Latitude & Longitude: Games & Activities

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Longitude and latitude are just similar enough to be confusing. Help clarify the difference for your students with these engaging games and activities.

Longitude and Latitude Games and Activities

Longitude and latitude are ways of describing coordinates on a map. Because they're so similar, they're often mixed up. No matter how many times you tell students the difference, it still seems hard for them to remember. However, it turns out that students have a tendency to remember things better when they're engaged and having fun. That's why it is valuable to teach longitude and latitude through a series of games and activities. Thankfully we've come up with a few ideas that can help you do just that.

Treasure Map Game

This game involves students following a treasure map step by step, practicing longitude and latitude along the way. To create this game, find a series of locations around the world, and note their longitudes and latitudes. Next, create a series of clues that include both a riddle and approximate longitudinal and latitudinal numbers to point students to a particular location. Allow the student to find that location on Google Maps or similar. When they have, provide them with the next clue, and so on until they reach the treasure.

Alternatively, for a more hands-on version of the treasure map game, create a map of your school and mark the longitude and latitude as if it is a world map. Give each student a map and the first clue in exactly the same way, but this time hide each subsequent clue at the actual location the student is led to from the previous clue. While this doesn't connect the topic directly to a world map, it is more active and fun.

City Guessing Game

This game involves students guessing which city is at a particular longitude and latitude. It can be played in many ways. You can read out longitudes and latitudes, and have students write down their guess on a piece of paper either individually, in pairs, or in groups. Give each student a copy of a world map to aid them.

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