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Monday, July 12, 2010

"Z" is for Zones

Well we have reached the end of the alphabet this week with the letter Z. Mrs. Matlock has required a lot of intense work from her students, and I'm sure that many of us are looking forward to our summer school class assignments using the colors of the rainbow.

Mrs. Matlock, I'm going to step out of my usual role as a student and become the teacher that I really am for this "Z" assignment. When I taught 5th grade for 23 years, I would teach my students about the climate zones along with several geography terms. The final geography test was very detailed, and my students had to know quite a bit about latitude and longitude, the continents, the oceans, the hemispheres and so much more! I even gave them spelling tests to make sure that they knew how to spell each term and use it correctly in a sentence. I was tough! Soooo...I've decided to do a very short lesson on the 3 basic climate zones for this "z" post.

I quickly drew this rendition of a sphere to show some lines of latitude or parallels.

Let's begin with the equator or zero degrees latitude. The equator is
the great circle of the earth that is equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole. It is also an imaginary line so you won't see it if you are flying over it in a plane or crossing it on a ship. I told you this was meant for 5th graders!

Everything from the equator to the North Pole is measured in degrees North latitude. The Northern Hemisphere is in this area.
Everything from the equator to the South Pole is measured in degrees South latitude. The Southern Hemisphere is in this area.
There are 90 degrees from the equator to the North Pole and 90 degrees from the equator to the South Pole.
At 23.5 degrees north of the equator you will find a dashed line for the Tropic of Cancer and at 23.5 degrees south of the equator you will find a dashed line for the Tropic of Capricorn. Between these two dashed latitudinal lines you have the tropics. Obviously the closer you are to the equator the hotter it is hence the Torrid Zone.

From the Tropic of Cancer (23.5 degrees North) to the Arctic Circle (66.5 degrees North) you will find the Temperate Zone in the northern hemisphere.
Conversely, from the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 degrees South) to the Antarctic Circle (66.5 degrees South) you will find the Temperate Zone in the southern hemisphere.
Don't forget that hemi means "half" and don't forget the second "e" in Temperate or the first "c" in Arctic and Antarctic. That is very important for the spelling test.
Gosh I sound like I should be back in a classroom!

At any rate, most of the people on earth live in parts of the temperate zones.

From the Arctic Circle (66.5 degrees North) to the North Pole (90 degrees North latitude) you will find the Frigid Zone (Polar) for the northern hemisphere.
From the Antarctic Circle (66.5 degrees South) to the South Pole (90 degrees South latitude) you will find the Frigid Zone (Polar) for the southern hemisphere.
Needless to say, it is extremely cold at the poles. The Arctic Ocean is at the North Pole, but the continent of Antarctica is at the South Pole. The Polar climates have no summer.

This is rudimentary at best. I'm sure there are sub-climates and a lot that I'm leaving out. However, if I was teaching a class to future meteorologists or cartographers (map makers) I'm sure that my information would be more in-depth. Yes, my students had to know about maps and cartographers!

For more detailed information about the 3 basic climate zones, go to this link.
Please Google "Meadowlark Lemon Presents the World" for additional information about a video that is absolutely perfect for helping children understand basic map skills. I would always show this video to my students right before their final geography test and they loved it.


I'm sure many of you are totally asleep right now hence the z's above. Thankfully I only concentrated on the the lines of latitude for the zones. If I included the lines of longitude (meridians) you would be pulling your hair out right now!

This is linked back to Alphabe-Thursday for the letter "z".


signed...bkm said...

Once a teacher, always a teacher and you gave a wonderful lesson here to one who "zzzzz" through
5th grade.. so this is a wonderful makeup lesson...blessings..bkm

The Paint Splash said...

I too was a teacher...but I taught art and home economics. Great Z post.I only wish I had been around longer than W...It has been so much fun. Hopefully I can find some other fun spot to connect to this wonderful group of people in blogland. Have a blessed week Debbie

Red Couch Recipes said...

What a great lesson on zones and I hope it will stay in my mind. I remember studying this with my kids. Joni

JDaniel4's Mom said...

This sounds like a tough quiz. I am not sure I would have done well.

Terra said...

Oh man, my daughter could have used you last year. She had me drawing in the carpet to help her "get it"

lissa said...

Actually, I never quite learned any of these. Perhaps I did once but not until I read your post did I even heard of Torrid Zone. I might have fallen asleep in my biology/earth study(?) class. And no, I didn't fall asleep reading this. Thanks for the lesson. I think I might have actually learn this if you have been my teacher.

Viki said...

I'm sure your students appreciated your hard work and dedication. Thanks for the lesson teach. Great Z post.

Gayle said...

Wow. A real lesson!

RNSANE said...

This was actually quite informational. I feel like I might answer at least one question on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" Thankfully, with over fifty years of world travel, I've learned a good deal about zones, etc.

Julie Schuler said...

I am just explaining the equator to my son. He was under the impression that the south pole was hot and the north pole was cold. I think I used to think that way when I was little, too.

ChristiS said...

Written by a true teacher who loves her subject area! I taught 1st grade for 12 years and am getting ready to start my 2nd year as a Reading Specialist! Thank you for the informative lesson! :)

Jenny said...

Do you want to hear the weirdest thing?

Yesterday our oldest Grand was asking about this exactly. I told her we would talk about it on Friday so now I have a "lesson plan"!

I'm extremely happy you picked this subject cuz you saved me a lot of time on google later today!

Thanks for being part of this meme!

It has been really fun following along with you!

I bet you were an amazing teacher!


A 2 Z said...

Great lesson! I'm also a teacher and its not always easy to explain geography to grade 5 students. Their minds are somewhere else at that age. Everything has to be very hands on these days. Thanks for sharing.


mbkatc230 said...

This was an interesting and fun choice for Z! I think some of this is still rattling around in my brain, but it keeps getting shoved aside by other things :) Sounds like a really great way to teach, and I love the use of the Meadowlark Lemon video! Kat

H said...

Not a zzzzzzzzzzzzz in sight! I found this totally enjoyable. I love geography and, especially, maps and I think you explained the zones absolutely clearly!

H said...

By the way, I'm English...What age is 5th grade please? Our year 5 is 9 - 10 yrs. Is yours similar? I have never managed to work it out.

jeff campbell said...

Great post! I love geography, cartography and such...I'm really 'in the zone' with this one...Peace and blessings

Anonymous said...

部落格很棒唷~ 支持你歐^^..................................................................

Jo said...

oh that was sooo funny with the ZZZZZ's ... you do know your stuff, you must have been wonderful teacher!

The Muse said...

This rocks, well I am a bit of a geek! LOL
Well, happy Z day :)
It has been 26 weeks of fun!
And I applaud your Z choice (well played).

hope you can visit my z when you have time :)

Betty (picture circa 1951) said... I know. Right now I'd like to be in the Frigid least for a few minutes.