How Do Cartographers Find Points on a Map?
Frederick Douglass Academy, Manhattan
Summer Research Program for Science Teachers
Subject: Earth Science
Grade Level: 9th
Duration: 40 Minutes
Do Now: Describe 3 different ways you would use to find any place on a map.
Describe what Latitude and Longitude are and how they may be used to help find a locality
Use abstract thought and group work to create a coordinate system
Follow instructions given for locating a point on a map
Vocabulary: Coordinate system, Mercator, Latitude, Longitude
8½" x 11" unlined paper (3 sheets)
8½" x 11" Transparency Film
In this activity, groups are challenged to devise a coordinate system which can be used to communicate the position of a point.
1. Give each group a practice paper with a black dot marked on it. Explain that their challenge is to devise a system of communicating the position of a dot such as this to someone who cannot see the paper.
2. Give groups 10-15 minutes to devise their system. Their only materials are the paper and a pencil.
3. Divide each group into two teams and separate the teams on opposite sides of the room.
4. Give one team a test sheet with a black dot marked on it. Give the other team a blank sheet of paper. The task is for the first team to communicate the position of the black dot to the second team so that they can reproduce it on their blank page.
will be done by putting a transparency over the test sheet, marking the position
of the dot and then positioning the transparency over the second page to see how
closely the position of the dot matches. The distance between reproduced and
original dots will be measured in millimeters.
Practice/Share or Log Entry:
1. Have each group explain their coordinate system.
2. How could your group's coordinate system be improved (made more precise?)
3. What characteristics do all of the coordinate systems have in common?
4. Which coordinate system is closest in design to the latitude-longitude coordinate system?
Have students devise a
coordinate system for locating objects in the school courtyard. The following
day hold a scavenger hunt in which teams are given coordinates and must list
objects found at each location.
New York State Earth Science Standards:
ST. 1. Mathematics
Key Idea 1: Abstraction and symbolic representation are used to communicate mathematically.
ST. 1. Scientific Inquiry
Key Idea 1: The central purpose of scientific inquiry is to develop explanations of natural phenomena in a continuing, creative process.
ST. 2. Information Systems
Key Idea 1: Information technology is used to retrieve, process, and communicate information as a tool to enhance learning.
ST. 6. Models
Key Idea 2: Models are simplified representations of objects, structures, or systems used in analysis, explanation, interpretation, or design.