Longitude/Latitude

Using the Map of Eagle Island as a starting point for practicing skills of Longitude and Latitude:

Have students look at a world map and find the lines running north and south. Showing these lines on a classroom globe is also a good idea. Point out to them that the lines running north and south are lines of longitude and those running east and west are lines of longitude. (I have them visualize a LONG flagpole and say LONG as in Longitude. I also have them think of a FLAT surface and it rhymes with LATitude. This does help them to remember by association.)

Explain that they are not real lines, but imaginary and brainstorm with them what they might think the purpose of the lines would be.

They should know that the lines were devised to assist people to more easily locate places on the earth. Write these terms on the board as you explain each.

Key vocabulary to add to their learning journals:
Lines of Longitude
Lines of Latitude
Equator (0 degrees latitude)
Prime meridian (0 degrees longitude)
Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Capricorn
North Pole
South Pole
Arctic Circle
Antarctic Circle

Using a globe, hold it so that the students can see the North Pole and point out that lines of longitude are placed every 15 degrees and they radiate from the poles. As you show them the prime meridian, point out that it represents 0 degrees longitude and runs through Greenwich, England. Have them follow you as you point out that the lines of longitude are placed east and west of the prime meridian.

Point out the equator and that it is 0 degrees latitude and the lines emanating from the equator are also every 15 degrees, but instead of east and west, latitude lines are measured north and south of the equator. Explain that they will be following the adventures of Capt’n Eli by using longitude and latitude skills.

Discuss the word "hemisphere" and ask students on what hemisphere we reside. Relate this to the locations found. (This can also inspire a conversation about weather and relative location to the equator.)

Each student should have a map with lines of longitude and latitude and preferably blank so that they can label all the locations and later list the coordinates.

Have students first list all the geographic locations in the graphic novel and note the significance of the place. Their list should include:

Eagle Island - Label on the blank map
Volcano Island - Ask if there are any clues in the text or graphics, as to where this might be located Locate and place a dot on the map Have a discussion of what "volcanic island" could mean and what island could match this description.
The Navy Research Lab - Ask if there are any clues in the text as to where this might be located. Locate and place a dot on the map
Garoo's Island - Ask if there are any clues in the text as to where this might be located. Locate and place a dot on the map
Antarctica- Is this mentioned in the text? Locate and place a dot on the map.
The Sargasso Sea - Have students locate the text where the exact coordinates are stated. Locate and place a dot on the map
Bermuda Triangle -Research this area and have students draw it on their map
Aquaria- Ask if there are any clues in the text as to where this might be located. Locate and place a dot on the map Lemuria- Ask if there are any clues in the text as to where this might be located. Locate and label map
Atlantis - Ask if there are any clues in the text as to where this might be located. Locate and place a dot on the map
The Arctic Circle - Ask if there are any clues in the text as to where this might be located. Locate and place a dot on the map

The first location to find using longitude and latitude would be Eagle Island. Work as a whole class to find this. Have a large map projected with lines of longitude and latitude, the equator, prime meridian and tropics all highlighted with dark marker. Since this is an imaginary island, each student will not have the exact coordinates, however, it should be within the area off the coast of Maine.

Have them first locate 0 degrees latitude and ask:
Is this North or South of the Equator? (North)
Count the imaginary lines as we go north and mark it on your map (i.e. Latitude: 44 N)

Locate the Prime Meridian; is this island east or west of this imaginary line? (West) Count the imaginary lines as we go west and find the number that is closest to your island. Write down this degree of longitude. (i.e. Longitude: 68W)

You may want to give them practice by giving them the coordinates of various cities in the US and having them find the longitude and latitude coordinates. Here is a chart for recording coordinates and can be used as an assessment tool.

Once you have modeled this for the class, have them try to find reasonable coordinates for the places in the story that they listed and added dots to their map.

This mapping of coordinates will help the students with their general sense of geography as they continue to read the novels and understand the historical and mythical references.


Educational Materials authored by Laura Richter

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