Highest Mountains in the World: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jenna Conan

Jenna is a fourth grade teacher with a master's degree in instructional design and an undergraduate degree in elementary education.

In this lesson, you will learn about the highest mountains in the world. You may think of Mt. Everest as the tallest mountain, but scientists say that this isn't necessarily true!

The World's Tallest Mountains

You have probably heard of Mt. Everest, but have you heard of Mt. Mauna Kea? Either mountain could claim the title of the tallest mountain in the world; it all depends on how you measure them! If you measure by a mountain's height above sea level, or the level of the ocean, Mt. Everest is the tallest. But, if you measure from the base (bottom) of the mountain to the summit, or highest point, Mauna Kea is actually almost a mile taller than Mt. Everest!

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest is located between Nepal and Tibet in the Himalayan mountains. Its peak is 29,029 feet above sea level. Its original Tibetan name was Chomolangma, but it was named Mt. Everest in 1865 by a British surveyor for the Royal Geographic Society. Mt. Everest is a popular destination for mountain climbers, but getting the permit to climb can cost close to $25,000 per person!

Mt. Everest
Photo of Mt. Everest

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is an inactive, or no longer active, volcano in Hawaii. Its peak only rises 13,796 feet above sea level, but it is 33,500 feet above the mountain's base on the ocean floor! Mauna Kea means ''White Mountain'' in Hawaiian, and its snowy slopes are popular for skiing and snowboarding in the winter. The mountain is also home to many telescopes, including NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, and is the largest astronomical observatory in the world.

Mauna Kea
Photo of Mauna Kea

Mt. Chimborazo

Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador earns the title of ''highest mountain above Earth's center.'' The mountain is just one degree south of the Equator, the imaginary line that divides the northern and southern hemispheres. The mountain may only be 20,702 feet tall, but because of its position near the Equator and the shape of the Earth, it is actually the furthest point away from the center of the Earth.

Other Large Mountains

Technically, if mountains were all measured by the height of their peak above sea level, at least the first 25 of the highest mountains in the world would be in the Himalayas, where Mt. Everest is located. So instead, many scientists use a measurement system that measures how much the mountain sticks out from the surrounding land. Using this system, here are some of the world's tallest mountains, after Mt. Everest.

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