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Latitude and Longitude

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Here are some activities to reinforce the concept of latitude and longitude.
Latitude/ Longitude Battleship
Posted by:Tracy #60307

After teaching my 6th grade students about the lines of longitude and latitude, I play battleship with them in class. I clear the desks to the sides of the room and create a huge grid on the floor with masking tape. Then I label all the lines either latitude or longitude. When the students come to class they are divided into 2 teams and play similar to the battleship game. 2 students make up a battleship and each side only has 1 battleship at a time. I even make paper hats for the students to wear to represent a hit or a miss. This allows the students to visually see the lines as well as practice saying them correctly.

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Longitude and latitude
Posted by:speeder1 #127803

When teaching the importance of longitude and latitude lines, my students always like it when I have them to blow up a blue balloon (to represent the Earth), get a permanent marker and sit back to back to each other. Then:

1. I one student try to describe an area/location to the other and have the other student try to find it. When they have difficulty, I then have the class to draw the equator around the balloon.

2. Then I have them to repeat #1. This time they will find it a bit easier but still hard when they can say if the location is above or below the equator.

3. Then I have them to draw some longitude lines (and number them) on the balloon and then repeat #1. Once again it is easier but still difficult to get the same location.


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Latitude and Longitude
Posted by:JohnV #59420

If I remember correctly my suggestion was to have the children use the chalk to lay out a grid on your parking lot or paved playground. Make a zero line North to South (Prime Meridian) and a zero line East to West (the Equator), then make other grid lines and label them in degrees North and South of the Equator and East and West of the Prime Meridian. Allow the students to compare these lines to the lines on a map and on a globe.

Make "X" marks at various points on your grid. Label some of them with numbers and others of them with letters. Give the students a list of coordinates in Latitude and Longitude to find the letters in order. You can even set it up so that the students don't use all of the letters, but if they find the correct ones in...

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Posted by:Dawn #20774

What grade are your students? Are you locating places on maps using longitude/latitude? If so, an idea is to plot earthquakes on a world map. I did this for observation in 5th grade. You can go to the website for the US Geological Survey. They have a list of every earthquake, date, and location by long. and lat. Print that out, select which earthquakes you'd like to plot, and then have the students find these on a world map.

One thing I did that the observer really liked is I looked up earthquakes in the birthday year of the students. Almost all had an earthquake (usually a minor one, but still...) on the actual day they were born. They were very excited by this & it motivated them to find the location.

If this doesn't apply to you, maybe someone else can adapt it--good luck!

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Longitude and latitude
Posted by:Christy #49826

One thing I did was give out popsicle sticks and had the students write the word longitude on one side going down vertically and then on the other side write latitude horizontally. I let the kids use this as a tool and then eventually most of them didn't need to use it anymore.

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Found Lesson Plan for OWA
Posted by:Janie #45956

The teacher who gave me this lesson plan is awesome. He also gave me a cd full of Social Studies activities. I am trying to copy on the SS board for a resource. Enjoy!

An Orange with Attitude
Presented by Purley Decker, AIG 2000

The purpose of this lesson is to help children to visualize the difference between latitude and longitude.

This activity uses oranges to demonstrate the difference between latitude and longitude.

Grade Range:
Grades 3-12

Geography standard: 1

Materials Needed:
One orange for each student plus one for the teacher.
Non-toxic markers.

Students will gain a visual understanding of the difference between latitude and longitude.

1. Give each student an orange and a marker.
2. Tell the students not to peel their oranges.
3. Explain that...

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your problem SOLVED
Posted by:suzie #31263

Hi! I teach longitude and latitude to my 4th graders around Halloween. I have each student bring in a pumpkin no bigger than a basketball (can be as small as those gourd-type mini pumpkins). In the days prior to the pumpkin due date, I teach the kids about longitude and latitude using a globe and maps. When they all have their pumpkins, we begin marking them with crayons (they can be wiped off easily if they make a mistake). They immediately notice that the pumpkins naturally have the longitude lines. So we trace those and mark one of the lines as the Prime Meridian. We follow that line around the opposite side of the pumpkin to find and label 180 degrees. Each line to the west we just mark "degrees West" and those to the east we mark "degrees East." We find the center of the...

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Posted by:Kathy Westermeyer #31264

Love the pumpkin idea--that's great! I have taught this using a ball and a song. (Sung to the tune: Jingle Bells

Latitude, latitude
Lines go round and round
Measuring north
Measuring south
From the equator
Latitude, latitude,
Lines go round and round
Measuring north,
Measuring south
Those lines of latitude.

Longitude, longitude
Lines go up and down
Measuring east,
Measuring west
From the prime meridian
Longitude, longitude,
Lines go up and down
Measuring east,
measuring west
Those lines of longitude.

Note: While they are singing this it's very important to have the students actually making the imaginary lines of longitude and latitude with their hands. If you use the pumpkin idea, have them trace the lines on the pumpkin with their fingers as they...

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Use classroom ceiling as grid
Posted by:foxglove #130250


When I introduce latititude and longitude I use the grid on the drop ceiling of the classroom. I label North, South, East and West on the correct walls. Then I label the Prime Meridian and the Equator and label out from those two lines. Then I have the students move their desks so that they are under connecting coordinates and explain the latitude measurement always comes first, then longitude. Then when I throw a ball to a student they must give me the correct coordinates for their location. Then they throw the ball to somene else, etc. After a few moments of that I have students change locations and we do it again. Last year I even had the custodian and principal who thought what we were doing looked like fun and came in and joined us. The custodian was having so much fun he...

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map skills
Posted by:Gina #44240

I learned a little poem from a colleague of mine. The third graders love it. Longitude lines go up and down,, latitude lines go round and round. You can also draw two pictures. The longitude picture is a spider sitting on top of the north pole the spider has LONG legs,, then draw a ladder,, the latitude lines go round and round the rungs of the ladder go back and fourth,,This worked great, when it comes time for a test my students would draw the spider and ladder on their paper to help them remember. The poem is said in a little chant (animated) My students really get into it.

We also draw a map and scale of our school.

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message in a bottle
Posted by:Jennie #18005

One activity I use to interest kids in learning latitude and longitude is "message in a bottle." Once I teach the skill, I write down latitude and longitude on a piece of paper and stick it into a bottle. I tell them that the bottle has washed to shore and that there's a map with buried treasure if only they find the right latitude and longitude. They enjoy this activity. You can include an old-looking map, if your want to.

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No title
Posted by:Teach'n'Learn #134990

Geocaching! If you can borrow a couple of GPS units, go on a small "treasure hunt" for something on your school grounds.

We just started latitude/longitude. I have the students wave their arms side to side (like they're pulling taffy sideways) and say "Laatiiituuude" then they pull taffy up and down and say "Loooongituuude" to demonstrate which way the lines go.

Then I have a map with latitude and longitude lines on it. We start at one reference point 39N 75 W, for example. They have to get to 43N 79W by pulling a direction card and a card for number of spaces to go. So, if the card says N and 2. They go to 41N 75W. Then they pull W and 3, they have to go to 41N 78W. The goal is to get to your target point in as few cards as possible.

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Remembering latitude and longitude
Posted by:Nik #134991

I show my kids how they can remember by the way their mouth moves when saying the words. When you say laaaaaatitude your mouth goes out side to side. When you say loooooooongitude you mouth goes up and down. Finding the coordinates on a map, however, is still a challange!

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No title
Posted by:Enkidu #134993

For younger, or inclusion, students, find a flat projection map that will fit on a regular sized piece of paper. Glue it onto cardstock.

Take two different colors of yarn, and thread one around the width, and one around the length, of the paper. They can move the strings until they intersect at the correct point.

For older kids, or those without learning issues, "just do it." I tell the kids I am not going to help them much by talking, it was one of those things we just had to do. They get it quickly once they practice. Big desk maps are the best, so they can run their fingers or the eraser end of a pencil along the lines.

I wish that the people who invented this and the people who invented coordinate graphing could have gotten together. If only we...

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Teach the concept first
Posted by:Danita #134994

Make a visual for the kids...Latitude draw the lines on a sheet of paper, copy it & have the students put the names & addresses on the correct lines: North Pole 90 degrees N; Arctic Circle 66.5 degrees N; Tropic of Cancer 23.5 N; Equater 0 degrees...and so on. You can also make circles and have them fold them in half & draw the lines on them & then put the names & addresses on the Northern hemisphere; then do the Southern hemisphere; you can do the same to teach Eastern & Western Hemispheres with the Prime Meridian being the center line & the International Date line being the edge...showing west of & east of the PM.

Another visual would be the lines of latitude with a ladder (lat - ladder) and then add the names & addresses; for longitude draw the lines, add the PM and then have them right the word...

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Teaching Latitude and Longitude
Posted by:Schottzie #134995

I taught 6th grade for 26 years and I used a "unique but different" way to get the idea across to my students. It never failed to get the idea across to them! Years later I even had kids come back to visit and remind me of this concept!!
I tell the kids to imagine that they are going travelling to a large city. They are standing on a curb (Equator) in their city with many cars buzzing by. When they were little their mother ALWAYS taught them to always look both ways LEFT and RIGHT BEFORE crossing the street. (This gets them the idea to look across the map first.) So, after they've looked to the left side of the street (map) they identify the latitude number if its closest to that side. As they look to the right side of the street (map) they identify the...

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Posted by:KariluvsSS #134996

Lat/Long BINGO for follow-up assessment. Give the students a BINGO card with a list of locations around the world. Have them fill in the board however they choose. Write the coordinates on the board and give a few min for the kids to find it. Discuss as a class. I did this with mine---they LOVED it. Mine worked in partners because I have a lot of special ed and lower level learners. Partners allowed for everyone to participate.

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