Oct 24, 2012

Journey of a Lifetime – Take a Virtual Tour Around the World Using Google Earth and the SMART Board

Using their own passport, every Monday afternoon, 5th grade students at Glenn Elementary are boarding on the SMARTBoard, flight #2012 to take  a virtual tour around the world. Over the summer, Mrs. Denise Holmes, 5th grade teacher at Glenn,  participated in Digital Mania as an instructor and as a participant. She created this lesson plan putting together CMS, SMART Notebook, Discovery Education, and Google Earth. Using the laptop cart, her students are flying around the world without getting any jet lag!  The following success story was writen by Mrs. Denise Holmes...


The student’s in Mrs. Holmes’ fifth grade classroom at Glenn Elementary are going on the journey of a life time right from their own desks!  Every Monday afternoon a card is drawn identifying an important landform, country or historic site through out the world.  After we identify our destination on a large world map we prepare to depart.  The students get their passport, which also serves as their trip log, and after watching a flight safety video, take off on the first leg of their journey.  We begin by flying to the location through Google Earth.
Upon arrival at their destination they are to record the current time, latitude, longitude and elevation.  They turn on a number of options in layers and begin touring the area.  They record the geography of the location, paying attention to population density, areas of agriculture and routes of transportation.  The students enjoy going to ground level and have found that sometimes they can enter buildings or monuments.  They are able to look at photos that other visitors have posted.  They can mark their visit and have the location saved to their places menu.
After spending sometime exploring the site and recording the information in their log they exit Google Earth and log in to www.wunderground.com .  This site allows them to visit locations around the world through the eyes of live webcams.  They are able to discover the current weather conditions and learn about time zones, (often it’s night time).  The webcams provide a look back at the images for a period of a month and view video through time lapse photography.  Wunderground provides them with a “right now” glimpse of life in the specific location.
Our last stop is in Discovery Education.  By opening the Discovery Atlas Interactive Map students can select a location and fly to it, similar to Google Earth.  Each location provides a number of short videos related to the areas of culture, government, history and the natural world.  Viewing the videos deepens the students’ understanding of the lives and history of the people living there.
More information on the Google Earth – Journey of a Lifetime can be obtained by contacting Denise Holmes at holmesdc@unit5.org or Rita Gyires at gyiresrk@unit5.org.

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