Teach the Earth > Sedimentary Geology > Sedimentology, Geomorphology, and Paleontology 2014 > Teaching Activities > Exploring Barrier Islands in Google Earth

Exploring Barrier Islands in Google Earth

Elana Leithold, North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Author Profile

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

This page first made public: Jun 12, 2014


This is an exploration in Google Earth of the links between barrier island morphology and wave and tidal energy.



This exercise can be part of a laboratory activity or homework assignment in an upper level undergraduate course in Sedimentology or Marine Geology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should be able to use Google Earth.

How the activity is situated in the course

I have used this as a stand-alone exercise as a part of discussion of depositional sedimentar environments.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goal of this exercise to show that waves and tides influence barrier island morphology.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students analyze images of barrier islands in Google Earth and formulate hypotheses about the relative influence of waves and tides in particular locations based on a previous proposed conceptual model. They then analyze real data and evaluate their predictions.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students should be able to use Google Earth. The activity may be done in small groups.

Description and Teaching Materials

This is a computer based exercise. Students will use Google Earth as well as data downloaded from the NOAA website.
Exploring Barrier Islands in Google Earth (Microsoft Word 177kB Jun12 14)

Teaching Notes and Tips


References and Resources

New TTE Logo Small

Sedimentary Geology resources from across Teach the Earth »

Sedimentary Geology resources from Teach the Earth include:

Specialized collections including

or search