The lesson introduces the students to longitude and latitude. Most students realize there are lines on most maps, but many do not know why the lines are there or how to use them. In today’s world, map skills are sometimes neglected. The lesson shows students how the lines are necessary for GPS to direct them from one location to another. Without longitude and latitude, GPS would not be possible. The lesson may be used in conjunction with other geography-related lessons as well.
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction
- Ask students if they know how GPS helps people with directions as they travel from place to place.
- Allow for responses and discussion. Challenge students to go beyond the “Voice” directing a driver through a town. The use of satellites may also be discussed, cell phone locations, etc. Lead students to latitude and longitude.
- Distribute Latitude and Longitude content pages. Read and review the information with the students. Stress to students the “lines” are on maps only, and are not part of the Earth’s surface. Use several examples shown on a world map to ensure the class understands how to find the latitude and longitude of a location on Earth. Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
- Distribute Activity page. Read and review the instructions. Students may use a colored pencil to mark and label coordinates. Allow sufficient time for completion.
- When completed, select students to share the responses using the large displayed world map all students can view.
- Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.
- Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
- In closing, tell students: Using a world map, find the approximate latitude and longitude of a place outside the United States where you would most like to visit. Distribute scratch paper to each student. They write out the coordinates correctly and then exchange them with another student. The find the locations and write the location on the piece of paper.
- Allow volunteers to share the latitude and longitude and the entire class locates the coordinates on the map. Challenge the students to discover the locations as quickly as possible.
Common Core State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.7
Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions
Want more science resources? Check out our other Science Lesson Plans!