in the World?
The student will be able to:
1. identify and label latitude, longitude, poles, equator, and
the cardinal directions on a globe and a map
2. identify places on Earth by points of latitude and longitude
3. provide the coordinates of a location.
4. recognize a grid.
Blank world map with space for labeling all the above concepts
Handout with coordinates of places in latitude and longitude.
One to two class periods
Introduce the lesson to younger students by getting them to sing along
and act out songs. These songs can be sung to the tune of "The Wheels
on the Bus" (with minor variations).
I'm climbing the Ladder of Latitudes, latitudes, latitudes
I'm climbing the ladder of latitudes, all around the world.
(Stretch arms from side to side, then bring them together in front as
if you were holding a beach ball.)
It's a LONG LONG way from pole to pole, pole to pole, pole to pole
It's a LONG LONG way from pole to pole, so we call those LONGITUDES.
(Stretch arms from up to down to indicated going from pole to pole.)
For older students, prompt their interests with questions such as how
do airplanes know how to land and how do ships know where to navigate?
Explain that latitude and longitude play a large role in these processes.
1. Explain the difference between maps and the globe. Both are models
of the Earth, but the globe is round, like the Earth, and the map is flat,
like a picture. Give attention to the different features each represents.
2. Ask students to identify where they live - from specific to
general (i.e., address, city, state, country, continent, hemisphere, planet).
Define each of these terms. Use city, state, US and World maps and globe
to relay these concepts. Invite students to identify these locations on
the maps and globe.
3. Explain that imaginary lines divide the Earth. Using the globe
identify the equator, the poles, and the prime meridian. The halves separated
by the equator and the halves separated by the prime meridian are called
hemispheres. Show these same features on the map.
4. Use the map to demonstrate the cardinal directions, north, south,
east, and west. Ask students to identify the map grid. Explain that the
grid lines refer to latitude and longitude. Compare and contrast the grid
as it appears on the map and the globe.
5. Explain that the equator as 0 degrees latitude and horizontal
lines above and below the equator identify points of latitude.
6. Explain that the prime meridian is 0 degrees longitude and vertical
lines around to the left and right of it are the lines of longitude.
7. Demonstrate how to locate a place on Earth (your city) by its
point of latitude and longitude.
8. Invite students to name locations and show them how to find
them on the map and globe.
The lines of latitude and longitude are not straight, since they are on
the surface of a sphere. Note that close to the poles the lines appear
to be closer together. But if one looks at a map the lines of longitude
and latitude appear straight and seem to form a square grid. Even though
the lines look different on a map and globe, the measurements were standardized
a long time ago so that everyone could use longitude and latitude to find
an exact spot on Earth.
Go to the activity Help Thor Save his Ship.
Ask students to make a list of places they would like to visit. Students
can exchange lists with each other and in small groups use maps and the
globe to find the coordinates for the location. For each location, students
write a sentence that includes uses the cardinal directions and the terms
equator, prime meridian, latitude, and longitude, and include a drawing
of the location.
Handout with coordinates of places in latitude and longitude. Blank world
map correctly labeled to show latitude, longitude, poles, equator, and
the cardinal directions. More challenging questions should be identified
for upper grade students.
Standard covered in this lesson: State Goal 17
DEMONSTRATE KNOWLEDGE OF WORLD GEOGRAPHY, AS WELL AS AN UNDERSTANDING
OF THE EFFECTS OF GEOGRAPHY ON SOCIETY, WITH AN EMPHASIS ON THE UNITED
Demonstrate a basic understanding of direction, size, shape, distance,
relative and absolute location, and other geographic representations.
1. Locate familiar places in a community on a map using cardinal directions
(e.g., north, south, east, west).
2. Describe the location of school, home, neighborhood, community, and
features within it (e.g., parks, stores, landmarks).
Use maps, globes, graphs, photographs, other geographic tools, and technology
to acquire, process, and report information about Chicago and other places
and regions in the United States.
1. Compare and contrast maps and globes and describe the information they
1. Locate places in a community and city using cardinal directions and
measure the distances between them.
1. Interpret symbols on a map to identify physical features.
1. Identify the major reference points on maps and globes (e.g., Equator,
Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circles, Prime Meridian,
3. Differentiate between types of maps and their uses.
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.
1. Explain fundamental concepts such as distance, latitude, and longitude.
Acquire, process, and report information about places and regions in the
world using maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technology.
1. Explain the characteristics and purposes of geographic representations
(maps, globes, graphs, diagrams, aerial photos).