How To Teach Students To Use Latitude & Longitude

How to Teach Latitude and Longitude

Here in Michigan, learning how to use latitude and longitude is an elementary-level standard, and I’ll bet it’s probably around that age in most other places too. Yet, every year, I usually have 5 to 10 students in each class who can do it quickly and correctly every time from day one, and maybe 6 to 8 who just need a quick reminder. This leaves about half of my class each year that I have to start from scratch with. 

So, what can we do? I devote an entire day to basic map skills using a Google Slide presentation that is FREE at my TpT store that both serves as a quick reminder to that middle group while introducing latitude, longitude and other map-related concepts to those who are far behind (CLICK HERE to check it out). Then, and more importantly, throughout the year, I sporadically start or end class with map activities that use latitude and longitude as well as other map reading skills. I also occasionally use topical stand alone activities like my Hurricane Tracker resource (CLICK HERE to check them out) for enrichment or additional practice.

Oh! One last thing. To help them remember that latitude is horizontal, I have my students stick out their bellies and say “Latitude is fatitude” while making the “discount double check” hand motion. It’s hilarious and it works!

How to Teach Latitude and Longitude