Google My Maps – Learning for the Year

I wish I had started this early in the year, but now I have something to try and get teachers to use next year!

Google My Maps (Introduction here) allows you to create your own maps and add content like placemarks, draw lines and shapes, organize with layers, and style the content.

One of our state social studies standards that goes through almost every grade level is constructing maps and charts to display geographic data. My Maps allows students to that easily.

It would be great if students created map that had geographic data for the entire year. They could put placemarks in for each subject and add it to the map to see connections between subjects. Below is a “6th Grade” map that has placemarks from some of our first quarter curriculum maps!


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Geometry Lesson – Shapes in Google Earth

Here is a lesson we will be working on over the next couple of weeks in Math.

It is a Geometry (basic shapes) lesson in Google Earth. We will be classifying shapes and finding their perimeter and area. There are also some bonus questions (geography, etc.).

When I get the worksheet finished I will also post it here.

If you want to download the file to take a look at it, click on Geometry.kmz below. You need to have Google Earth (download here) installed on your computer to view this file.


Geometry.kmz (0.04 mb)

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Google Maps

So what can you do if you don’t have Google Earth (or can’t get it at your school)??

Use Google Maps.

You can search by an address, click and drag around, zoom in… just about everything you can do in Google Earth for viewing. Make sure you click on Satellite or Hybrid in the top right corner of the map.

You can even view placemarks in the Google Earth Community on Google Maps.

Take a Tour of Google Maps.

Here is a view of our school from Google Maps.


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Earth Spelling

Using geoGreeting! you can use the earth to spell messages. It uses buildings from around the world in the shape of letters. It puts a placemark on the map to show you where the “letter” came from. It even makes a webpage that you can link to or send out in email messages so anyone can view what you’ve made.

Here is the link for the picture below:
earth spelling

Want to practice your spelling words for next week?

Unexpected spellings
doubt, fascinate, science, scenic, autumn, column, guilty,
league, guardian, disguise, subtle, debt, reminiscent,
descent, condemn, solemn, guidance, vague, fatigue, intrigue

This week there will not be any bonus words. You can get your three extra points by making a geoGreetings of at least three words. Email it to me, or put the link in a Word File in the class folder (name the file as your name). We’ll talk about this more before computer lab on Thursday.

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Google Earth in the Rain Forest

The Amazon Indians are using GPS devices and Google Earth to help preserve the rain forest. This article shows the incredible things that can be done with free software and how it can effect the world. Also, the Indians are able to create documents and reference material based on the interviews they are doing for the place names that they are mapping. What started as a small project is turning into a multi-age effort to preserve their area and heritage.

“Deep in the most remote jungles of South America, Amazon Indians are using Google Earth, Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping, and other technologies to protect their fast-dwindling home. Tribes in Suriname, Brazil, and Colombia are combining their traditional knowledge of the rainforest with Western technology to conserve forests and maintain ties to their history and cultural traditions, which include profound knowledge of the forest ecosystem and medicinal plants. Helping them is the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), a nonprofit organization working with indigenous people to conserve biodiversity, health, and culture in South American rainforests.”

GPS data gathering on a mapping expedition in the Amazon. Image courtesy of ACT.

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Google Earth, SketchUp, and UnitedStreaming

I have made a few tours using Google Earth, SketchUp 3D drawings downloaded from Google, and some UnitedStreaming videos.

To view these tours you need the latest version of Google Earth.

Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Tour (0.77 mb)
Each placemark has a photo and short description.
Some placemarks have UnitedStreaming video.
Some placemarks have 3D SketchUp Drawings if you have the latest version of Google     Earth.

Washington, D.C. Tour  (1.63 mb)
Placemarks and SketchUp Images of:
Iwo Jima Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument
White House
RFK Stadium
J Edgar Hoover Building
National Gallery of Art

Each Placemark has a photo, links to Wikipedia Articles, each spots website, and some UnitedStreaming videos.


Download – Google Earth
Google SketchUp

You only need Google Earth to view the Tours. You can use Google SketchUp to draw in your own buildings and add them to Google Earth.

I downloaded the SketchUp 3D images from the SketchUp 3D Warehouse.

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Google Earth and SketchUp

All I can say is wow! I talked in class with a couple of you about how the newest version of Google Earth had 3-D capabilities. The program to draw 3-D objects is called SketchUp. Today I really started looking at it. It seems like you could draw just about any building or object, and make whatever you are drawing an exact size easily. I can’t believe that this software is free.

There are also some great SketchUp Tutorial videos.

I’m going to see if we can get Google Earth and SketchUp installed on the laptops and really start using it during homework club. Maybe we could make all of Sine Elementary in SketchUp and share it on the Google Earth Community. I need to go buy some tape measures.

They even have weekly SketchUp Challenges. Go there and check out some pictures of what can be created.

I hope everyone is having a good break. See you on Monday. I think from the things I’ve learned this week we’ll have some changes in class.


Download Google Earth

Download SketchUp 

SketchUp Tutorials

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Google Earth and the Travel/Discovery Channel

If you don’t have Google Earth -> Check this out!

If you do have Google Earth -> Check this out!

It is different “trips” you can take through the Travel Channel and Discovery Channel. If you have Google Earth, you can fly from location to location and watch the video. If you don’t have Google Earth, you can still watch the videos about the different locations. This is pretty empressive!

There are a few short advertisements, but they last less than 30 seconds.

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