Monday, February 2, 2015

Longitude, Latitude, and Exploration!

Before I explain what we did and how AMAZING this project was,  I must give a MAJOR shout out to Stephanie over at Teaching in Room 6 for this incredible idea! I know that she has inspired many and I have seen this particular lesson all over pinterest, so understand that I simply utilized this awesome lesson and was awed by the learning results. 

Longitude (y axis) and latitude (x axis) are extremely similar to a coordinate grid, so this lesson works great during an Exploration unit. I did a small pre lesson on plotting points which just happens to be a fifth grade math standard! What, WHAT! before diving into our major activity. After some quick teaching, we played the classic game of battleship (which I found HERE on TPT) to help reinforce the new skill. 
 After an evening of plotting while I watched the great new history channel mini-series "Sons of Liberty" a must watch, I created my own estimated plot points for the particular Explorer's travels. These I put on individual cards and placed in envelops for partner groups. Partners then had to plot the coordinates on their blank world map, found HERE, changing the colors for each coordinate set. You can purchase the coordinate cards from my TPT HERE
The coolest part of the whole learning project was the day we matched the Explorers to their coordinates. Partners worked together to identify which Explorer matched the coordinates by reading short biographies which are available as a freebie HERE. They then matched the correct Explorer with their travel route and color. This part was FULL of independent learning discovery! Students were utilizing so many resources including maps, globes, and their own knowledge to identify and locate countries, continents, oceans, directions, and exact locations. It was definitely one of those awesome teacher moments as I watched my kiddos focused and independently learning all around me! 
Finally, students used the information from the biography cards to write non-fiction summaries of the Explorer's travels making sure to include who, what, where, when, why, and how. 
I was so impressed with their final products! This is definitely a project that I will do again! 

Here are more Explorer Activities: 
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