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World Hemispheres Activities & Games

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.

If your students are learning about Earth's hemispheres, you've come to the right place! This lesson contains several ideas for activities and games that teach about the world's hemispheres.

Earth's Hemispheres: An Organizational Tool

Students sometimes have a hard time understanding why the world is broken up into four hemispheres. After all, the division was done to help interested parties have a better grasp on the world's geography. That makes hemispheres a human creation. No physical geographical feature separates any part of the Earth into hemispheres.

That said, Earth's hemispheres are an incredibly helpful concept, as they allow us to talk about general areas of the world. The activities and games that follow are designed to help students understand Earth's hemispheres in meaningful, engaging ways.

The Four Hemispheres of Earth
Four Hemispheres of Earth

Spin-a-Coin Hemisphere Practice

Materials (enough for each student in your class):

  • Pennies or other U.S. coins
  • 8 1/2 x 11 copies of a map of the world

To help students get some practice naming the Earth's hemispheres, have them do a quick activity in which they spin a coin and name the hemispheres of the Earth on which it lands. Give each student a map of the earth and a coin. Ask students to stand the coin on its side (holding it with a finger to steady it), and then flick the side of the coin. This will make it spin, move around, and eventually fall on a random location on the map.

For each location, there will be two hemispheres to name (three or even four if the coin lands on the Equator, Prime Meridian, or both!). Have students name each of the appropriate hemispheres and ask a peer to check their answers. Then, repeat!

Country Location Card Sort

Materials (enough for each student in your class):

  • Sets of cards or small sheets of papers with the names of countries on them (The number of cards in each set us up to you; countries should be equally representative of the north/south or east/west hemispheres.)

This is an effective activity for helping students get a better grasp on which countries are located in which hemispheres. Start by giving each student a set of cards with the names of countries on them. Then, identify which hemispheres they will focus on for the first round (north/south or east/west) of the sort. Students will then spend some time sorting their country cards into the appropriate piles.

Have students pair up to check their answers. When they're finished, ask them to shuffle their decks and sort for the other pair of hemispheres, or, you can save the second part of the activity for another day.

Country Location Migration Game

Materials:

  • Pre-prepared list with the names of the countries of the world
  • Masking tape

Similar to the ''Country Location Card Sort'', this activity involves students identifying in which hemispheres countries are located. Instead of sorting cards, though, they will move around the room and stand in the areas designated as the appropriate pair of hemispheres.

Use masking tape to divide the classroom into four quadrants and designate which direction represents north. (You may want to move desks or tables out of the way first. Alternatively, you can perform this activity in another location with plenty of space.) Ask a student volunteer to remind their peers of the remaining directions and what each line of tape represents: north to south represents the Equator and east to west represents the Prime Meridian.

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