Teaching Geoscience Concepts with Google Earth

Julia Baldwin
University of Montana
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  1. 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 https://serc.carleton.edu/teachearth/activity_review.html.

  2. 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 http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Jul 14, 2008


This is an activity that was developed for a teacher development program to introduce the various ways Google Earth could be used to explore geoscience concepts.

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Geoscience course for pre-service and inservice K-8 teachers.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Basic computer skills. Basic familiarity with Google Earth.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

  • Learning how Google Earth can be used to explore Geoscience concepts.
  • Earthquakes and seismology
  • Volcanic Landforms
  • Glacial geomorphology

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

analysis of datasets, formulating hypotheses, using computer visualizations

Other skills goals for this activity

computer and software skills.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is an introduction to Google Earth that was developed for a K-8 Geoscience teacher development workshop. Students must first download and install Google Earth (GE). They then explore three different geoscience topics including earthquakes, volcanoes, and glacial landforms.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students must complete a worksheet showing that they have completed the various tasks.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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