• 1. Think about what you know about temperatures around the world.
    Look at the outline map of the world and think about what you already know about temperatures around the world. You’ll use the legend below to color what you think temperatures are like around the world in June, July, and August. Note that the legend is in degrees Fahrenheit.
    violet = 30° F and below
    blue = 40° F
    green = 50° F
    yellow = 60° F
    orange = 70° F
    red = 80° F and higher

    2. Color your best guess about average temperatures around the world in June, July, and August.
    Think about climate and temperature and what areas are warmest or coldest. Use crayons that match the colors listed in the legend, and draw your best guess of the average temperatures around the world in June, July, and August. Color your own map separately from your family member’s map. If you have trouble getting started, start by thinking about your location:

    • What is the temperature like in those months?
    • Where else have you traveled during those months?
    • What places are warmer than where you live?
    • What places are colder?

    3. Compare your map to a family member's map.

    Compare your map to your family member’s map. Talk about what you colored and why. What questions do you have now?

    4. Compare your map to a true map of world temperatures.

    Now look at the Natinoal Geographic MapMaker Interactive and view the average surface air temperature around the world in summer. Notice that the map is showing data when it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere—which includes the months of June, July, and August. How is it similar to your map? How is it different? Talk with your family member about any surprising or unexpected parts of the map, or any questions you have.

    5. Think about what latitude and longitude have to do with temperature.

    Look at the map of average temperatures in June, July, and August to figure out this puzzle. Which affects temperature—latitude or longitude? What happens as you get farther away from the Equator? (Latitude affects temperature. The temperature gets cooler as you get farther away from the Equator.)

    6. Reflect on what you know.

    Why are latitude and longitude helpful map tools? How do they help you to identify specific locations? How are they related to general climate patterns?


    Quiz Yourself!

    1. What might you wear if you are at 60°N latitude, 140°W longitude in the month of January?

  • Materials You Provide

    • Crayons
    • Globe or wall map of the world

    Required Technology

    • Internet Access: Required
    • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector
    • Plug-Ins: Flash
  • Background Information

    Latitude and longitude make up the grid system that helps humans identify absolute, or exact, locations on the Earth’s surface. There is a relationship between latitude and temperature around the world, as temperatures are typically warmer approaching the Equator and cooler approaching the Poles. There are variations, though, as other factors such as elevation, ocean currents, and precipitation affect climate patterns.


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    average Verb

    to calculate the middle amount among a group of numbers.

    Celsius scale Noun

    scale for measuring surface temperature, used by most of the world, in which the boiling point of water is 100 degrees.

    climate Noun

    all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: climate
    elevation Noun

    height above or below sea level.

    Encyclopedic Entry: elevation
    Equator Noun

    imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude.

    Encyclopedic Entry: equator
    Fahrenheit scale Noun

    scale for measuring surface temperature used by Belize, Liberia, Myanmar, and the United States.

    latitude Noun

    distance north or south of the Equator, measured in degrees.

    Encyclopedic Entry: latitude
    longitude Noun

    distance east or west of the prime meridian, measured in degrees.

    Encyclopedic Entry: longitude
    map skills Noun

    skills for reading and interpreting maps, from learning basic map conventions to analyzing and comprehending maps to address higher-order goals.

    precipitation Noun

    all forms in which water falls to Earth from the atmosphere.

    Encyclopedic Entry: precipitation
    temperature Noun

    degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.

    Encyclopedic Entry: temperature