Primary (10-11 years)
Locate Earth points
In this activity, you will use parallels, meridians, and geographic coordinates to locate different points on the Earth.
In this downloadable resource, you will find a PDF with instructions to liven up your classes. On the one hand, we show you which platform tool you will be working with, and on the other hand, we propose activities suitable for students aged 10-11.
Do you want your classes to be stimulating? Start today with Geointeractiva.
We propose you to teach geography in a fun way
What will your students learn with this educational activity?
What are parallels and meridians?
Parallels and meridians are imaginary lines used to divide the Earth into zones. Meridians are imaginary circles that run from the North Pole to the South Pole and are used to measure longitude. The prime meridian is located in Greenwich, UK, and serves as the reference point for measuring the longitude of other places. On the other hand, parallels are imaginary circles that lie in a plane perpendicular to the Earth’s axis and are used to measure latitude. The equator is the main parallel, dividing the Earth into two hemispheres: North and South. Both systems of imaginary lines are used to locate any point on Earth through geographic coordinates.
What are geographic coordinates?
Geographic coordinates are a combination of latitude and longitude used to locate a point on Earth and measured in degrees, minutes, and seconds. Latitude is located between the equator and the North and South poles. Longitude is located between the prime meridian and its antimeridian, which is located on the opposite side of the planet. The combination of both measurements allows us to know the exact location of a point on Earth. For example, if we want to locate the city of Paris, its coordinates are 48.8566° N, 2.3522° E.
Importance of parallels, meridians, and geographic coordinates
The use of parallels, meridians, and geographic coordinates is essential in many disciplines, from navigation to cartography and climatology.
Some of the most important applications are:
Navigation: navigators use geographic coordinates to locate themselves at sea. In ancient times, navigators used the sun and stars to calculate their position on the ocean, while today, satellite navigation systems like GPS are used.
Cartography: maps are a visual representation of the Earth, and to create them, it is necessary to use geographic coordinates. Maps can be used for various purposes, such as urban planning, scientific research, or tourism.
Climatology: geographic coordinates are important for predicting the weather. Climatologists use mathematical models to predict the climate of a specific place, and these models are based on atmospheric conditions and the geographical characteristics of each location.
Time zones: meridians are also useful for determining local time in different parts of the world. Because the Earth rotates on its own axis, each meridian experiences a new day as the Earth rotates. Therefore, when it is noon in the Greenwich Meridian, it is midnight in the International Date Line Meridian on the other side of the world. In addition to these applications, geographic coordinates are essential in people’s daily lives. Nowadays, many mobile applications and websites use geolocation to offer personalized services tailored to the needs of each user. For example, applications like Google Maps, Uber, or Waze use geographic coordinates to offer personalized routes and estimated arrival times.
Another example of the importance of geographic coordinates in daily life is the location of events and places on social networks. Many social networks, such as Instagram or Twitter, allow users to tag the location of a post using geographic coordinates, allowing users to search for posts from specific places and learn more about them. In conclusion, parallels, meridians, and geographic coordinates are essential to locate any point on the planet and are a fundamental tool in many disciplines, from navigation to climatology. Furthermore, their use in daily life is increasingly common thanks to geolocation and mobile applications and social networks.
Therefore, it is important for geography students to understand the importance of these concepts from an early age, as it will allow them to better understand how the world works and how people and places are related.