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Special Education (PK-12) - Google Earth

Page history last edited by Samantha 7 years, 3 months ago





What is Google Earth?                         

Google earth is a virtual globe that was designed originally for the CIA in 2004.  Google earth allows you to see the earth as it is through satellites positioned in the sky; terrain, maps and 3-D images.  It gives an actual image of a place as if you were present.  Google earth is based on 3D maps that show structures including buildings, bridges and houses in 3 dimensions. Many buildings and structures from around the world now are available in detailed 3D view.  These countries include the US, Canada, Ireland, India, Japan, the UK, Germany, Australia, and Pakistan.  Google Earth also allows you to go back in time and see historical buildings as they once were. 


How Do I get Started?

Google earth has been developed for use as a search engine for every day use. 

Here is some information on how to get started with Google Earth (taken from the Google Earth Help site http://support.google.com)

"View an image of your home, school or any place on Earth- Click Fly To. Enter the location in the input box and click the Search button Search button. In the search results (Places panel), double click the location. Google Earth flies you to this location. 

Tour the world - In the Places panel, open the Sightseeing Tour folder and double click Start tour here

 Get driving directions from one place to another and fly (follow) the route - See Getting Directions and Touring the Route.  

View recent historical imagery for your favorite locations - In the 3D Viewer menu, choose the Clock button Clock button

to enable

Historical Imagery. Then, use the time slider to view interesting placemarks throughout recent history. See Viewing Historical Imagery for more information.


View 3D terrain of a place - This is more fun with hilly or mountainous terrain, such as the Grand Canyon. Go to a location (see number 1). When the view shows the location, use the zoom slider to tilt the terrain. See Using the Navigational Controls and Tilting and Viewing Hilly Terrain for more information. "


Helpful Links-




This link will send you to the main google support page; any and every question you have on Google Earth, you can find here.



This specific website is actually a reference page to anything and everything you need to know about Google Earth, as well as how to use it. On the home page, you will find a list of different categories, and clicking on each of these categories will offer help in the specific area you are looking for.



Google learn actually comes from the Google Earth website, and is another way to learn and get help on any aspect you need help with. It has tutorials varyinig from beginning, to 3D, to advanced.



This link specifically comes from a YouTube channel that focuses on Google Earth videos and tutorials. Other users have posted projects they've done, or help with specific tasks on Google Earth, that walk you through step by step.



Similar to the Google Earth Learn, Google Earth Outreach gives you step by step tutorials in anything and everything you need in order to work with and understand Google Earth.  



How Google Earth Helps Teachers and Students

Google Earth provides a very innovative and applicable way to teach students about the world around them.  It provides them with a way to understand their surroundings in a very real manner due to the 3D aspect of it.  Teachers are able to teach about something such as the Washington D.C. and the capitol, and actually show the students on Google Earth what it actually looks like, where all of the major buildings and monuments are, including the White House itself.  This is specifically good in Special Education because it makes the concepts more concrete when they can actually see and visualize the concepts they are learning about. The Berlin Wall from World War II is no longer some abstract concept.  Seeing its structure and functionality helps the students learn about it.   Google Earth also allows students to identify their surroundings as well as navigate their surroundings.  Google earth is a great tool in that it can help create an active learning environment in the classroom.  Teachers and students can see what they are learning about or teaching and see the place they are trying to navigate to.  It brings learning as well as teaching to life and enhances and sustains student understanding of once abstract concepts. 




Using Google Earth in Teaching


This link provides an explanation of how to use Google Earth in Geography more in depth, as well as explanations as to how to use the several viewing options of the buildings and places in 3D.



This link provides ideas as to how current teachers are using Google Earth in the classroom



This link provides 26 interactive ways to use Google Earth in your classroom as a teacher.



This link provides information as to how to use Google Earth in a specific classroom type, specifically GeoScience.  It also provides interactive activities to do using Google Earth in the classroom. 



This link provides several interactive and engaging lessons using Google Earth to enhance the learning. 












Lesson 1

Colorado Standard:

Content Area: Social Studies
Grade Level Expectations: High School
Standard: 2. Geography


Prepared Graduates: (Click on a Prepared Graduate Competency to View Articulated Expectations)

Objective: Using Google Earth students will identify their state, city, and house. 


Students understanding and identification of their surroundings is a very important concept.  It is a skill that is a building block for many other skills, including navigating your surroundings and reading a map.  This lesson requires students to create an understanding of where they are in the world.  Understanding and identifying where they are and their surroundings it the first step. First the student will find their state within the United States that they live.  This is the bigger section that the students will identify.  They will then learn what a city is, and how cities are located within states.  They will then identify their city within the state on Google Earth.  There is a search bar that allows the student to search the state within the given country, the United States.   Once they have identified their state and city, the student will then locate their house.  Google Earth provides a feature that allows you to type in a specific address or street name to locate a very specific house.  This lesson teaches students about how to understand that they live in a small part of a much bigger world, and being able to identify where they are is key to understanding where other places are, relative to them. This lesson provides a baseline to understanding how a map, and specifically Google Earth can help the student navigate to another place.   




Lesson 2

Colorado Standard:

Content Area: Social Studies
Grade Level Expectations: Middle School
Standard:  1. History

                2. Geography


Objective: Students will be able to learn about, understand, and share information on an explorer(s), as well as be able to create a Google Earth project of their explorer’s travels in groups.


At the beginning of the lesson, they will be shown a map of the world. After students have had a chance to look at it and understand it, introduce them to Lewis and Clark; ask them if they’ve ever heard of it, and have them expand on what they do know. Show students a short video on Lewis and Clark’s voyage, followed by pulling up the Google Earth program to show students visually, each place Lewis and Clark trailed to on their journey. Have the students filling out a KWL chart while introducing the new content, so they can organize and keep track of what they’re learning. After using Lewis and Clark as a starting example, break the class up into small groups, and assign each group an explorer(s) that they can research who their person was, what culture they came from, where they went, etc. After significant research time, the students will create a Google Earth project in each of their groups, marking a trail of where their explorer(s) went. They will present this to the class, and along with the Google Earth presentation, they will be able to share with the class who their explorer was, as well as the cultures surrounding their explorer(s) at the time. They can share this by creating a poster, writing note cards, or any way they come up with to remember what they’ve learned. This lesson will allow students not only to learn about someone new, but also put into perspective how these explorers traveled, and how far as well as how long it took them to get where they were going. Google Earth is a great tool for students to be able to visually see and understand what they’re talking and learning about.




Lesson 3


Colorado Standard:

Content Area: Social Studies
Grade Level Expectations: High School
Standard: 2. Geography


Prepared Graduates: (Click on a Prepared Graduate Competency to View Articulated Expectations)

Objective: Using Google Earth students will find the distance to Disneyland from their house.


This lesson will build on the prior lessons of finding the students house with Google Earth and then finding Disneyland.  The lesson will ideas of how far something really is and give them choice as to how they would choose to travel to their destination. They will find their house and then use the Fly To tool in the application and find the distance from their house to Disneyland.  Each student will decide how they would like to get to Disneyland; drive, walk, bus, car or fly.  Once they have determined the distance and how they will travel, we will discuss each option and decide which will take the longest and which will take the least amount of time.  They can choose two ways to get there and compare the time in which they will get there and how long they will stay.  Each option will allow them to create a time frame of their trip, when they will arrive and when they need to return in the time allotted for their trip.

Each aspect of the lesson is offering the student a choice and offers a higher order of thinking.  Some may say they would walk or ride their bike there, but would see how long it would take them and hopefully help them to understand distance in a more real life situation.



Works cited-





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