1. Discuss the meaning of the terms location and place.
Write the words location and place on the board. Ask: Have you ever traveled to a different location? If anyone has, ask him or her to describe it to the rest of the class. For each, write some of the describing words on the board. Then have a whole-class discussion to explore the following questions:
- Did the student describe it in terms of location (where it is, such as the city, state, or country)?
- Did the student describe it in terms of place (what it is like, such as hot, cold, urban, or country)?
2. Compare and contrast the descriptions.
Ask students: How are the experiences alike? How are they different?
3. Use a globe to illustrate the concept.
Using a globe, pinpoint your location to show students that location is where the place is on the Earth’s surface. Then show them photographs of your neighborhood, town, city, or state to illustrate that place describes what it is like there.
4. Have students determine location or place.
Have students return to the descriptions in Step 1 and decide if the original description was of the location or the place. Have them say “L” if it was a description of the location and “P” if it was a description of the place.
Extending the Learning
Have students imagine that an exchange student is coming to their house. Ask students to explain the locations of their homes and to describe what those places are like.
- explain the difference between the terms location and place
Connections to National Standards, Principles, and Practices
National Geography Standards
- Standard 4: The physical and human characteristics of places
What You’ll Need
Materials You Provide
- Photographs of your neighborhood, town, or state
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
- Internet Access: Optional
- Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector
- Large-group instruction
A geographic perspective is a way of looking at the world. Location helps you answer where. Place helps you answer what or who.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry geographic perspective Noun
a way to understand a topic or area using spatial features and relationships.
position of a particular point on the surface of the Earth.
Encyclopedic Entry: location place Noun
area having unique physical and human characteristics.