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Where in the world are we?

Where in the world are we? 

In this unit, the children will understand the Earth better as a sphere, learning to rotate it mentally in 3D. They will explore its representation in 2D maps, and learn about the imaginary lines used (Equator, latitude, longitude, tropics and the International Date Line) to pinpoint global locations.  

The children have loved exploring the atlases and learning about the different continents of the world. We are starting to be able to name some countries in each continent and say which continent we live in. 


Key Vocabulary

Your child will learn about these key terms during our topic:


Antarctic Circle: imaginary line/circle about 66.5° south of the Equator

Arctic Circle: imaginary line/circle about 66.5° north of the Equator 

Compass points: the four main directions on a magnetic compass and some of the divisions in between: N, NE, E, SE, S, SW. W. NW

Day: time from sunrise to sunset each day, in relation to the Earth’s rotation on its axis

Equator: imaginary line/circle of latitude around the Earth, midway between North and South Poles, dividing the Earth into Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The Equator lies at 0° latitude: the midday Sun is always high in the sky. Because the sun is never far from being overhead, the suns rays are very concentrated and so temperatures are high.

International Date Line (IDL): a line of latitude. It is an imaginary north-to-south line/circle running through the Pacific Ocean, approximately along the 180° meridian from avoiding land

Lines of latitude: imaginary parallel lines/circles, horizontal to the Equator, that never meet, and get smaller towards the Poles

Lines of longitude: imaginary north-to-south lines/ circles, meeting at the North and South Poles to make segments. They are all the same length and go from pole to pole

Night: time from sunset to sunrise each day, in relation to the Earth’s rotation on its axis

Northern Hemisphere: half of the Earth north of the Equator 

North Pole: point where the northern end of the Earth’s axis of rotation meets the Earth’s surface

Prime Meridian (Greenwich Meridian, PM): imaginary line/circle passing through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, London, marking  0° longitude

Southern Hemisphere: half of the Earth south of the Equator 

South Pole: point where the southern end of the Earth’s axis of rotation meets the Earth’s surface

Time zone: area between lines of longitude following a standard time

Tropic of Cancer: imaginary line/circle about 23.5° north of the Equator; the furthest north where the Sun appears overhead once a year 

Tropic of Capricorn: imaginary line/circle about 23.5° south of the Equator; the furthest south that the Sun appears overhead once a year.


Topic Homework

Every other week your child will be asked to complete a topic-based activity from their home learning grid. They will receive this grid at the beginning of each new topic and it will be up to your child which activity they complete for that week's homework. Over the course of the topic, your child will have completed one activity from each column, one research, one writing and one creative.