Form and Size of the Earth - Worksheet | Student Handouts
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The Form and Size of Earth
The Form and Size of Earth - Free printable reading with questions for upper elementary World Geography students.
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Answer Key:
  1. hemi-
  2. Christopher Columbus
  3. B - Antarctica
  4. D - Western
  5. A - Eastern
  6. Answers will vary
  7. Eclipse of the moon
  8. On map
  9. On map
  10. On map
  11. On map
  12. 8,000 miles
  13. 25,000 miles
  14. On map
  15. On map
  16. On map
  17. On map
  18. On map

The Form and Size of the Earth

Imagine that you took the earth and sliced it in half from the North Pole to the South Pole, running your knife from north to south through the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean.  You would end up with two half spheres, called hemispheres (hemi- is a prefix that means "half").  These two hemispheres are known as the Western Hemisphere and the Eastern Hemisphere.

1.  What prefix means “half”?

The Western Hemisphere has also been called the "New World" because it includes North America and South America, lands that were "new" to Europeans following the famous voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492.

2.  What European explorer famously sailed to the Americas in 1492?

The Eastern Hemisphere contains, basically, everything else.  It has also been called the "Old World" because it contains Africa, Asia, and Europe, lands that were known to Europeans before the voyage of Columbus.

 3.  Which of the following continents is not considered part of the “Old World”?

a.  Africa

b.  Antarctica

c.   Asia

d.  Europe

4.  The illustration above is of the _____ Hemisphere.

a.  Eastern

b.  Northern

c.   Southern

d.  Western

5.   The illustration above is of the _____ Hemisphere.

a.  Eastern

b.  Northern

c.   Southern

d.  Western

The earth is a great ball of land and water, surrounded by a shell of air.  We see so small a part of the earth at a time that it does not look like a ball, but there are many proofs that the earth is round (without requiring us to fly into space on a rocket ship).  Here are a few of them:

·        Many persons have gone around the earth.

·        As ships sail out to sea, their hulls are lost to sight while their sails are clearly seen.

·        When travelers go day after day towards the north or the south, new stars rise over the horizon before them, while the stars behind sink beneath the horizon.

·        Sometimes the earth moves between the sun and the moon and casts a shadow on the moon.  The edge of this shadow always looks like part of a circle.

6.  Given the numerous proofs we have that the earth is round, why do you suppose that so many people believed, for centuries, that the earth is flat?


The sun and the moon are round, like the earth.  The moon is smaller than the earth, but the sun is many times larger.  The shadow of the earth on the moon is called an eclipse of the moon.  There may also be an eclipse of the sun, when the moon is between the earth and the sun.

7.  The shadow of the earth on the moon is known as what?

The great body of water which surrounds the land is called the sea.  Various parts of the sea are known as oceans.  The oceans lie in broad hollows on the earth.

Label the following on the map above.

8.  Atlantic Ocean

9.  North America

10.      Pacific Ocean

11.      South America

The earth is so large that the distance from side to side, through the center (diameter), is nearly 8,000 miles.  The greatest distance around the earth (circumference) is about 25,000 miles.  Billions of people live on the earth, and yet a large part of the land is not used.

12.      Approximately what is the earth’s diameter?

13.      Approximately what is the earth’s circumference?

Label the following on the map above.

14.      Africa

15.      Asia

16.      Australia

17.      Europe

18.      Indian Ocean