• 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.

  • Subjects & Disciplines

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    • explain the difference between the terms location and place

    Teaching Approach

    • Learning-for-use

    Teaching Methods

    • Discussions

    Skills Summary

    This activity targets the following skills:

    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

    • Globe
    • Photographs of your neighborhood, town, or state

    Required Technology

    • Internet Access: Optional
    • Tech Setup: 1 computer per classroom, Projector

    Physical Space

    • Classroom


    • Large-group instruction
  • Background Information

    A geographic perspective is a way of looking at the world. Location helps you answer where. Place helps you answer what or who.

    Prior Knowledge

    • None


    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    geographic perspective Noun

    a way to understand a topic or area using spatial features and relationships.

    location Noun

    position of a particular point on the surface of the Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: location
    place Noun

    area having unique physical and human characteristics.