Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies


AUTHOR:  Kathy Mendoza, Redemptorist High School, LA


OVERVIEW:  It is important for students to be able to read maps
and understand the purpose of maps.  Map skills support instruction
in geography by helping students understand the role played by location.

PURPOSE:  This map skills lesson is to be used in the early part of the
school year.  It is designed to help students learn how to use the grid
system to locate areas on a map and to help students understand that
geography puts emphasis on "place."

OBJECTIVES:  Students will be able to:
  1.  Define "absolute location."
  2.  Define latitude and longitude.
  3.  Use the grid system.
  4.  Locate on a map or globe the Earth's poles, circles, tropics,
and beginning points of measurements for latitude and longitude.
  5.  Use Cardinal and intermediate directions as well as latitude
and longitude to locate places on a map.

Atlas, map and worksheet handouts, colored pencils

ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:  Have students practice using latitude
and longitude.
  1.  Discuss in class and have students write in their notebooks
the meaning of the following terms:

absolute location  intermediate directions  parallels
Antarctic Circle  International Date Line  Prime Meridian
Arctic Circle    relative location    latitude
Cardinal directions  location        scale
Equator      longitude        South Pole
grid        meridian        hemisphere
Tropic of Cancer  Tropic of Capricorn    North Pole

2.  On a world map handout have students label global reference
points such as the Equator, Prime Meridian, the Cardinal directions,
the North and South Poles.
3.  Have students construct a page-size grid system in their notebooks
using ten degree intervals and locate coordinates written on the
4.  Using an atlas and maps and worksheets from geography workbooks or
worksheets constructed by the teacher students will:
a.  practice locating places on a map using latitude and longitude
b.  list the latitude and longitude of various locations on a map

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  Plot a tropical storm or hurricane using the
latest coordinates from the morning newspaper and news reports.
Students will have their own personal hurricane map.  If there is more
than one storm or hurricane to plot use different color pencils for
each one.  If there is no storm to plot, make one up.


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