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Appropriate grade level: 4-8
Subjects: Geography, Mathematics
Time required: 1-2 class periods
Hawai`i Performance Standards:
Math: Compute with decimals to solve problems.
         Social Studies: Demonstrate the use of geographic tools (maps) to solve problems.
Materials: Large wall-mounted World map, two maps of the Hawaiian Islands, pencils.
Objective: Students shall understand how to find latitude and longitude of places on
         maps of different scales, especially in places in Hawai`i.

1. Have students look at a large map of the world that shows the lines of latitude and longitude.  One way to help them remember that latitude lines are the horizontal ones is to mention that latitude is like a ladder; imitate climbing up the rungs of a ladder on the lines of latitude.  Note how they show only latitude and longitude lines every 10 or 20 degrees.  Also, mention that the latitude lines are either north or south of the equator; and longitude is east or west of the Prime Meridian that goes through Greenwich, England.

2. Demonstrate on the large map how you can locate anywhere on the map by giving the point at which latitude and longitude cross. Begin with examples of places located where the major latitude and longitude lines cross such as Leningrad (60o North, 30o East); Cairo (30o N, 30o E); Senegal (15o W, 15o N); Manila (120o E, 15o S); Philadelphia (40o N, 75o W); New Orleans (90o W, 30o N).

3. Refer to the map of the Hawaiian archipelago (on the computer, or students can share printed copies).   Because this map covers a smaller area than the map of the world, the lines of latitude and longitude are just five degrees apart (instead of 10 or 20 degrees.) Ask students what latitude Gardner Pinnacles is located on. (25o N).  What longitude the eastern tip of Ni`ihau nearly touches (160o W).

4. Now, have students draw latitude and longitude lines one-fourth inch apart between the Big Island (called Hawai`i) and Kaua`i.    These are the one degree latitude and longitude lines.  What longitude line passes through `O`ahu? (158o West).  What latitude line passes through Kaua`i? (22o North).  When the lines are not drawn in, you have to estimate.  Estimate the latitude (to the nearest one degree) of the Northwestern tip of Maui? (21o North).  Estimate the latitude and longitude of Pearl and Hermes Reef. (28o N and 176o W).

5. Refer to the map of the main Hawaiian Islands.  Because it's a smaller area than the previous map, the latitude and longitude lines are just one degree apart.  (If we tried to put these lines at the same spacing on a larger map it would just fill in the whole map and make it unreadable!)  These lines can be further divided into tenths or even hundredths.   If nine lines are drawn (one eighth inch apart) between the latitude and longitude lines that surround the Big Island of called Hawai`i, students can see these tenths of a degree.  Have students find the location of the city of Hilo (both latitude and longitude) to the nearest tenth of a degree (19.7o N  155.1o W).  Find the location of Kilauea Volcano to the nearest tenth of a degree (19.4o N 155.3o W).  Estimate the latitude and longitude of the western tip of Maui, to nearest tenth of a degree (20.9o N 156.7o W).

6. You might mention that sometimes, instead of tenths of a degree, latitude and longitude are given in minutes and seconds in atlases and maps. In those cases, they are divided up into 60ths instead of tenths, hundredths, or thousandths.

7. The data from the albatross transmitters are given in thousandths of a degree (e.g. 170.656o).  When using the map of the whole Pacific, students can round off to the nearest one degree (171o ), or just ignore the decimal if they are not able to round off (170o).

8. With this practice, students should be able to use the Albatross Project web site maps to plot the latitude and longitude data from the albatross transmitters.

Extension: Select places around the world, nation, or State of Hawai`i (perhaps from the daily news) and have students determine their latitude and longitude.


NAME:_____________________________ DATE: _________________



1. Leningrad: ________________

2. Cairo: __________________

3. Senegal: ____________________

4. Manila: ____________________

5. Philadelphia: ____________________

6. New Orleans: ____________________

7. Gardner Pinnacles latitude: ____________

8. East tip of Ni`ihau longitude: _____________


9. `O`ahu longitude: ____________

10. Kaua`i latitude: ____________

11. Northwestern tip of Maui, latitude: _____________

12. Pearl and Hermes Reef: Latitude: ___________ Longitude: __________


13. Hilo: Latitude: __________ Longitude: ____________

14. Kilauea Volcano: Latitude: ____________ Longitude: _____________

15. Western tip of Maui: Latitude: ___________ Longitude: ____________