Saturday, March 17, 2007

Longitude and Latitude

Friday, Kellen's (8) science lesson was about the trade winds and other weather patterns. As part of this lesson, longitude and latitude were used. He has a general idea what this is, but we haven't done much with it.

He was having a hard time remembering which was which, and I was having a hard time remembering how to get him to remember. I was a social studies teacher you know. You'd think I'd know a few tricks! Aha, like a light bulb turning on, I remembered.

This is a trick one of my students actually came up with. As a rule of thumb, students' memory tricks are usually the best. To remember which lines are longitude and which are latitude, picture a globe with the lines drawn on. See the lines going up and down, those are the long lines. Long lines are "long-itudes". Now, pictures the horizontal lines. They are flat, right? Flat lines are "flat-itudes."

I thought this was a great trick, and I remember slipping up a couple times in class and actually saying flatitude instead of latitude. Kellen didn't get it at first, when we weren't looking at a map. After explaining it while looking at a world map, it clicked. Just remember;

Long lines go up and down: Long- itudes = longitude
Flat lines: Flat-itudes = latitude


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That's a great tip! thanks!

  3. I used to teach that too, but I had forgotten! Those little tricks really do help!

  4. My little brother used to say "Lattitude is Fat-itude". I still think on that little squirt saying that and how it stuck in my mind then and now.

  5. That's similar to what I've used, only without the Flatitude part :)

    I'm only half way there!

  6. I always thought of lines of latitude as being rungs on a ladder-tude. And now I can't remember a single time I've ever had to actually know it, but I do.

    It seems the less I actually need to know something, the more ridiculous a memory formula must be.

    For instance, to determine the formula for the tangent, sine and cosine, I employed the following mnemomic device:

    "TSC, tsc, tsc," said the teacher to the students who didn't get it.

    "It's Over All Our Heads, A-Hole," thought the student.

    Tangent: O/A
    Sine: O/H
    Cosine: A/H

    What the heck, it worked.

  7. Now, I need a mnemonic device to spell mnemonic device. Or a better keyboard. Yeah, blame the keyboard.