Science 4: Latitude and Longitude
Don't you give us any latitude...without providing a longitude, too. We'd be totally lost without both. Today's lesson is all about finding yourself (and other things) with latitude and longitude.
|Elementary and Middle School||4th Grade|
So let's say that you decide to be nice and give them your address. [They shake hands]
You tell them you live on 123 Main Street, and bingo!
Your friend comes over, you chow on left over Chinese food, watch movies all night, and [Guys eating in front of the TV]
pass out exhausted at midnight.
But plot twist…what if your friend was an alien from outer space?
Well, first of all, congrats on contacting aliens! [Guy spilts in half to reveal an alien]
That's pretty rad.
But here's the thing…if you only gave them your address, 123 Main Street, they'd have
a pretty hard time finding you. [Alien searching down the street for the address]
Because there are over 10,000 streets in America named Main Street.
Maybe we need to be a little more creative about naming things… [Alien looking confused]
Anyway, you should probably narrow things down a little, because we don't want your
cool alien friend to get angry and decide to give world domination a shot. [The aliens eyes go red]
So how do you narrow things down?
Well, you could give them your state or zip code, but your alien bud just happens
to be using a map out of the country, so your best bet would be to give them your latitude
and longitude coordinates. [Latitude and longtitude grid appears over a map]
You can think of latitude and longitude as an imaginary grid of lines that crisscrosses
the entire world.
Lines of latitude run East and West, and are used to measure North and South.
The equator right here in the middle is what divides the Earth in half. [Dino and Coop looking at the equator]
It runs through Africa, Indonesia, and Ecuador in South America.
The equator is 0 degrees latitude, and as you move away from the equator in either North
or South directions, the lines of latitude go up in value – meaning that 10 degrees [The degrees of latitude are shown]
north is closer to the equator than 30 degrees north.
Make sense so far?
Because if you understand the lines of latitude, then the lines of longitude will be a breeze. [Alien looking at a globe]
Lines of longitude run North to South, are used to measure East and West.
Just like the equator is the middle point for latitude, the prime meridian is the middle
line for these lines – it's 0 degrees longitude.
And as you move away from it in either direction, well, the numbers go up.
So how might our alien friend use these lines to find a location? [Alien scratching his head]
Well, by combining both the latitude and longitude, you get coordinates which can be used to pinpoint
an exact location.
So if someone gave us the coordinates 30 degrees North, 90 degrees West, where would we be…? [Alien looking for the coordinates]
Since latitude is always listed first, we'd find that line first….riiiiight…here. [Finger going along the latitude line]
30 degrees north.
Then, we'd follow that line until it intersected with 90 degrees west and voila, we're looking
at gumbo and crawfish in New Orleans, Louisiana!
Every single location on Earth can be found using these types of coordinates! [The pyramids with their coordinates]
It's a sort of like a global address.
That means that if you have the coordinates for a location, you can find it quickly and
easily with the help of a GPS or a computer program like Google Maps. [Someone using a GPS]
Though…not a whole lot of people use coordinates, so if you have a human party, maybe just stick
to giving your actual address. [Guy looks angry as his friend has given him coordinates]