chicago, the State of Illinois, and the United States.
CFS
1. Explain fundamental concepts such as distance, latitude, and longitude.
Grade 5
State Goal 13:
HAVE A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF THE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY,
AND SOCIETY IN HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY CONTEXTS.
CAS A.
Investigate and present ways in which science and technology have changed
the tools, careers, resource use, and productivity of society.
CFS
2. Describe technological developments that have enabled scientists to
observe phenomena beyond the capabilities of unaided human senses due
to factors such as distance, location, and speed (e.g., microscope, radar).
State Goal 17
DEMONSTRATE A KNOWLEDGE OF WORLD GEOGRAPHY, AS WELL AS AN UNDERSTANDING
OF THE EFFECTS OF GEOGRAPHY ON SOCIETY, WITH AN EMPHASIS ON THE UNITED
STATES.
CAS A.
Explain and demonstrate the use of geographic concepts and skills (e.g.,
estimation of distance, calculation of scale, population, density, spatial
distribution) when describing the historical development of the City of
Chicago, the State of Illinois, and the United States.
CFS
1. Identify and locate physical and human features in both absolute and
relative terms. in the local
CAS B.
Acquire, process, and report information about places and regions in the
world using maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technology.
CFS
1. Recognize and demonstrate the importance of latitude, longitude, and
other reference systems in locating places on a map or globe.
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