ALEX Lesson Plan


The Equator and the Poles

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Monique Carlisle-Grier
System: Gadsden City
School: Adams Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 8786


The Equator and the Poles


This lesson provides hands-on activities that will teach students about the poles and the equator. Students will be labeling a globe, recreating a globe within the classroom, and researching information on the Internet.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (3-5)
8. Collect information from a variety of digital sources.
Examples: online libraries, multimedia dictionaries
  • Using technology tools to organize information
  • Demonstrating efficient Internet search strategies
  • Example: keyword search
  • Evaluating electronic resources for reliability based on publication date, bias, accuracy, and source credibility
  • 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
  • Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will identify the equator, North Pole, and South Pole on a map or globe. Students will determine whether a point is located north of the equator, south of the equator, or on the equator.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Bulletin boards, markers, masking tape, inflatable globe, styrofoam balls (for each student), large board map, crayons, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computers with Internet access


    Label the front of the classroom with a sign that says "South Pole" and the back of the classroom with a sign that says "North Pole".

    1.)Introduce the lesson by reading The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. After reading the book have the students share what they know about the poles by completing a KWL chart. After the students share what they know about the poles and the equator, direct the students' attention to the two "poles" of the classroom.

    2.)Choose two students to help find the midpoint between the North and South Pole by standing at each pole and taking normal steps forward (simultaneously) until they reach the center of the class. When the students meet, have another student tape a line across the floor where they meet.

    3.)Tell the students that the classroom is now a giant globe that is divided into two parts: north and south. Tell them that the line down the middle is the equator. Tell students that the equator can be seen in the classroom; however, it is really an imaginary circle around the earth, equally distant from the North and South pole. Have students stand on the "equator" to fully understand this concept.

    4.)Using an inflatable globe, show students where the equator, North Pole, and South Pole would be located. Pass the globe around to the students for them to identify the poles and the equator.

    5.)Pass out styrofoam balls and tell students to pretend these are defective globes that didn't have the equator, South Pole, or North Pole labeled. Tell students to label each part using a marker.

    6.)Once students have correctly labeled their styrofoam balls, direct their attention to the world map. Point out different locations and have students orally respond to location by saying south of the equator, north of the equator, or on the equator.

    7.)Write the following sentences on the board:
    I am north of the equator.
    I am south of the equator.
    I am on the equator.
    Give students a sheet of paper with all the students names on it and tell them to identify all the students' locations (using the classroom as the globe) using one of the sentences that was written on the board. (Place the students equally throughout the room before starting this activity.)
    Go around the room to make sure students have correctly identified the different locations.

    8.)After completing the activity divide the class into pairs. Have the pairs of students explore the Internet to learn more facts about the poles and equator. Have them write down any new facts they learn to share with the class.
    (Distance from the equator)
    This website shares information about the difference in temperatures based on the distance from the equator.

    This site explains latitude and longitude. It also gives more information about the poles and the equator.

    10.)After the students have discovered facts about the poles and the equator have them share their finding with the class. Write the new information on the KWL chart. In conclusion, review the locations of the poles and the equator with the students.

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    Assessment Strategies

    Students will label the equator and the poles on a globe worksheet (see attached). The teacher will name places on the map and ask students to tell their location in relation to the equator.





    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.