Where in the World is
the Northwest Angle?

Last updated 1-3-2024

In this lesson, students use the Internet to learn about the Northwest Angle's location, history, and population.

Lesson Introduction:
Ask if anyone has heard of a place in the United states called the Northwest Angle. If someone has, ask what they know about it. Write their answers on the board. If not, ask students to speculate where it might be located. Write their guesses on the board.

Explain that they are going to locate the Northwest Angle based on its longitude and latitude and then learn about it by exploring Internet sites.

1. Assign partners or place students in groups of three or four.

2. Provide pairs or groups with the U.S. Midwest Region Outline Map from Motiva's Blog and the following longitude and latitude  coordinates: 4923′50.28″N, 9508′56.7″W (or decimal degrees 49.3973, -95.14908333333333), and have them locate the NW Angle using Google Maps GPS Coordinates or a similar web site. After they enter the coordinates and click on "get address," they will need to expand the map by clicking on the minus sign to get a larger view of the NW Angle's location.

3. Instruct them to draw a small circle around the NW Angle on the outline map.

4. Once they have accomplished these first two tasks, distribute the worksheet.

5. Direct them to the Northwest Angle links page and have them complete the worksheet. Provide help with any aspects of the worksheet on which students are struggling. For instance, the teacher may have to clarify information regarding how the NW Angle came to be part of the United States.

6. When all pairs/groups have completed the worksheet, help students check their answers. Correct any inaccuracies. Ask students to compare what they learned about the Northwest Angle to what was written on the board at the beginning of the lesson.

Conclusion and Extensions:
Tell the students that the Northwest Angle is the only part of the United States other than Alaska that is north of the 49th parallel. Explain why this is significant. Ask students what they think it would be like to live in the Northwest Angle and attend the Angle's one-room school. Ask what they think winter is like there. (See International Falls, and scroll down to climate for similar weather.) Ask if they'd like to visit the NW Angle, and have them explain why or why not. Ask them to speculate on what sort of work people who live there might do to make a living.

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Permission is granted to anyone wishing to use this activity for instructional purposes.