14 Ideas for Google Earth Projects

The Projects feature in Google Earth has great potential for presenting information, by both you and your students, in many different curriculum areas. Here are just a few ideas.

1. Creating a timeline of historical events – Students can create locations for events they are studying in a Google Earth project. They can then add more information, photos (both historical and current), videos, and links to other information. One simple example would be a tour of locations visited by Lewis and Clark on their expedition.

2. Visualize the setting of a literary work on on the globe – Especially for stories that take place in specific locations, building a tour project adds context for students. This kind of tour is often called a Google Lit Trip, a concept created by a middle school English teacher. You can find many examples of Lit Trips on his site.

3. In World Languages, use tour to visualize different terms – What are the Spanish words for street, church, and river? The locations used could be in Google Street View to make learning these terms even more concrete.

4. Illustrate different ecological and political regions – In Virginia, students are expected to know the five physical regions of the state, such as the tidewater region and the Piedmont. You can use the drawing tools in Projects to add lines and regions to the “map” of the state.

5. Do the same with climates, vegetation, and animals – In addition to using the drawing tools to show areas, Students can include images and other information in the locations to further demonstrate their understanding.

6. Where did I come from? – For ESL classes, use a Project to show the home towns and countries of the students, include Street View for many countries. They can also use the information box for locations to practice their English by writing stories about those places.

7. Where am I going? – Counselors could use a Google Earth Project to show where students plan to attend college or to provide information about schools, scholarships, and other post high school opportunities. An ongoing tour could keep track of alumni long after they’ve graduated.

8. Where am I? – Help students learn about their own neighborhood with a tour showing all the important locations. They can even incorporate their own photographs into the information box.

9. Where can I find wifi? – For students without wifi at home, create a Project for the neighborhood showing where they can go to connect outside of school, complete with open and closing times.

10. Calculate distance, area, rate, and time – Using the measurement and directions tools, you can create paths, and then determine how long it will take to travel along them. Use the polygon tools to compare the areas of different countries and regions.

11. Visualize historic events – Use place makers and the drawing tools to build a map for complex events in history. A good example would be a tour showing the division between north and south during the US Civil War, along with markers for the major battles.

12. Artists and musicians – The geography of an area often impacts the local artists. Create Project illustrating where the people being studied worked and include examples of their work in the information box.

13. Map your class activities – Where has our Flat Stanley visited? Who have we done video conferences with? If your class is connecting with the world (or even people in your community or state), you can use a Google Earth Project to keep track of it.

14. Olympic or World Cup locations – In the years when these events take place, help students understand the history and tradition with a Project. The information boxes can be used to illustrate the games and, in the case of the Olympics, keep track of events that come and go.

Got a good idea for using Google Earth Projects? Send it to me. I’ll add it to this list (and give you full credit).