Using Latitude and Longitude

Imagine a single dot on a ping pong ball. How would you describe its location?

ping pong ball

It would be quite difficult.

The same is true of locations on the Earth's surface.

Geographers have solved this problem by creating latitude lines and longitude lines.

By completing this tutorial, geography students will:

1. Take a pretest on latitude and longitude.

2. Be able to define latitude.

3. Be able to define longitude.

4. Use latitude and longitude to locate specific points on the earth's surface.

5. Use latitude and longitude to find the location of a sinking ship on a world map so you can send out a rescue team to help the survivors.

6. Complete a follow-up quiz with an accuracy of at least 80%.

Go to the Instructions page


June 2012 - Your explanations were very helpful in remembering latitude and longitude

December 2010 - (Texas) - I did an Internet search in hopes of getting a better understanding of latitude/longitude — I was confused as to why it was written many different ways. Your website offered a great lesson explaining lat/long. I just wanted to tell you thanks!

August 2009 - (Canberra, Australia) - My name is Xxx and I am a Geography teacher in Canberra at a large Catholic girls high school. I teach Geography to Year 8 students and would like to thank you for your fantastic quiz on latitude/longitude. My students love it! It is so well designed and perfect for their level.

May 2008 - (California) - Thanks for that online lesson. I thought it was excellent. And it really helped me prep for my night navigation sailing class yesterday. Thanks for all the info on the link you provided. I see you’re in PA. I’m a Jersey girl myself – now relocated to the West coast. As I was learning all the navigation tricks, I kept saying to myself, “this feels like something I should have learned in HS.” Apparently, we didn’t have the right teachers in Jefferson Twp. NJ. Ha-Ha

April 2008 - This tutorial was featured in South Australian Geographer - Journal of the Geography Teacher's Association of South Australia. "Teaching Latitude and Longitude: A teaching idea for Middle Year students" by Alexandra Piggott. Pages 19-23.

March 2008 (Scotland) - Thank you for putting your tutorial up on the web... I found your tutorial via google, I found it to be nice and concise and helped me out a lot. It was very easy to understand and very interesting.

March 2008 (Ireland) - I recently purchased a small motor boat with a GPS system aboard and I wanted to learn more about navigation. Latitude (first lol) and Longitude (second) had always confused me until I came across your lessons. It was the best web site that I had come across in my search.You really explained everything in a clear and understandable way for me.

February 2008 (Australia) - I am a long time user of your latitude and longitude tutorial with my Middle year students. I was hoping to write up instructions for other people to access the site in our State Geography Teachers journal. I was hoping you would give me permission to reproduce a couple of screen prints and the web address for other geography teachers in South Australia to use the activity. My year 8 students love the activity and every year I have used it they get a real buzz out of it.

February 2007 (Australia) - Just a note to let you know we are big fans of your Lat and Long site and we use it with our students in Year 8 (age 13) they really enjoy it too. Keep up the great work. Regards Alex - Alexandra Piggott Head of Humanities Pembroke School - Adelaide, Australia

September, 2006 - I truly enjoyed your lesson on Latitude and Longitude. My son came home with Latitude and Longitude Quiz in his agenda and being the fifth grader he is, he forgot to bring home his Social Studies book. We got lucky and found your website and to my amazement it was all we needed to get a good understanding. We are now smiling and confident that he will do well on his Quiz tomorrow.. Thank you so very much. You saved his life.

September, 2005 - Thanks for a gold mine of explanations about latitude and longitude. Your presentation gets the important concepts across so much better than what my son's class experienced.

March, 2005 (Illinois) - You've done it again! You have ended yet another exasperating search. I am speaking of the latitude/longitude tutorial and quiz. They were fabulous! Thank you so much for supplementing this very important, yet often overlooked aspect of geography curriculum that is left out of many of our textbooks. My students were mesmerized by the graphics, pictures, and information.

August, 2004 - Thanks so much for the web page you put up about latitude and longtitude. Your thing help me so much. I'm in 6th grade and my teacher was starting to teach about latitude and longtitude, and I heard of it and we went over it a little bit in school last year and I never really got it. So I went home and asked my mom for help but she really did not get it ether. So she got on line and looked it up. Thanks again.

August 2004 - I really enjoyed your lesson on latitude and longitude. I implemented a large portion of your lesson with one that I had previously used over the years with oranges. Great job!

September 2004 (Washington) - Thank you so much for the great lesson and the wonderful ideas. I teach 5th grade and we are studying latitude and longitude but our SS text has no depth AAAARGHH!!! you have shared a beautifully thought out lesson. Thank you,


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