5 Things We Think Middle School Students Should Know But Don't #2: How to Use Latitude and Longitude
Using latitude and longitude is a 5th or 6th grade standard here in Michigan where I teach, and I imagine it's around that age in most other places too, yet, every single year this winds up being a major road block. There are usually 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.
It's actually the same problem that exists with finding reading materials that challenge everyone. There's that small chunk of students way ahead - the reading/history dorks who probably already know all of the core content, the large chunk in the middle who are ready to go, and that far behind chunk that really needs intensive instruction.
So, what do we do? I devote an entire day to basic map skills using a Google Slide presentation that I am offering here and at my TpT store for FREE that both serves as a quick reminder to that middle group while introducing longitude, latitude and other map-related concepts to those who are far behind. Then, and more importantly, throughout the year, I intentionally begin or end most classes 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 for enrichment and additional practice.
Oh, one last thing before I share my resources. My wife is an elementary teacher, so I feel I have to add this. I also teach all my students, "Latitude is fatitude" and make them stick out their bellies while doing the "discount double check" motion. It's hilarious.
So, click the links below to check out the resources I mentioned in this post, and don't forget to visit and follow my TpT store for lots of other great social studies resources!
I'm a 14 year veteran teacher that loves teaching, coaching, writing, and my family.