Students watch a video on longitude problem-solving. They learn how to determine the latitude and longitude of several cities in Oregon. Students identify other cities with a) the same latitude and different longitude as one identified in Oregon, b) same longitude and different latitude, and c) opposite latitude and longitude.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Oregon | Unit 2: Map Skills and Oregon’s Geography". This unit includes both an overview of basic map skills and an exploration of some of Oregon’s unique physical features.
4.8: Use geographical tools (e.g., maps, GIS, Google Earth) to identify absolute and relative locations and physical characteristics of places in Oregon.
SS.05.GE.01.01: Know and use basic map elements to answer geographic questions or display geographic information. Use latitude and longitude to locate places in Oregon (and other parts of the world.)
- Video: The Longitude Problem | STEM in 30, via the page Time and Navigation | STEM in 30
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Maps and/or globes
- Class set of Longitude Problem handout
Explain to students that the precise location of any place on Earth is measured by latitude and longitude. Latitude and longitude are invisible lines that form a grid over the globe, dividing it into sections. The lines that run East–West are called latitude, while those that run North–South are called longitude. Explain to students that the intersection of latitude and longitude is how people measure exactly where a place is on the globe.
Distribute the Longitude Problem handout to students.
Tell students they are going to watch a short video to learn how longitude can be determined using a clock.
Navigate to the page, Time and Navigation | STEM in 30. Scroll through the videos on the right-hand panel. Play the video, The Longitude Problem | STEM in 30. [2:33]
Have students find the various locations from the handout on a map or globe and record their findings on the handout. Note to the students that Salem is almost halfway between the Equator and the North Pole; it nearly sits on the 45th Parallel (latitude) North.
Latitude/longitude of Salem: 44.9429 N, 123.0351 W
Cities along (or very close to) the same latitude as Salem (45th Parallel): Traverse City, MI; Dundee, Quebec, Canada; Kingston, Nova Scotia, Canada; Horonobe, Japan; Belgrade, Serbia; and Grenoble, France.
Cities along (or very close to) the same longitude as Salem (123rd): Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA (it’s mostly in the Pacific Ocean)
If you traveled to the place located exactly opposite of Salem, based on opposite latitude and longitude, you would be in the Indian Ocean. Australia and New Zealand are the closest landmasses that have Oregon’s opposite coordinates. For example: Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand, is at 45.87 S, 170.50 E.