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Curriculum Ideas: Google Earth (3)

Latitude and Longitude Game (Ontario – Grade 6)

Ontario Curriculum Expectations:
Social Studies: 6z46

Google Earth
Computer Projector

Students are given latitude and longitude of a major city and are asked to find it using Google Earth, in order to gain a better perspective of latitude and longitude.

1. Teacher pre-selects a diverse range of cities from across the globe and collects latitude and longitude information through placemarks. (You might try this set of network links to get you started)

2. Students are grouped in teams and asked to go into full screen mode in Google Earth by selecting F11 and turn on the Lat/Lon grid by selecting Ctrl+L.

3. Teacher displays the placemark of a major city at approximately 60 mi eye altitude in full screen mode, without giving away the city name.

4. The groups always start in the default view of Google Earth and race to find the location of the city by using the latitude and longitude measurements, and then zoom out to try and identify the name of the city.

Reflective discussion should occur around what directions they moved the globe in Google Earth in order to find a particular latitude and longitude. Through discussions and synthesis you should be able to come up with a few rules with your students regarding the hemispheres relationship to latitude and longitude.


This game could be used as an introductory activity.

Similar Examples:

Latitude with Attitude Game

Curriculum Ideas: Google Earth (2)

Three-Dimensional Structures (Ontario – Grade 6)

Ontario Curriculum Expectations:

Mathematics: 6m44, 6m50, 6m51


  1. Google Earth
  2. Google SketchUp
  3. Google SketchUp 3D Warehouse


Students build three-dimensional models of famous buildings using different views of that building (i.e., top, side, front).


1. Teacher pre-selects a diverse variety of famous 3-d structures from the Google SketchUp 3D Warehouse, based on simplistic designs and makes a list available to students.

2. Students work in groups on their favourite or most interesting structure to gather visual research on what the building looks like. They might examine different images that they have found online or in books, and the views available in Google Earth. Students try to identify different faces of the buildings and perspectives.

3. Students then break done the pictures into the basic three-dimensional shapes of the images and do a rough sketch of what the building might look like.

4. Students work independently to create the outline of the 3-dimensional building by replicating the different views of the building. They might even create other buildings based on the visual research done by other groups of students.

5. The resulting three-dimensional building is placed into Google Earth where the actual building exists.

6. A teacher guided discussion on the faces and the actual three-dimensional buildings would complete the main part of the activity.

7. Students could then take a look at the same three-dimensional buildings that other people have created in the Google SketchUp Warehouse to enhance the closing discussion.


This activity could be used as assessment activity or a final project for the Geometry and Spatial Sense strand.

Similar Examples:

Maths in Las Vegas (Asks students to identify 3-d shapes from buildings)

Curriculum Ideas: Google Earth

A quick idea around Using Google Earth:

North American Explorers (Ontario – Grade 6)

Ontario Curriculum Expectations:
6z7, 6z16, 6z17


  1. Google Earth
  2. Online Research and Information Literacy Skills
  3. Wiki or Collaborative Document(optional)

Students create presentations of the routes that Viking, French and English explorers had taken to North America and explain the reason for their journeys.


1. Divide the class into groups around one of either a Viking, French or English explorer that has been selected.

2. Students collaborate bringing together the online research that they gather using a wiki. This includes information, images, videos or files that support the students' point-of-view. Teacher looks at appropriateness of the data, ensures correct referencing and information acuity before moving on to next stage.

3. Students synthesize the information into specific locations in order to include them into placemarks.

4. Students transfer the data into location placemarks, which develop tours within Google Earth. Placemark locations should relate specifically to the information that is contained in the placemark.

5. Groups present their tours to the class or record in order to share with a wider audience for feedback.


This activity could be used as an introductory knowledge building activity or something assessed through a rubric.


Explorer Movies in Google Earth

Polar Science 2006

I am passing this opportunity along to participate in Polar Science This project was last year’s winner of the Edublog Awards “Best example/case study of use of weblogs within teaching and learning.” Please pass this opportunity to interested educators.

Educators: Use internet communication and collaboration tools that help engage students in learning through this unique experience.

Administrators: Teachers are supported through experienced project leaders, who are able to help educators through any challenges they may face.

IT Geeks: Encourage your staff to participate in the read/write web, and watch communication and collaboration grow in your schools.

YES I Can! Science has now opened registration for what is promising to be a fantastic learning experience for students – *Polar Science 2006*.

Building on the tremendous success of last year’s project with York University scientist Dr. Thomas Hawke, we are following Dr. Shane Kanatous from Colorado State University on a scientific expedition to Antarctica. From October to December, 2006, Dr. Kanatous and his team will be investigating the adaptations that allow young Weddell seals to develop into elite divers. Studying these adaptations may have tremendous implications for human medicine. By understanding how another mammal has successfully overcome the debilitating effects of working under low oxygen conditions, scientists may be able to learn new therapeutic approaches to assist humans with heart or lung disease.

Students from grades 4-12 will have the opportunity to read the expedition team’s weekly updates, conduct their own experiments and research, and communicate with the scientists through the Polar Science web site.

We are very excited about the upcoming expedition. This year we have added something new to the project; an /Ice Team/ and a /Lab Team/. The /Ice Team/ led by Dr. Kanatous will be performing the field research, analysis and collecting samples from the Weddell seals in Antarctica.

The /Lab Team/, led by Dr. Thomas Hawke will be performing experiments and analyzing samples in his lab at York University in Toronto. The Teams will be in constant communication via email and web logs (that you will get to look in on!). This is a great opportunity to see how research is conducted and students will get the chance to see discoveries made in real-time!

For complete information about the project and to register your class visit: .

(As with all YES I Can! Science project, there is no cost to take part.)

Geocaching for Educators on the Wiki

I continue to update the wiki and have added the wiki rss feeds to the home page to illustrate new and recently updated pages, as well as blog posts linking back to the wiki.

I spent some time developing the "Geocaching for Educators" section with lots of great resources and starting points. Here are ten ideas for using geocaching with your class:

  1. Use Travel Bugs to track
    an items movement from place to place, including any stories that are
    picked up along the way. (Free alternative to Travel Bugs are Travel Tags
  2. Create a multi-cache that includes information about the local
    history of an area. Students learn by doing. (An example might be,
    tracing tha path of a famous person in history at a local landmark)
  3. Create a multi-cache that explores cultural connections of the local area.
  4. Create a cache that explores issues in environemental education. (The Evil Green Menace!)
  5. Create a cache that explores health issues. (Heart to Heart)
  6. Create caches that explore numeracy. (User: Geometry)
  7. Participate in projects that help students collaborate with others around the world. (An example might be the Degree Confluence Project)
  8. Participate in a "Cache In, Trash Out" environmental education day.
  9. Create a geocaching club at school.
  10. Use virtual caches to avoid planting too many caches for you
    students. Get students to keep a log book and answer questions about
    locations they have visited.

Be sure to visit the wiki , as it continues to grow.

Applying the 4 Steps of Problem Solving to Information Literacy

I wanted to take something that educators in Ontario are already familiar with and apply them to information literacy. Something that really stood out was George Polya’s four-step Problem Solving model which appears in the Ontario Curriculum Grades 1-8 Mathematics. This post like the previous one needs to be developed a little more. (One day when I get more time to write or someone decides to pay me to do it :)

The Steps are:

Understand the Problem
* reread and restate the problem
* identify the information given and the information that needs to be determined

Make a Plan
* relate the problem to similar problems solved in the past
* consider possible strategies
* select a strategy or a combination of strategies

Carry Out the Plan
* execute the chosen strategy
* do the necessary calculations
* monitor success
* revise or apply different strategies as necessary

Look Back at the Solution
* check the reasonableness of the answer
* review the method used: Did it make sense? Is there a better way to approach the problem?
* consider extensions or variations

The steps for problem solving match the steps for researching web resources rather well. When students search the internet for information they need to ask critical questions and relections that help to access and evaluate the authenticity of the information. This type of learning can be built upon the problem solving model with a few tweaks, and be a useful tool for students to use forever.

Understand the Problem
* what is the problem that needs to be solved through the internet search?
* what are the key words that relate specifically to the problem?
* what is the information that I need and what information is not necessary?

Make a Plan
* where have you found similar information in the past, where might this information be located?
* what are the possible tools that you can use to get this information?
* what strategy or a combination of strategies will help you to filter the results?

Carry Out the Plan
* execute strategies, organize and summarize results
* decide on the relevance of the information
* think about bias of the information
* revise or apply different strategies as necessary in order to obtain useful in formation

Look Back at the Solution
* check the reasonableness of the information collected
* review the process used in order to obtain the information – was it useful? would you use it again?
* consider extensions or variations of strategies for other situations

Expedition Everest

I took another look at great project that came out of the Ottawa-Carleton
District School Board and Telecom Ottawa, called Expedition Everest. The event took place over the early part of last year, where Ben Webster and Shaunna Burka climbed Mt. Everest. Students met with the climbers through video logs, audio clips and through internet chats. Teachers met for a week at Algonquin College developing the curriculum around the Everest summit attempt. Students used Blackboard to collaborate asynchronously with each other, as well as synchronously through videoconferencing.

If you haven’t stopped by the event website I encourage you to take a look at the archived audio, video and chat transcripts.
Expedition Everest – The Climb of a Lifetime | OCDSB

Comic Creators

I have been playing around with some comic creator tools that help people like (I can’t draw very well) create great looking comics. I know that there are some teachers that would love to use these tools to show how this medium can convey a message differently than other forms of writing.

I have been playing around with and the Read-Write-Think Comic Creator. The problem with Gnomz is that the content there can be a little on the provactive side, so I would watch out with elementary students.

Heres my gnomz comic:


I will post a few more comics over the next few weeks.

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