Longitude and Latitude

By Corkie Neumann


To help students understand how to use longitude and latitude lines to find a designated location.


  • Red and any other color yarn
  • 3x5 cards with points of latitude and longitude listed
  • Tape
  • Scissors


  1. Cut pieces of yarn to form the latitude and longitude lines on the floor of the classroom. Use the tiled squares on the floor to form equidistant latitude lines.
  2. Tape each yarn to the floor.
  3. Use the red yarn to show the Prime Meridian and the Equator. Those are the only lines that are labeled.
  4. Discuss the use of this combination of parellels and meridians to form a grid for plotting positions anywhere in the world.
  5. Give each group a card that has points of latitude and longitude listed and a matching colored circle.
  6. The group must place the colored circle on the grid showing the location listed on the card.
The concept of longitude and latitude is very difficult for fifth graders. I have found this introduction really helps them understand the plotting system. The students really comprehend the concepts when they can do hands-on work!