April is Earth Month and it’s a good time to explore earth science and world geography. With the National Geography Bee right around the corner, here are hands-on social studies lessons, map activities and geography games with globes. Playing geography games with globes helps students visualize the big picture better than with maps. Use map activities to locate specific places and use globes for accurate place countries in the world at large. Use geography games with globes to demonstrate earth science lessons, just in time for Earth Month in April!
Race Around the World map activities: Divide students into teams of 2-4. Give each team a globe and attach a world map to the wall or bulletin board. Call out countries, cities and provinces for teams to locate their globes. The first team to find the location wins a point. After the location is found indicate it on the wall map with a pin or sticky note arrow (available at most office supply retailers).
Earth Science Jeopardy: Students may play individually or in teams. Draw a Jeopardy grid on a Dry-Erase board, overhead projector or chalkboard. Label five categories across the top of the Earth Science Jeopardy board. Here are some suggested earth science categories: Rivers, Mountain Ranges, Africa, Asia, Islands, Europe, United States, South America, Bodies of Water, Northern Hemisphere, Locations that begin with ____ (fill in letter). Fill in dollar amounts as in regular Jeopardy. Players select a category and value. The geography games leader calls out a place and team members must locate it on globes. Give teams buzzers or bells to sound when they find the answer.
Latitude and Longitude Hide ‘n Seek map activities: Explain the how lines and degrees of latitude and longitude work. Official latitude lines–also called parallels–go east to west and longitude lines go north and south. There are 180 latitude lines–90 above the equator (north) and 90 below (south). There are 360 lines of longitude (180 in the eastern hemisphere and 180 in the western hemisphere). They are divided into 24 groups which define time zones as well as geographical locations. Use coordinate geometry to place cities and landforms in lines of latitude and longitude. Ask students to list different earth science landforms located with the latitude and longitude markings. Ask students list cities and locales based on latitude and longitude coordinates or bearings.
Time zones bingo map activities: Using the small dial attached to the top of the globe, teach students how read lines of longitude to determine time zone. Call out a time zone. Students fill their card by locating and listing a city or province in that time zone. Require older students to calculate what time it is in different countries by giving the time in another time zone. Explain the Greenwich Mean Time system.
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