Google Earth

external image 240px-Google_Earth.svg.png

What is it?

Google Earth is a virtual globe, map and geographical information program that was originally called EarthViewer 3D, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004. It maps the Earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe. It was available under three different licenses, 2 currently: Google Earth, a free version with limited functionality; Google Earth Plus (discontinued), which included additional features; and Google Earth Pro ($399 per year), which is intended for commercial use.

How can I use Google Earth in Math Education?

Teach math concepts
Project based learning
Exploratory lessons
Cross curricular lessons
Space lessons (utilizing Google Moon, Mars, and Sky)

More specifically:
  • create interactive graphs
  • use spreadsheet data to chart coordinate positions with speed, date, and time
  • measure distance
  • use colour, symbols and images to present information and data
  • make and justify problem solving decisions
  • compute time/distance/rates
  • insert scale models of real buildings created in Google Sketchup
  • estimate area of irregular shapes
  • find volume of geometric solids
  • find surface area of geometric solids
  • use exchange rates to find currency amounts from around the world
  • write and solve proportions
  • intersecting lines and planes
  • explore fractals
  • explore network theory
  • create geometric patterns
  • classify and draw mazes and labyrinths
  • develop deductive and inductive reasoning

What about the Mathematical Processes?

It is clear that by using Google Earth in a math lesson you are integrating Technology into your teaching. Less obvious are ways that you can incorporate other mathematical processes into lessons with Google Earth. Both Problem Solving and Communication can be addressed with Project Based Learning lessons, as students will have to work together to solve a particular problem posed to them (for example, planning and simulating a search and rescue operation). Mental Math and Estimation is used when estimating the area of irregular shapes. By allowing different representations of information and data,Visualization and Connections can be addressed. Many aspects of Reasoning can also be incorporated into Google Earth lessons - proportional reasoning with currency exchange rates; spatial reasoning with 3D buildings and the integration of Google SketchUp; and deductive reasoning by inlaying political maps and having students colour them with 4 colours.

How can Google Earth promote cross-curricular learning?

Google Lit Trips
Underground to Canada

Five reasons to use Google Earth in your class
  1. Many cross curricular applications.
  2. Allows for digital story telling.
  3. Allows for inquiry based learning.
  4. Fun and engaging for students (and teachers!).
  5. It's Free!

The bad and ugly using Google Earth in your class

  1. Requires a fairly powerful computer.
  2. Requires and strong internet connection, consumes a large amount of bandwidth
  3. Can take a long time to load.
  4. Very easy to get off task and become distracted.

Where can you get it?

Google Earth

How can I get Google Earth Pro free as an educator?

Google Earth Pro

Where can I find more resources?

Real World Math

Google Earth Lessons

Tutorial Video

Google Earth Help

Google Earth User Guide

Google Earth for Educators

How Google Earth Works

Adding Overlays in Google Earth

Google Earth Blog

Google Earth Wiki page by Jen Wagner

PDF Files
Adding Images to Google Earth

Create and send a KMZ