Explore the world with Google Earth and Google Maps
Google Maps offers images of movable maps and routes between different points. It allows the user to type in an address, an intersection or a more general area to look for and obtain instructions for getting to a certain place. In its more collaborative facet it allows you to navigate freely around any place on Earth and to paste different types of information (topographic, demographic, historical and cultural, among others) on it using texts and images. Added to all this, the complement Google Earth makes it possible to visualize 3D, satellite or relief images, do GPS tracking or even explore the oceans.Using these tools the pupils contextualize different types of knowledge, at the same time as they become familiar with an easy to use visual tool which also encourages collaborative work. The proof can be seen in the use they have made of them in different eTwinning projects:
Google Maps can be useful for presenting cities to the European partners in a visually attractive way, like in the project No frontiers!, which proposes a mathematical gymkhana.
In the project An ET (winning Project) between us, a collaborative map has been drawn up with images of the sites of Roman and Neoclassical monuments in Europe.
In European Cities: past and present the participating Spanish pupils teach their partners how to get to Madrid using Google Earth.
In the project 4 countries, 4 maths, we also find an activity- Green areas in our cities – in which, with the help of Google Maps, the pupils have calculated the green areas in their cities.
The pupils in the project The diary of Syrius’ travels have used Google Earth to help the caterpillar Syrius, who travels all over Europe with his GPS, to find the coordinates and locate the places which he hasn’t visited yet.
In Getting Closer the Spanish and Finnish pupils, divided into mixed nationality groups, had to meet the members of their same team, using different routes from their home town to that of their partner. Each route, traced in Google Earth, was made up of 30 places which they reached as they gained points from games played with this objective in mind. And on the way the children wrote a travel log.
In the activity The traveller’s problem in the Maths and Earth project the pupils have investigated the quickest route for a fictitious traveller to reach a certain place, calculating the points and the distances.
These and other examples show that these tools, initially conceived as geographical information systems, can be suitably applied to teaching Geography, History, Mathematics, Language, etc. It is a good way to motivate the pupils and facilitate the contextualization and visualization of contents.
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