Teachers’ Lounge

Tools & Technology: Lessons involving Google Earth

by megan on Oct. 19th, 2009 4 Comments

Google Earth GlobeWant to integrate novel technology into your classroom? At no charge?

The Education Division has partnered with Google Earth on several initiatives, and we encourage teachers to check out the wealth of ready-made educational maps produced for the classroom.
We’ve also made a few ourselves!

Check out these two lessons:

Google Earth Geology Field Trip (2-7)

What types of rocks are found in California? How were they formed, and how do people use them in everyday life? Fly from the coast to the Sierras and back, exploring the unique geology of the state!
Limestone Descriptive Bubble

Green Buildings Virtual Tour (3-8)

What are some characteristics that make a building “green”? Where do we find exemplary buildings, and how can we view their 3D structure using Google-developed graphics?
Food Co-op 3D Building
Steps to get things started:

1. Download Google Earth for FREE. Just click “Agree and Download.”
(The Google Chrome browser is optional — if you don’t want to try it out, just uncheck this box before your download.)
2. Go make a snack while the program installs. If you experience errors, Google has a wonderful Help section.
3. When you download the “Google Earth Tours” from our lessons plans (files with extension .kmz), they should launch automatically in Google Earth.
4. Familiarize yourself with the control panel at left, and the tools in the upper right which zoom in and out, adjust the angle of view, etc. The best way to learn how to use the software is to play around!

If you have a favorite resource that integrates Google Earth (or if you’ve produced you own), be sure to share it with us!

4 Comments So Far

  1. Anne Miller on Nov. 17th, 2009 at 6:23 AM

    I would like to know what type of activities you have available for 9th grade Earth Science?

  2. megan on Nov. 17th, 2009 at 11:30 AM

    Hey Anne,

    Thanks for the question!

    Our popular Carbon Cycle Demonstration is perfect for your Biogeochemical strand. Most of our lessons appropriate for 9th grade Earth Science deal with climate change, so narrow your search by selecting the exhibit “Altered State: Climate Change in California.”

    For your astronomy strands, you’ll find tons of educational resources at NASA’s mainsite, JPL’s Night Sky Network, and the local Astronomical Society of the Pacific:

    As for the 9th grade California Geology strand, which deals more with natural hazards, check out the hazard maps here: http://education.usgs.gov/california/high_school_earth_science.htm


  3. Nechia Miller on Feb. 1st, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    I am a high school physical education instructor with a lot of trails around our school. Can you help me come up with ways to use google earth/ pedomiter for my classes.

  4. megan on Feb. 5th, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Hey Nechia,

    Do you have a GPS receiver or two, or do your students have GPS-enabled cell phones? If you want to make an accurate map of a trail, the easiest way to make placemarks is with the latitude/longitude readings from the receiver. Of course, you can eyeball it, too.

    Here is the tutorial for making placemarks: http://earth.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=guide.cs&guide=22364&topic=22367&answer=148142

    If students bring a notebook to draw maps/take notes, a camera to take photos, and a GPS receiver to grab lat/longs, you could create your own Google Earth map with information bubbles along the way at key points. Of course, any hiker wants to know how far it is between markers. So, after plotting the trail, have students measure distances using their own stride and the pedometer. Start by having students measure how many steps they take in 50 meters to determine their natural stride (e.g., if I took 75 steps to walk the 50 meter line, my stride measures 1.5 steps/meter.) You can certainly use English units, and just pre-measure a line in the playground, blacktop, sidewalk Perhaps you have a sideline on a sports field.

    Then, instruct students to walk along the trail, noting the readings on their pedometer between points and recording these in their notebooks. Although differences in elevation and obstacles on the trail will very the stride, it’ll still work as an approximation. Students can then compute distances in meters between all the trail markers. If my stride is 1.5 steps per 1 meter, and it took me 1,200 steps to walk from point A and point B, the distance between these points is 800 meters. (You’ll need to do some simple algebra: 1.5 steps/1 meter = 1,200 steps/ X meters. X=800). For better accuracy, have students groups average out their values!

    Anyways, this is just one idea. Let me know if you have questions!


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