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World Continents

Describing the World

Continents

In the last article you learned how to divide the world into hemispheres. You can say in which two hemispheres a place is located. In this article we are going to learn a little about the continents, how many there are and a few interesting facts about each.

A continent is one of the seven main land areas on the Earth. Sometimes they can be a little confusing. Some are joined to each other, and some are completely surrounded by water. Some contain a lot of countries, and some only a few. Some people even like to argue that there are only six continents and not seven.

The Seven Continents.

So nobody can say I like one continent more than another, I am going to place them in alphabetical order.

Africa
Antarctica
Asia
Europe
North America
Oceania
South America

Look at the map. Which continents are joined together? Which are entirely surrounded by water?

Oceania (sometimes called Australia) and Antarctica are completely surrounded by water. The others are all joined to at least one other continent. Which continent is joined to two others? Every continent lies in at least two hemispheres, and some lie in three or four.

Using the map , see if you can name the hemispheres that each continent lies in. To help you, the number of hemispheres is written in brackets. Don't forget the little piece of Asia on the left of the map!

Africa (4)
Antarctica (3)
Asia (4)
Europe(3)
North America (2)
Oceania(2)
South America (3)

Here are some interesting facts about each of the continents that make them unique (different to the others).

Africa

Contains the world's longest river (The Nile).
Contains the world's largest desert (The Sahahra).
Contains more countries than any other continent.
Most of the world's gold and diamonds come from Africa.

Antarctica

Is the only continent completely covered in ice.
Is the only continent that is uninhabited by humans (although some scientists live there for short periods of time).

Asia

Is the only continent joined to two others.
Contains the world's biggest nation (China).
Contains the highest point on Earth (Mount Everest).
Is the only continent where tigers are found in the wild.

Europe

Through colonization, at one time ruled almost all of the rest of the world.
Has been the starting point of both World Wars.

North America

Is joined to Asia by ice in winter (Bering Sea).
Is the only continent that lies entirely in the Northern and Western Hemispheres.
Contains the world's tallest mountain (Mount Kea).
Contains the world's largest fresh water lake (Lake Superior).

Oceania

Contains the fewest countries (Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea)
Has more sheep than people.
Is the only continent that lies entirely in the Southern and Eastern Hemispheres.

South America

Contains the world's Southern most city (Puentas Arenas).
Contains the world's largest river system (The Amazon).


Activity

Take your ball from the previous lesson, about hemispheres.
Using different colored marker pens, try to draw the continents on the ball.
It isn't easy to do, and the exact shape of each continent isn't very important. Make sure that each continent stretches into all the hemispheres it is included in.

What We learned

There are seven continents.
Every continent lies in at least two different hemispheres.

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