Google Earth Lessons

Using Google Earth in the classroom

Teaching ideas, guides, downloadable files and links to other resources can all be found at Juicy Geography's Google Earth blog. This page is regularly updated, and features original lesson plans and resources, suitable for KS3, KS4 and K12, that have all been thoroughly tested in the classroom. The lessons include:

“Stonehenge Management”
This lesson is designed to demonstrate the potential of Google Earth as a real world decision making tool. Flickr images and video, and an Ordnance Survey map are used to help create a management plan for Stonehenge. Students use the free tools in Google Earth to produce the outcome. Web page.

“Visualizing a Safer City”
Safer city
This task promotes spatial thinking and utilizes Google Earth as a simple GIS. This lesson idea is easy to implement and only requires the free version of Google Earth. There’s just one file to download and off you go! The task is designed for small groups. Students use a variety of spatial data in the form of overlay maps to make decisions about seismic hazards and new buildings in San Francisco. It’s been tested in the classroom with a group of 12/13 year olds but would be suitable for older students as well. The supporting page contains links to a full set of placemarks and overlays, many of which were originally created for this exercise. There is also a video tutorial. Note that the USGS has just published a superb web site with many useful Google Earth files that can easily be incorporated into this exercise. The network link for curent earthquakes, referred to in the teaching notes is no longer part of the download file as it was causing problems for some users. This very useful link can be obtained here.

“Sea level rise on the Gold Coast”
gold coast lesson
Students create maps of sea-level change and assess the likely impact on the Gold Coast. Web page

“His Dark Materials”
This lesson idea combines the study of the classic modern children’s book Northern Lights with an investigation in Google Earth, as students find out about an extreme, and fascinating land.
(Note to readers from the USA: the book is published as The Golden Compass.)

“The Diamond Trade”
The file uses images from the series ‘Diamond Matters’ by the photojournalist Kadir Van Lohuizen. A selection of the images have been incorporated into placemarks, categorized into different types of employment and geo-located as accurately as possible. By clicking through the placemarks in turn, the journey of diamonds from source to final point of sale can be traced. The file and a number of ideas for teaching this topic may be found here.

“Montserrat Crisis Management”
Google Earth is NOT essential, but very useful. The lesson is a role-play about events on Montserrat and is designed for students working in groups of three. There are a large number of supporting files including Power Points, maps, worksheet, Google Earth files, a video introduction and some footage from an actual lesson. The lesson is designed to offer a full VAK experience and is extremely adaptable. Several teachers have used this in Ofsted lessons! Go here for the supporting web page.

“Locating a wind farm”
Wind farm
Part one was designed to highlight a couple of uses of ICT to enhance decision-making lessons. Although it was never intended to be contentious, some provocative comments have been added to the discussion page! Part two suggests that students can make use of a wide variety of accessible online data to choose a site for a wind farm. The task includes suggested locations in high resolution detail and a 3D model that can be used to build a virtual wind farm.

“Jurrasic Coast”
This is a simple Google Earth file illustrating some classic coastal landforms. The file containing a geology map, photos and placemarks to help when using this location in a place study context. It has proven very popular.

“Exeter’s CBD”
Not a worked up lesson, however this project illustrates how it is possible to use several features of Google Earth to present fieldwork. Several locations were filmed, the locations marked using a GPS and the drawing and overlay tools used to bring in more information. There are two versions, a faster and more efficient YouTube example and a much slower but less filtered Teacher Tube one. More details on the blog post.
Download Exter’s CBD (YouTube)
Download Exeter’s CBD (TeacherTube)