ALEX Lesson Plan


Where am I?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Judith Crider
System: Dekalb County
School: Valley Head High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 29928


Where am I?


This lesson teaches one of the geography themes called location. Students will learn about absolute location and relative location as they search the globe.

This lesson plan is made possible through the ALEX and the U.S. National Park Service Partnership.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (6)
8. Describe how Earth's rotation, Earth's axial tilt, and distance from the equator cause variations in the heating and cooling of various locations on Earth.
SS2010 (3) Geographic and Historical Studies: People, Places, and Regions
1. Locate the prime meridian, equator, Tropic of Capricorn, Tropic of Cancer, International Date Line, and lines of latitude and longitude on maps and globes.
  • Using cardinal and intermediate directions to locate on a map or globe an area in Alabama or the world (Alabama)
  • Using coordinates to locate points on a grid
  • Determining distance between places on a map using a scale
  • Locating physical and cultural regions using labels, symbols, and legends on an Alabama or world map (Alabama)
  • Describing the use of geospatial technologies
  • Examples: Global Positioning System (GPS), geographic information system (GIS)
  • Interpreting information on thematic maps
  • Examples: population, vegetation, climate, growing season, irrigation
  • Using vocabulary associated with maps and globes, including megalopolis, landlocked, border, and elevation
  • SS2010 (3) Geographic and Historical Studies: People, Places, and Regions
    2. Locate the continents on a map or globe
  • Using vocabulary associated with geographical features of Earth, including hill, plateau, valley, peninsula, island, isthmus, ice cap, and glacier
  • Locating major mountain ranges, oceans, rivers, and lakes throughout the world (Alabama)
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    1. Explain the impact of industrialization, urbanization, communication, and cultural changes on life in the United States from the late nineteenth century to World War I.

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    1. Students will locate an absolute location using the lines of latitude and longitude.
    2. Students will comprehend the idea of relative location.
    3. Students will examine the globe and illustrate their understanding of location.



    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    1. Students will locate continents and oceans on the earth's surface.
    2. Students will locate countries and important landforms on the globe.
     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    61 to 90 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    • inflatable globe
    • student handout ( See Attachment)
    • Teacher Questionnaire ( See Attachment)

    Technology Resources Needed:


    Geography is the study of the earth. Through geography we learn about the earth's land and water. It is the study of places and the interaction of people, plants, and animal life within their environment. As we study facts about geography it is important to understand the theme of location.

    Where am I? Knowing your exact location on the earth is a lesson about absolute location. One way to do this is by using lines of latitude and longitude. It is also easy to say, "I am at Little River Canyon." Relative location explains where a place is compared to one or more other places on the earth. For example, Alabama is located south of Tennessee. We could also say that  the Little River Canyon Center is located in the northeast corner of Alabama just south of Tennessee. It is important to understand cardinal directions when thinking about location. Knowing location is very important part of geography. After all we need to be able to know where we are.

    1. Explain to students that they are going to learn about one of the themes of geography called location.
    2. Write on the board "Absolute Location" and "Relative Location".
    3. First begin with absolute location. Ask students what classroom they are in and write their answer on the board. Explain to them what the word absolute means.
    4. Explain to students that the best way to determine absolute location is to use latitude and longitude.
    5. Using the inflatable globe, show students the lines of latitude and longitude. Be sure to point out that these lines are imaginary lines that form a grid around the globe and help us to pinpoint an absolute location.
    6. Most history text books will have world maps on the reference pages. Have students to refer to one of the maps that display these lines and their degrees.
    7. Show how the Equator is located half way between the poles and that it represents 0° latitude. By moving north or south the degrees increase until they reach 90°.
    8. Now show how the Prime Meridian is 0° longitude and how by going east or west it increases to 180°.  Point out that on the opposite side of the globe from the Prime Meridian is the International Date Line.
    9. Have them find Alabama on the map and point out the lines of latitude Alabama is located between and the lines of longitude. 
    10. Have students to divide into groups of three. Assign each group to a computer and pick one student to be the navigator. Have them get on the longitude and latitude website. Give each group a copy of the student handout.
    11. You will need to get familiar with this website before the lesson so you can answer students questions along the way.
    12. When website has been pulled up have them to look to the top right of the screen and click to make the map a Hybrid. This will show the landscape. At the bottom of the screen find the box the says Load Location. In this box beside Latitude put these coordinates N 34 23' 44.083". Beside Longitude put W 85 37' 38.4801". Then click on the arrow by the Longitude and it will display the location of Little River Falls in Little River Canyon National Preserve. These coordinates are on the student handout.
    13. On the handout have them complete the section under absolute location.
    14. Now go back to the board and write some examples of relative location. Be sure to get student feedback.
    15. Have each group complete the relative location grid on handout.
    16. Now take the inflatable globe and explain that the class will be tossing the globe around the room and if they catch it they will need to answer your questions. Use the attached Teacher Questionnaire. You could use a points system, or divide class into teams.
    17. As the globe is being tossed around make sure that all students get to be involved. Don't let them throw it to the same ones over and over.
    18. Before lesson is over have students to generate their own questions. Students will pick locations to add that might be current in the media at the time. Example: Gulf Oil Spill, current natural disasters, countries at war, etc.

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    Assessment Strategies

    1. Teacher should use observation to evaluate acquired knowledge and determine who might need remediation.
    2. Teacher will collect group handout to determine completion and accuracy.




    Have students work in pairs and explore Google Earth. Have them to locate specific locations.


    Students can sit in pairs with a peer to help them locate specific locations.

    May allow some students to have informational diagrams to assist them during the activity. 

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.