Year 5 History and Geography

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Follow Your Finger

To look at the hemispheres in more detail you’ll need a globe. First, find the prime meridian. With your finger, trace this line to the Equator. Do you see that the prime meridian is marked 0°?

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Next trace your finger along the Equator moving west from the prime meridian. See how the degree numbers on the meridians go up as you go west? When you reach the 180th meridian (180°), you’ve gone exactly halfway around the world. The 180th meridian is the continuation of the prime meridian on the other side of the globe. The 180° line and the prime meridian (0°) divide the globe into the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

Continue tracing your finger along the Equator to the west. What hemisphere are you crossing now? What happens to the longitude marks as you move back towards the prime meridian? Do the numbers keep getting larger or do they get smaller again?

Now try tracing your finger around some other meridians. What countries can you find that are on the same meridian? For example, you could start in Japan. Going north you find Russia. Go south and you reach Australia.

Now try tracing some other parallels. Do you notice how they are biggest near the Equator and smaller near the poles? What has the same latitude as Scotland? Travelling east, you would find Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Russia. Or go west over the Atlantic to reach Canada.

This activity is adapted from page 75 of What Your Year 5 Child Needs to Know. Other books in the Core Knowledge UK series can be purchased here.