One of geography’s foundational skills is learning how to read longitude and latitude. If your kids need instruction and practice with this skill, then this Geography Mini Lesson is for you! And at the end of this post, you can download a Geography Mystery Calendar freebie that will give your kids daily mysteries to solve using their geography prowess. Let’s get to it!
What is longitude & latitude?
You might find yourself singing this jingle in your sleep (sorry!), but this video includes a great visual explanation of the lines of longitude & latitude along with the song.
Have your kids draw lines of longitude and latitude on small foam or rubber kickballs from the dollar store. They will naturally experience how lines of latitude are equidistant, but longitudinal lines converge at the poles.
Use paper plates as a model earth to draw these lines and label the key ones: Equator & Prime Meridian.
What is the practical importance of these lines?
This video will be great for your older kids and gives them a 3D perspective of why these lines matter.
Practice finding some famous landmarks using your new knowledge.
Here’s a few to look for – write down the absolute location of each:
- Mount Fuji, Japan
- Eiffel Tower, Paris
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Angel Falls, Venezuela
Or, see if you can find the famous landmark located here:
- 41°N, 74°W – the lady in New York harbor
- 18°S, 26°E – in Africa on the Zambezi River
- 30°N, 33°E – from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea
- 13°S, 72°W – in the Andes in the country of Peru
FREE World Maps Notebooking Pages: World Mollweide Maps & World Mercator Maps
How do GPS Coordinates Work?
This final video is great for your teens who will want to know how these geographic factors affect their technology.
Now that you’ve learned how GPS coordinates work, can you find the exact location (with minutes and seconds) of your house? You can use this online Latitude & Longitude Converter to help.
And finally, for some additional world exploration, National Geographic has great tips for Getting Started with Google Earth.
Grab a Geography Mystery Calendar freebie over at 4onemore.com – this will give your kids 25 days of fun clues to put their geography skills to work!
Abby is a former public school teacher, now homeschooling her five children. She’s in the trenches just like you and knows it can be challenging to be home with your kids all day while you struggle to keep up with the housework and educate your kids (and maybe even work on the side!). She blogs over at www.4onemore.com and hosts the Homeschool with Moxie podcast.