Compare and Contrast Longitude and Latitude
The model in the “Around” activity below compares Earth’s meridians, which are also called lines of longitude. Meridians (lines of longitude) circle the Earth from pole to pole.
Earth’s axis is an imaginary line through the the center of the Earth. Points where the axis exits are called the North Pole and the South Pole. Scientists at the South Pole have stuck a metal pole in the ice to mark the exit point of Earth’s axis. In the photo, you can see the me South Pole marker.
The ice layer at the South Pole slowly moves, thus the metal pole moves away from the axis’ exit point. Each year a new metal pole is used to mark the position of the South Pole. Poles from previous years are left in the ice and they look like fence post leading away from the South Pole.
I can officially say that I have walked around the Earth. My path cut through the Eastern and Western Hemispheres and it took me only a few seconds to make the trip. Sounds impossible, but I was able to do this by following the path of a latitude very close to the South Pole. Yes, I had the opportunity to visit the South Pole and made a point to walk around the metal pole marking the geographic location of the South Pole.
Math Connection: Compare and contrast the circumference of longitude and latitude lines. Point out that all longitude lines form great circles. The only latitude that is a great circle is at Earth’s equator.
The following “Around” model activity is found on page 72 of
“204 Sticky, Gloppy, Wacky & Wonderful Experiments.”