Latitude & Longitude Activities for Middle School

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Want to help your students develop stronger latitude and longitude skills? This lesson contains several ideas for fun and engaging map-reading activities.

Latitude and Longitude: A Grid System

Students often have a hard time understanding the latitude and longitude system of locating places on Earth. It is often helpful to have them think back to math class and graphing. Latitude and longitude are a grid system just like the x,y coordinate system!

There are some differences in how these grid systems are used, though, so it's a good idea to engage students with as many hands-on and minds-on activities as you can in order for them to develop strong map-reading skills. The activities below are designed to get students thinking deeply about latitude and longitude. They are all flexible enough to be modified based on students' needs.

Latitude and Longitude Practice Warm-up Activity

As basic as this one may seem, it is a great first step toward helping students develop strong map-reading skills. Each day, as a warm-up, have students locate a spot on the world map based on a latitude and longitude reading you provide. Or, you can have them figure out the latitude and longitude based on a city you provide. This quick and simple activity will help them activate prior learning and focus them on the lesson at hand.

Latitude and Longitude Dart Game

To give latitude and longitude a fun spin, create a dart board that has a world map on it. You can do this in a number of ways, including putting a world map on a magnetic surface and buying (or making) magnetic darts. Have students throw a dart at a location, then go to the front of the class and name its coordinates. This is a great way to help students get better at figuring out latitude and longitude quickly and accurately.

Latitude and Longitude Partner Practice

This is another very simple activity, but can have profound learning effects. Have students pair up and give them each a world map. Taking turns, have students select a location on their map and call out the latitude and longitude of that location. Their partner will then use the latitude and longitude to find the location and call out its name (or point to it and have the first student verify). They will then switch and go back and forth until the activity is complete. This is a great way to capitalize on cooperative learning.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support