Relative & Absolute Location Lesson Plan

Instructor: Jason Lineberger

Jason has 20 years of education experience including 14 years of teaching college literature.

Relative and absolute location are important science concepts. In this lesson plan, students discover the difference between relative and absolute location through a hands-on, team-based activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define relative and absolute location
  • explain longitude and latitude


Approximately 60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.


Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


  • Masking tape
  • Handheld GPS devices (optional)
  • Computers with Internet connection
  • Tablets or mobile computers (optional)
  • 5 small plastic containers - the size of film containers
  • Printed copies of the lesson quiz
  • Small prizes - candy, gum, or stickers for example (optional)


  • Before class starts, you should prepare your room and the school's athletic field. Use the masking tape to create gridlines on the floor, several feet apart.
  • Print out the lesson quiz, cut out each question, and place the questions inside the 5 small plastic containers.
  • Hide these on the school's athletic field, being sure to note the GPS location of each container. Use a handheld GPS device, smart phone or tablet to get precise GPS coordinates for each one.

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