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.