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" Can you follow directions and plot a storm?"

Greg English
Oak Park Middle School

"I created this assignment for my students after seeing them struggle with the idea of EAST/WEST NORTH/SOUTH when plotting hurricane coordinates.” 

Can you follow directions and plot a storm?


Teacher directions:


Have students label (in the center dot spaces provided) N, S, E, W, equator, prime meridian (elongated spaces on bold center lines). Along the outside edge, have students label 0 degrees - center lines. Explain longitude, latitude - one runs north and south, one runs east and west.


Number from the equator, explain degrees and label lines 10 degrees, 20 degrees, 30 degrees - north and south from equator.


Now do the same from the prime meridian - east and west. Label all sides of the grid.


Explain that Latitude lines run EAST & WEST but measures distance NORTH & SOUTH from the equator. Do same with Longitude - runs NORTH SOUTH but measures distance EAST & WEST.


Now that the kids are confused, explain again.


Begin with having the students find where 20 degrees north and 10 degrees west intersect. Have them put a dot. Then label that dot with the first letter of their last name.


Check to see if everyone has the dot in the same place.


Now to begin the assignment, we will find a spot on the graph and put a dot where the following lines intersect.


Call out: 40 degrees west, 60 degrees south. (You might want to write these on the board as you go along, do not put them all on the board at one time) Check students.


Give another. 10 degrees west, 20 degrees south, connect the dots


Now write on the board one plot at a time as you give them. Allow time in between for student work.

  • 40W, 10S - connect the dots
  • 60W, 20S - connect the dots
  • 50W, 10N - connect the dots
  • 20W, 20N - connect the dots
  • 10W, 30N - connect the dots
  • 30E, 30N - connect the dots
  • 50E, 10N - connect the dots
  • 40E, 10N - connect the dots
  • 50E, 10S - connect the dots
  • 40E, 10S - connect the dots
  • 50E, 60S - connect the dots


Check students work. It will be easy to see who could follow directions and who can plot coordinates.


Ask students what design do they have? (An eagle's head)

Assignment: If there are storms in the Gulf or Atlantic, have students watch the weather tonight. Write down the coordinates for one of the storms along with storm name or number. Then write a couple of sentences explaining what larger numbers NORTH would mean.

Blank printable grid sheet.doc Answer Sheet.doc


Louisiana Difference
louisiana101.com website copyright 2006 Greg English