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A Closer Look at Globes

By Brenda B. Covert
An atlas is a book of maps. Atlases are
filled with maps of states and countries. People
study maps in the atlas. They might even mark
on the maps. Any map on paper can have trails
and cities marked for travel. However, not all
maps are drawn on paper. What do you call a
map that is formed around a ball? It's called a
globe!
Most classrooms have a globe. A globe is a
map of the Earth in the shape of the Earth! Can
you find your home country on the globe? If you take a closer look
at the globe, you will see lots of lines. If you were to fly around the
world in a plane, when you looked down you would not see those
lines. So why are those lines on the globe? They tell us things about
the world. Let's find out what those lines tell us.
Earth has a North Pole and a South Pole. As your globe spins on
its axis, you see the top of the axis in the middle of the North Pole,
and the bottom of the axis in the middle of the South Pole. Halfway
between the North Pole and the South Pole is an imaginary line we
call the equator [ee-KWAY-ter]. The equator goes around the
middle of Earth like a belt. It divides the Earth into two parts. We
call the upper half the Northern Hemisphere [HIM-iss-fear] and the
lower half is called the Southern Hemisphere.
Countries near the equator stay hot all year long. Children living
in those countries only see snow in pictures or on TV!
Other lines lie parallel [PAIR-uh-lehl] to the equator. They never
meet. They run in the same direction and are an equal distance apart
at all points. Those lines measure distance north or south of the
equator. Two of those parallel lines have names. We call one above
the equator the Tropic of Cancer. Below the equator is one called
the Tropic of Capricorn. The weather between those two lines is
always warm, because the sun shines most directly on those areas.
Only one of the states in the U.S. lies within that area. Can you guess

which one? It is clearly not Alaska! If you guessed the tropical

islands of Hawaii, you are right!
Another set of imaginary lines runs from the North Pole to the
South Pole. Spin the globe to see all of them! All of these lines cross
the equator and its parallel lines once. They help us measure distance
east and west.
With all those lines criss-crossing the globe, it looks almost like
squares, doesn't it? See what else you can find on the globe!
A Closer Look at Globes

Questions
1. What do we call a book of maps?
A. an equator
B. a globe
C. an atlas
D. a hemisphere
2. The line that divides the world into two halves is called the:
A. belt
B. axis
C. hemisphere
D. equator
3. The Earth spins on its:
A. axis
B. equator
C. axle
D. atlas
4. We call the part of the world below the equator the Northern
Hemisphere.
A. True
B. False

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5. Why are there criss-crossing lines all over the globe?

A. to hold the world in place
B. to show where the map pieces are glued onto the globe
C. to measure distance
D. to show places to travel
6. The line that falls between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic
of Capricorn is called:
A. the South Pole
B. the axis
C. the equator
D. the parallel line