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Materials and Directions for Teaching Latitude and Longitude With Battleship Game

Get In The Game!

Teaching latitude and longitude is easy "in theory", but many students struggle with consistent and accurate demonstration of the skills.

The best remedy for this, in my opinion, is to set up situations that require the students to use latitude and longitude in meaningful ways with ALOT of repetition.

The game of battleship is a great familiar way to let pairs of students square off in competition while using latitude and longitude during each turn.

Every move in the game is plotted by both students and the proper order of how to state out loud a latitude and longitude location is reinforced over and over again as the students call out potential "hits" and "misses".

It is a bit slow at first to get everyone on the same page and in the groove of how to play, but the students quickly pick it up because they are all familiar with the game of battleship.

I recommend using this as a reinforcement tool after spending some time learning and practicing latitude and longitude at the base level.

This prior learning will help minimize the "I can't do it" frustration some students may feel and minimize the opportunities for belittling trash talk when one opponent is not as strong in the skills as the other.

This game may be used in elementary school through high school (where I use it).

The Rules

Latitude/Longitude Battleship


To practice the proper way to speak aloud a specific location using latitude and longitude.

To practice finding latitude and longitude quickly and naturally using a physical map.

What Each Player Needs:

· 2 Game Sheets – one to record your moves (hits/misses) and one to hide your ships on and record your opponent’s moves (hits/misses).

· A Latitude/Longitude Script Sheet

· (Optional) A Clipboard

· (Optional) Ruler – to help with finding the line’s degree easier.

Rules of The Game

· Attach the two game sheets to a clipboard – a portable “desk” that will keep your intel private.

· Each player must choose one game sheet to represent his/her stealth military invasion- we will call this sheet the “mission sheet” . The player will hide five ships along line intersections using a highlighter or a dark mark. The ships may NOT be placed diagonally and may not overlap each other. The player’s opponent’s moves will be recorded on this sheet.

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o Aircraft Carrier – 5 line intersections

o Battleship - 4 line intersections

o Submarine – 3 line intersections

o Cruiser – 3 line intersections

o Destroyer - 2 line intersections

· The second game sheet will be used to record the player’s own moves – we will call it the player’s “intelligence sheet”.

· Moves on both the mission and intelligence sheets will be represented by an X for a miss (a move that does not locate a hidden ship) or an O for a hit (a move that hits any part of a hidden ship).

· Each player takes a turn guessing a point using a verbal statement with the lines of latitude and longitude – including the words “degrees” and noting “direction”. Each player will have a script to follow until stating a point of latitude and longitude correctly becomes natural.

· The game is over when one player sinks all of the other player’s battleships.

Earning Full Credit

In order to earn full credit, each player must follow the latitude and longitude script and mark all of the player’s opponent’s moves as well as his/her own moves on their proper sheets. These sheets will be turned in and MUST be signed with the teacher’s initials to signify that the sheets are “legit”.

The Script Sheet

Latitude/Longitude Verbal Script

Directions: Use the following script to properly verbalize a location in terms of latitude and longitude. Fill in the blanks with the proper number and direction.

Example: “Latitude 40° North and Longitude 110° West”

The Script:

“Latitude ____° North/South and Longitude ____° East/West”

Game Sheets - Right Click and "Save Image As"


Get Editable Docs

If you prefer the above rules and the script sheet in editable format, I have linked over to Google Docs.

The game sheet may be saved and printed as a full page image by right clicking and saving the image to your desktop.

Good luck and go sink some battleships!

How Did You Tweak It?

Dana Rock (author) from Pacific Northwest on November 11, 2012:

@kathy, thank you for bringing that to my attention. I have found the larger game piece - hubpages changed something in how images were displayed which is why it no longer worked when clicked. Thank you again!

kathy on October 30, 2012:

When I try to click on the image to enlarge the game board, nothing happens. If I cut and pass the game board, the numbers are too fuzzy to read when I enlarge it. Is anyone having luck enlarging the board?

Maeghan on September 06, 2012:

I have done something similar, only using "human" battles ship. I made huge grids and separated them by a curtain. Students each stood at 1 intersection. Each team called out a coordinate to determine if it was a hit or a miss. If students got hit, they could move to 1 other spot that hadn't been hit yet. This necessitated them keeping track of both where they sent the missiles and where their grid had been hit.

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