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Maps ... Continents ... Oceans ... Make an Atlas


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Make An Atlas


Wouldn't it be fun to have your own book of maps?

It's easy!

First, Decide what to use for the cover of your book of maps.

You may want to buy a ring binder and a hole punch?
Or, two pieces of colored paper and a stapler?
Or, two pieces of cardboard, some yarn, a needle, and a nail to punch holes with?

Next, print out some maps to put in your book of maps.

If you have a color printer, you can print out colored maps.
Or, you could print blank maps and color them yourself.

Finally, put your book together.

Put the pages inside the cover.
Finish the binding with sewing or stapling, or put on the rings and close.

Our Home is Planet Earth

The planet earth is in the shape of a ball or sphere.

North and South Poles are at opposite ends of the sphere called the Earth.

Earth's Poles

At the top of the earth is the North Pole.

The North Pole is as far North as you can go on the Earth.
The North Pole is located in the Arctic Ocean.
The North Pole is covered by a thick sheet of ice and snow.
At the north pole, there are two seasons: summer and winter.
In the Summer, the sun shines 24 hours a day at the North Pole.
In the Winter, the sun cannot be seen at the North Pole.

At the bottom of the earth is the South Pole.

The South Pole is as far South as you can go on the Earth.
The South Pole is located on the Antarctic Continent.
The South Pole is covered by a thick sheet of ice and snow.
At the South Pole, there are two seasons: Summer and Winter.
In the Summer, the sun shines 24 hours a day at the South Pole.
In the Winter, the sun cannot be seen at the South Pole.

The Earth's Equater

Around the middle of the earth is an imaginary line called The Equator. The Equator is half way between the North Pole and the South Pole. At the equator, around the world, the sun shines a full 12 hours a day every day of the year.

The Hemispheres

A hemisphere is half of a sphere or ball. The Earth is a sphere. If you look at earth from space, it looks like a ball.

You can cut a ball or a sphere in half. Half of the sphere is a hemisphere.

The earth is divided into four hemispheres, each center in each directions.
These hemispheres are called the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Hemisphere, the Eastern Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere.

The equator is the largest line around the middle. The equator separates the southern and the northern hemispheres.

The eastern and western hemispheres are divided on a line that is called The Prime Meridian on the Atlantic Ocean side, and The International Date Line on the Pacific Ocean side.

The Equator divides the earth into Northern and Southern Hemispheres. During half of the year, earth tilts the North Pole toward the sun and it is summer in the Northern Hemisphere. As the Earth continues it trip around the sun, the South Pole is tipped toward the sun, and it is summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

The annual seasons are opposite in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. When it is summer in one hemisphere it is winter in the other. When it is spring in one hemisphere, it is autumn or fall in the other.

Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere

The Eastern and Western Hemispheres stretch from the North pole to the South pole and are separated by the International Date Line and the Greenwich Meridian.

Day and night are different in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Whichever hemisphere is facing the sun, has daytime. The opposite hemisphere has nighttime. Nighttime is when the hemisphere is facing away from the sun.



The Continents

Scientists have reason to believe that early in earth history, there was only one huge continent on the face of the earth, and the rest of the planet was covered by ocean.


The Continent Pangeo began to break apart and the parts drifted on the ocean until they formed the seven continents we know today. It took millions of years for the continents to get where they are. The continents continue to move across the face of the earth, but they move very, very slowly. The continents are surrounded by five oceans.

The earth now has seven land masses called continents. In addition to the large continents, there are also many islands around the world. Some islands are so large they are almost the size of a continent. Other islands are so small they disappear when the tide comes in.

Each continent is supported on it's own plate in the crust of the earth. These plates float on the molten center of the earth. The edges of the plates move over and under each other, causing some land to rise above the ocean level. The land on the opposite side of the plate may disappear under the ocean.

The Round World

The seven continents on the earth are: North America which is connected by a narrow piece of land to South America. Antarctica covers the south pole and is connected to no other continents. Africa sits across the Atlantic Ocean from South America. It is connected to Asia across a narrow piece of land, and is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea. Europe is connected to Asia where the surface plates come together and pushed up the Ural Mountains between the continents instead of water. Australia, the smallest continent lies to the south of eastern Asia across waters strewn with many islands both large and small.

North America is the continent that Americans live on. There are three large countries on North America: Canada, the United States and Mexico. Some geologists consider the Caribbean Islands which lie between North and South America as part of the continent of North America. Some maps consider Central America, the narrow strip of land between North and South America part of North America. North America also contains many islands in the north scattered in the Artic Sea. North America extends from within the north polar region to within the equitorial region. But it does not cross the equator around the center of the earth.

South America, as its name suggests, lies to the South of North America. It lies between the Atlantia and Pacific Oceans. The Equator crosses South America, and much of the continent is tropical. South America has a length of very tall mountains along it's western shore with lower plains areas to the east. South America does not reach into the south polar region. The Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans meet below it's southern tip.

Antarctica is the frozen continent that covers the South Pole. Antarctica is not connected to any other continents and is complete surrounded by the Southern Ocean which flows around the continent and meets the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Africa is a large continent that lies between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. It is believed that human life began on the African continent and that early human beings migrated to the other continents from Africa. Africa is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea and the Straits of Gibralter between Africa and Europe. On the east, Africa is joined to Asia at the top of the Arabian Peninsula.

Print and Color Africa

Europe is a rather small continent. It stretches from withing the Arctic Circle to the north, to the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It includes the islands of Britain, Ireland, and Iceland. Europe is a heavily populated continent. It shares its long eastern edge with the western edge of Asia. The two plate came together and pushed up the Ural mountains which separate the two continents. Some geographers combine the two continents of Europe and Asia as one continent called Eurasia.

Asia is the largest continent on the earth. It extends from within the polar region on the north, almost to the Equator on the south. It is edged by the Artic Ocean on the north, the Pacific Ocean on the east, and the Indian Ocean to the south. It is joined to Europe at the Ural Mountains. Asia includes the area often referred to as the Middle East, which is located at the southwestern part of Asia where it joins with Europe and connects to Africa. Asia contains the Tibetan Mountains, which are the highest in the world.

Australia is the smalest continent and lies to the south of eastern Asia. Australia is surrounded by water from the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Between Asia and Australia are a great number of island, many of which have banded together into independent countries. To the southeast of Australia lies the large islands of New Zealand which extend almost to the southern polar region.

The continents are the great land masses of the world. The total area of land on Earth is 57,308,738 Sq. Miles


Land Area in Square Miles



Africa 11,608,000 53 778,000,000
Antarctica 5,200,000 0 0
Asia 71,212,000 47 3,674,000,000
Australia 2,968,000 14 31,000,000
Europe 3,837,000 43 342,000,000
North America 9,365,000 23 483,000,000
South America 6,880,000 12 342,000,000

Continental Highs and Lows

The highest point on each continent is a mountain. The Lowest point on each continent is a lake, sea or valley. The highest and lowest points on each continent are:


Highest Point

Lowest Point

Africa Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, 19,340 ft Lake Assal, Africa , 512 ft below sea level
Antarctica Vinson Massif, Ellsworth Mts., 16,066 ft 8,327 ft below sea level
Asia Mt. Everest, Tibet/Nepal, 29,028 ft Dead Sea, 1,341 ft below sea level
Australia Kosciusko, Australia, 7,316 ft Lake Eyre, 52 ft below sea level
Europe Elbrus, Russia/Georgia, 18,510 ft Caspian Sea, 92 ft below sea level
North America Mt. McKinley, Alaska, 20,320 ft Death Valley, 282 ft below sea level
South America Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina, 22,834 ft Valdes Peninsula, 131 ft below sea level

Find the highest and lowest point of each continent in an atlas.
Mark each with an X on the map below.

Comparing The Continents

Look at the first table in this lesson and fill in the table below. Fill in the area and population for each continent. Divide the population by the area to find out how many people live in a square mile on that continent. Use a calculator to do the division. Enter the number of People per square mile in the last column.




People per Square Mile

The People per Square Mile indicates how densely populated a continent is. According to your calculations, which continent has the most density or people, or the most people per square mile.

Marking the earth

The Equator is an imaginary line around the middle of the earth that divides the Earth into North and South Hemispheres.

The  North Pole is the point that is farthest north on Earth. The North Pole is at the center of the Northern Hemisphere.

The South Pole is the point that is the farthest south on Earth. The South Pole is at the center of the Southern Hemisphere.

Label the Equator, North Pole and South Pole on the map below:

The Oceans

Scientists have reason to believe that at an early time in our planet's history, there was only one continent, Pangea, and one ocean, which covered the rest of the planet. Over time, the plates under the one continent floated away from each other, and the plates under the one ocean also floated away, some moving around the moving continents so that there was water between most of the continents.

The oceans of the world contain lots of plant and animal life. The oceans are all salty, but some are saltier than others. Most of the Arctic Ocean is covered by ice, but submarines have traveled across the Arctic Ocean under the ice. The floor of the oceans is not smooth, but contains mountains, plains and low spots just like land does. If the mountains are tall enough, they may form islands on the surface of the Oceans. The low spots are called trenches, and form the very deep areas of the oceans.

The Arctic Ocean is at the northern top of the planet. It surrounds the North Pole. The Arctic Oceans is usually covered with ice. But, when the planet has a change in climate, the ice may get larger and cover the continents along the Arctic Ocean, or the ice may get smaller and allow ships to travel in areas that are usually under ice.

The Atlantic Ocean lies between the American continents and the continents of Europe and Africa. The Atlantic Oceans stretches from the Arctic Ocean at the north, to the Southern Ocean in the south. Below South America, it meets the Pacific Ocean, and below Africa, it meets the Indian Ocean. The Prime Meridian passes through the Atlantic Ocean. The Prime Meridian is the longitude line number zero, in mapping the planet.

The Indian Ocean is located mostly in the southern hemisphere. The Indian Ocean edges the western side of Africa, the Southern side of Asia, and the Eastern part of Australia. Some of the islands between Asia and Australia are located in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Oceans meets the Atlantic Ocean below Africa and meets the Pacific Ocean under Australia. To the south, it is bound by the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica.

The Southern Ocean surrounds the continent of Antarctica. It's current flows in one direction around the continent in the southern summer, and reverses direction in the southern winter. The Southern Ocean meets all the other oceans of the world except the Arctic Ocean.

The Pacific Oceans is the largest ocean on the planet. It stretches from the Arctic Ocean at the north, to the Southern Ocean to the sounth. It edges North and South America on the east, and Asia and Australia on the west. The International Date line runs north to south is about the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is longitude line 180 degress. After crossing this line, the longitude lines begin to decrease. Crossing this line will also change the date on your calendar.


Oceans cover about 70% of the Earth's surface. The oceans contain roughly 97% of the Earth's water supply. The oceans of Earth are unique in our Solar System. No other planet in our Solar System has liquid water (although recent finds on Mars indicate that Mars may have had some liquid water in the recent past). Life on Earth originated in the seas, and the oceans continue to be home to an incredibly diverse web of life.

The oceans of Earth serve many functions, especially affecting the weather and temperature. They moderate the Earth's temperature by absorbing incoming solar radiation (stored as heat energy). The always-moving ocean currents distribute this heat energy around the globe. This heats the land and air during winter and cools it during summer.


The Earth's oceans are all connected to one another. Until the year 2000, there were four recognized oceans: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic . In the Spring of 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization delimited a new ocean, the Southern Ocean (it surrounds Antarctica and extends to 60 degrees latitude).

There are also many seas (smaller branches of an ocean); seas are often partly enclosed by land. The largest seas are the South China Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea .


Area (square miles)

Average Depth (ft)

Deepest depth (ft)

Pacific Ocean 64,186,000 15,215 Mariana Trench, 36,200 ft deep
Atlantic Ocean 33,420,000 12,881 Puerto Rico Trench, 28,231 ft deep
Indian Ocean 28,350,000 13,002 Java Trench, 25,344 ft deep
Southern Ocean 7,848,300 13,100 - 16,400 Southern end of the South Sandwich Trench, 23,736 ft deep.
Arctic Ocean 5,106,000 3,953 Eurasia Basin , 17,881 ft deep

Find the deepest points of each ocean in an atlas. Mark the deepest point in each ocean with an X.

Continents and Oceans

Hip Hop Continents and Oceans Video Map of the world Walk the World Would you tell me the Continents? Continents Map Puzzle Name the Continents Game Test your Geography Knowledge-Continents & Oceans


Landforms Mountains Label the Landforms


Volcanoes Lava Flow Video Volcanoes Wikipedia Volcano World Thunderstorms and Volcanos
VolcanoJimmy Buffet


Science for Kids
Earthquake Movie Sequence Earthquakes
Seismic Action Videos Earthquake Machine
Latest EarthquakesUSGS USGS: Earthquakes for Kids USGS
National Geographic Video
National Geographic Photo Gallaty
Inside Earthquakes
National Geographic Video
Forces of Nature: Earthquakes Seismic Destruction 1995 Earthquake at Kobe, Japan Kobe Triangle Faultline
Seismic Action at the Epicenter

Geography Fun

Link to Project from Ireland Geography Project from Ireland Link to Browsin' Geography Browsin' Geography
Link to Geo Sense GeoSense
Test your knowledge of geography
All About World Geography
Link to Globe Trekker Globe Trekker
TV Show Videos
Geography Games
Sheppard Software
How many in the World?

Geography Resources

Xpeditionsmaps World Factbook Geography
Enchanted Learning
Census Bureau Geography World Atlas.Com USGS
Geography Network Geography About.Com National Geographic Geographic.Org
InfoPlease: Geography Data Geography 4 Kids Kids Geo.Com
World Maps & Globes Student World Atlas ($25) Wall World Map ($25)

Kokoda Trek across Papua New Guinea

Kokoda Trek Part 1 Kokoda Trek Part 2 Kokoda Trek Part 3 Kokoda Trek Part 4 Kokoda Trek Part 5 Kokoda Trek Part 6 Kokoda Trek Part 7 Kokoda Trek Part 8 Kokoda Trek Part 9

Countries and States

Link to Civilizations index Civilization Link to Nations index Nations Link to United States index United States Link to Virginia Worksheet Using a state highway MapWriting Directions State Abbreviations and Capitals Bingo

Towns and Cities

Ghost Towns of US & Canada Link to Research Southern Constellations

Page created September 30, 2007. Anne Pemberton. Updated Sat, Mar 17, 2012. AP