Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Viewing geomorphic landforms with Google Earth

Viewing geomorphic landforms with Google Earth

Amy Brock-Hon
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see

This page first made public: Apr 25, 2008


Geomorphic processes are not limited to the local or regional area around the University and most students have not been outside of the region. With today's technology we are able to see features on the landsurface in locations all over the world. I used a series of placemarks in Google Earth to take students around the globe to observe and discuss geologic processes and landforms.

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This exercise was used in an undergraduate course in geomorphology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Before beginning the activity, students must be familiar with the processes and features that are associated with the types of landforms that are represented with the placemarks.

How the activity is situated in the course

The activity is a stand-alone exercise that can even be used as a review.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The content/goals of the activity are for a student to see these processes in various regions of the world. To use the information that they have received in lecture and apply it to the identification of landforms and discuss the processes that contributed to their development.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

For the assignment, the students are given a series of placemarks in Google Earth. Using Google Earth, the students 'fly' to various areas around the world. They examine the landforms at each placemark and answer questions regarding the formation of these features.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Uses online and/or real-time data
Has minimal/no quantitative component

Determining whether students have met the goals

The answers are graded.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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