Submitted by: Antoinette Bianco

Grade Levels: 3-5

In this lesson plan which is adaptable for grades 3-5, students will use BrainPOP resources to explore latitude and longitude in differentiated activities.

Students will:

  1. Identify latitude and longitude
  2. Locate places on a grid using parallel lines/ degrees of latitude and longitude.


  • graph paper
  • map
  • globe
  • activity papers described below
  • computer with internet and interactive whiteboard access


map, globe, ocean, continent, latitude, longitude, degrees, hemisphere, poles, equator, prime meridian, parallel, perpendicular, absolute location, relative location, grid


Prior to this lesson, students should be familiar with the concepts of absolute and relative location, parallel and perpendicular lines, and grid maps.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. As a warm up, read or display these 3 sentences for students: My house is close to the mall; Joe’s house is on the corner of Maple Street and Elm Avenue; and My cousin’s house is in a small Texas town named Hamilton. Ask students which statement would be most useful in helping to find the house that’s mentioned? Encourage students to explain their thinking.
  2. What are some other ways to describe or share locations? Allow time for student responses/discussion.
  3. Guide students to recall prior lessons on grid maps and latitude/longitude. You may want to use the Vocabulary page to help. Remind students that the maps they've used previously had letters across the top (flat) numbers going down the side (steps) of the grid. Today, they will replace those items with degrees of latitude and longitude.
  4. Play the Latitude and Longitude video for the class. Pause at key words and explanations.
  5. Provide differentiated guided practice and/or independent practice activities. Below-grade-level students can play the Message in a Bottle game and describe latitude and longitude using the map from the activity. On-grade-level students can synthesize a map using an adaptation of the Where in the world? Animal Grid and compare and contrast absolute location; relative location; latitude; and longitude. Above-grade-level students can analyze the EducationWorld Latitude and Longitude Activity and draw conclusions for the best usage of absolute location, relative location, latitude and longitude in real life situations.
  6. As an exit ticket, have students share 2 things they learned in this lesson with the class.

Extension Activities:

Have students create a concept map utilizing the Make-a-Map tool and Related Reading information.