Wednesday, September 8, 2010

55°N, 37°E

A few ways to help kids remember which way latitude lines run, and what latitude lines do:

The first two letters of LAtitude are L. A., which stand for Lines Across: __________________

Your face has a line of latitude--your mouth! Here's the ridiculous rhyme I made up on the spot, stupid enough that they will remember: "Latitude divides North and South, just like your mouth."

Lat = fat (ie, the lines parallel global girth)

And then I added kinesthetic learning. Arms out perpendicular to the floor, but forearms bent in with palms to the floor, we moved them out as we made tough guy faces and said aloud, "LATITUDE ATTITUDE!"

And on a paper of horizontal lines marked off by degrees, I fielded what they wanted to find and scattered them on the lines: "Bolivia!" "Atlantis!" "A million bucks!" "Waldo!" (Note: no one thought to find world peace or Osama bin Ladn.) I had their names written on decks of cards, and I asked a question, had them think of the answer, then drew a card. The class chorally confirmed or denied the student's response, and if the response was in error, the student could fix the answer or call on another student for assistance.

Then we moved onto our atlases and found countries there, although one kid actually didn't know where Canada was. Sigh. People, I teach 8th grade in the United States. Our continent is not exactly teeming with countries. Anyway, I taught them how to say yes and no in Russian, just so when parents asked what they learned in school today (such a predictable question!), instead of saying "nothing," the students could say, "Oh, we learned Russian."

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