How to Use a World Globe

By Lesley Barker

A world globe is a model of the earth showing land masses and bodies of water. Some globes include raised texture to illustrate mountains and valleys. Other globes are labeled with the names of continents, countries, states and cities. Still other globes are meant to be more decorative.

Use a world globe to learn where places are on the earth. Spin the globe slowly to become familiar with the continents. Touch them. Read the labels.

Experiment with trying to find famous or commonly known places like Great Britain, Italy, Florida and Japan. Each of these places has a unique shape. Close your eyes and try to envision the shape of each place in your mind's eye. Race with a friend to find places on the globe first.

Notice that the world globe is marked with a rectangular grid. The vertical lines that go from north to south are called longitudes and the horizontal lines that run parallel to the equator are the latitudes. Each line is labeled with a number that shows the number of degrees measured from the prime meridian for longitude and from the equator for latitude. Pilots, sea captains and meteorologists refer to places on the earth using these measurements. Practice locating places according to their longitude and latitude.

Use the world globe to find where in the world it is dark or light. Since the globe spins on its stand to represent how the earth spins on its axis, you can use a globe to show which hemisphere is facing towards or away from the sun. Many world globes even have a marker at the top that helps you to calculate the relative time it is in each location.

Compare world globes that were made even 10 years ago with one that is current to see how the political geography has changed. Boundaries between nations shift as do the names of nations. Some people collect historic world globes to illustrate changes in how well we understand our own planet. Recent technology allows virtual world globes to be displayed on the internet. In fact, NASA makes a virtual world globe available so that people can see the globe from a satellite. See the link below to experience this.

About the Author

Lesley Barker, director of the Bolduc House Museum, authored the books "St. Louis Gateway Rail—The 1970s," published by Arcadia, and the "Eye Can Too! Read" series of vision-related e-books. Her articles have appeared in print and online since the 1980s. Barker holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Washington University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Webster University.