Category Archives: Geography Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plans

How can you teach about latitude and longitude?

Ideas to Teach Latitude and Longitude

Teaching what latitude and longitude is must be done before the students start using them on a map to find an absolute location. Below are the definitions:

  • Latitude: —imaginary east-west lines in the grid measuring the distance north and south of the equator
  • Longitude: —imaginary North-South lines that pass through the poles. They measure distance east and west of the prime meridian

After I introduce vocabulary words like latitude and longitude I like to have the students do one to three activities. They consist of and also differentiate instruction with three different versions of vocabulary sheets:

  • writing the definitions of latitude and longitude in their own words
  • draw a picture that represents latitude and longitude
  • write sentences using the vocabulary words latitude and longitude correctly to show understanding

After the students do the above part of the geography lesson plan, I reintroduce latitude and longitude in a totally different way. This time, I use kinesthetic and spatial multiple intelligence learning styles. I have students lay down on the floor to represent the latitude lines. I have students stand up straight to represent a longitude line. I then reintroduce latitude and longitude again and connect it to background knowledge. I bring in a ladder and a Santa Claus. I have the Santa climb up the ladder steps and tell the students that these are the latitude lines and Santa is going to the North Pole. Then I have him slide down the side of the ladder and explain to the students that Santa has a long slide down from the North Pole to the equator on a longitude line.

After students understand what latitude and longitude it, they can then use it correctly in an activity. To get an idea of an activity to help students use latitude and longitude to find an absolute location click here. (If it’s not here yet, it will be soon) offers this as part of their differentiated instruction geography lesson plan.

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico (Connect with me on

Where can you find a differentiated instruction lesson plan for geography?

Geography Differentiated Instruction Lesson Plan

Social Studies Differentiated instruction seems to be everywhere today and for good reason, educators need to challenge their students on each of their levels using the same content. If you have been looking for a differentiated instruction geography lesson plan, then I have a perfect one for you. It is a two day geography lesson plan that teaches students not only the geography vocabulary but also how to read a map.

This differentiated instruction geography lesson plan contains the following:

  • PowerPoint geography mini-lesson using the following geography vocabulary terms: Grid, Latitude, Equator, Parallels, Degrees, Longitude, Prime Meridian. Meridians, Hemispheres, Compass Rose, Absolute Location, Legend
  • 3 levels of the same geography vocabulary sheet that goes along with the geography mini-lesson and it is able to be folded and studied from
  • Ideas, using the Multiple Intelligence Theory, to introduce and reintroduce each vocabulary word and connect it to background knowledge
  • Two Kinesthetic and Spatial Multiple Intelligence Activities: creating a balloon globe and walking on the grid
  • 3 Practice Worksheets focusing on latitude and longitude and legend reading
  • 1 Paragraph Writing Homework Assignment: You can differentiate instruction by using the leveled writing system available at

You can get this differentiated instruction geography lesson plan at:

The geography mini-lesson can be found at:

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico



How do you teach the geography vocabulary word grid?

Teaching Geography Vocabulary Words

Students learn geography vocabulary by being introduced to it, reintroduced to it, by using it correctly several times, and then having it reviewed several times. I believe that repetition is the key to any piece of content. How it is repeated is up to the creativity of the teacher.

When I teach the geography vocabulary word grid, I first introduce it as a vocabulary word that they will learn during that lesson, as part of the anticipatory set. A grid is —the pattern of lines that circle the globe in east-west and north-south directions. Then I use it and have them use the word grid during the mini-lesson by having them fill in their note sheets, differentiated instruction can be done here if needed with three different types of vocabulary sheets for different levels of ability. In the vocabulary note sheet is a section for the students to use the word correctly showing understanding either in a sentence or in a drawing. As I go over the word grid in the mini-lesson, I also have the students create their own grid by connecting arms a certain way. That brings the total amount of exposure to the geography vocabulary word grid to 4.

The next piece of learning a geography vocabulary word is using it again. They use the grid in a kinesthetic activity with a floor map that they walk using the latitude and longitude in the grid. That brings the exposure of the geography vocabulary word grid to 5.

The 6th exposure is when the student uses a grid to answer questions on worksheets focusing on latitude and longitude again.

The 7th exposure of the vocabulary word grid is when the student writes about how grids on maps help people read them. This should be in paragraph form. In order to differentiate instruction for writing, you could use the leveled writing system on

The 8th step in the exposure is to have students review their geography vocabulary words by folding over the right hand column on the vocabulary note sheet mentioned at the beginning of this article.

For more ideas about how to teach geography vocabulary click the link below: uses repetition and differentiated instruction like this in all of her social studies lesson plans. Check it out!

In order to purchase the full geography lesson plan, in which grids are a part of, click here. If you are only interested in the geography mini-lesson that obtains geography vocabulary and ideas that use the multiple intelligence learning styles for repetition, click here.

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico (Connect with me on