Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fifteen Google Earth Integration Ideas

Google Earth is an amazing tool released by Google in 2005 after an acquisition. It has been updated and upgraded over the past six years and has become a favorite classroom tool. Google Earth has been around for so many years that I feel behind the times with this post, but it wasn’t until recently that I took the time necessary to really dig in and explore all that Google Earth has to offer.

If you are a new to Google Earth, I hope this post gives you a starting point from which to grow. If you are a veteran user, perhaps this post will allow you to see the tool again through the eyes of someone who has just discovered its magic and will provide you with some new classroom applications.

Fifteen Google Earth Lesson Integration Ideas

1. Zoom in to areas around the globe and have students describe the characteristics of those habitats.

2. Zoom in to landforms and have students create definitions based on their characteristics.

3. Zoom in to cities throughout the world (Las Vegas, Venice, Key West, Los Angeles, Chicago) and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in a city based on its geographic location.

4. Take virtual field trips to national parks and wonders of the world.

5. Explore sunrise and sunset in different locations around the globe at different times of the year and discuss why the number of daylight hours differs from place to place and date to date.

6. Explore the setting of a novel by visiting locations where events important to the plot occurred.
Resource: http://www.googlelittrips.com/GoogleLit/Home.html

7. Bring the real world into your math classroom by searching for angles, shapes, and other math related figures in city landscapes.

8. Create a real-life problem solving situation for a long-term math project. Ask students to plan a vacation they will travel to in a vehicle and then determine the amount it will cost them including food, hotel, souvenirs, and gas (by investigating the distance, mpg of their vehicle, and average gas prices along the journey). Then take the trip by searching for directions, clicking “Play tour” (the button with three circles below the directions) and clicking the forward button to increase your speed.

9. Design a virtual field trip overseas and fly there using the flight simulator.

The following are my favorite ideas shared by colleagues in this collaborative document: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_175fp5qg9d3

10. Zoom in to a location and have students determine if it is rural, urban, or suburban based on characteristics you have developed as a class.

11. Preview a field trip location before making the journey with your class.

12. Estimate distances and then measure to check your estimates using the line and path feature.

13. Create a daily mystery. Begin class by zooming in to a location and asking “Where are we today?” Students are allowed to ask Yes/No questions to help them figure out the location.

14. Create a virtual biography by taking a virtual field trip to locations that were important in the life of the subject.

15. Create a virtual autobiography by zooming in to important locations in the life of a student (where he/she was born, memorable trips, family member locations, etc.).

If you are new to Google Earth, this tip sheet is a helpful reference when exploring the tool’s features:

Tip Sheet

These Google Earth in the Classroom Summary and Idea Sheets are also helpful for beginners:

Summary and Idea Sheet #1

Summary and Idea Sheet #2

How do you creatively use Google Earth in your classroom?  Share your tips with us in the comments below!