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Map Quest: Latitude and Longitude

Inspired by Carmen Sandiego Episode 4, kids learn about latitude and longitude by mapping the locations Carmen visits.

Plot Carmen’s Coordinates!

Carmen visits many different places, and all of them can be found on a map using their coordinates. Teach your kids about latitude and longitude as they plot Carmen’s global destinations.

Inspired by episode 4 of the Netflix series.

Activity Instructions

Kids use lines of latitude and longitude to plot points on a world map.

Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes
Materials Needed: Photocopies of a world map with lines of latitude and longitude, projector to display that map

  1. With students, review how the equator is a line of latitude. Other lines of latitude are parallel to the equator and measure how far north or south of the equator a location is. Lines of longitude measure how far east or west a location is from the prime meridian. Any location can be described using two coordinates, one for latitude and one for longitude. For example, 30°N, 90°W is the approximate location of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States.
  2. Distribute a map to each student. Have students practice marking the approximate locations of places Carmen travels to on the map (see below for suggested locations). Give the coordinates first. Then ask students which location they think they should mark. After each example, mark the location together on a projected map. You may also wish to include your own location.

Sample Locations

Casablanca, Morocco: 34°N, 8°W
Jakarta, Indonesia: 6°S, 107°E
Quito, Ecuador: 0°S, 78°W
Canary Islands, Spain: 28°N, 17°W
Paris, France: 49°N, 2°E
Amsterdam, The Netherlands: 52°N, 5°E
Sydney, Australia: 34°S, 151°E