Sunday, September 11, 2011

Google Earth -- Great Classroom Tool -- Make some PLACEMARKS today!

How to use Google Earth in the Classroom

Christopher Columbus set off
from the Port City of Palos in Spain
and your students can follow his
journey in this lesson that will help
you get used to using placemarks.
I love, love, love using Google Earth with students and I want to encourage YOU to do the same.  It's a lot easier and more manageable than you might think to make your own .kmz placemark file or to find one that has already been created.  One of my favorite lessons is available for free from my Web store at

These are part of the Placemarks that are included in my following the voyage of Christopher Columbus curriculum unit. To download FOR FREE, please go to my Web store!

Looking for KMZ Files.  A .kmz file is a downloadable file that contains place marks for Google Earth.  While they are easy to create, you can also find already created ones online.  Use the terms .kmz or "google earth" along with the subject you would like to find in a search engine. 

Other places to check: – A lot of teachers are helping to make lit trips for the books that they teach.  I did see that Watsons Go to Birmingham has one as well as My Brother Sam is Dead.

Working with KMZ files.  If you click on a kmz file, Google Earth should automatically load.  The placemarks will be located in the PLACES window on the left side of the screen.  It will be located in the TEMPORARY PLACES folder.  You will need to remember to use the plus sign to reveal the information contained in a folder.  You navigate to the places on the Earth by clicking on the place marks in the folder.

If you close Google Earth, you will be asked if you want to save the place marks that are in temporary places to your MY PLACES folder, which is also in the PLACES window.

Note, you can upload a kmz file to a Web page or a Moodle so that students can use them individually on a computer.


First, you will want to make a new folder in your MY PLACES folder.  Right click on my places and choose "Add a new folder" from the drop down menu.  You will eventually drag all of your place marks into this folder. 

Then use the search box which is at the top left of the screen to find a location that you want to put a place mark on.   Use the navigation tools at the top of the screen to zero in on the exact location that you want to put a placemark on. 

Then, you need to click on the yellow PLACEMARK ICON which is at the top of your globe’s screen.   A placemark will be attached to the globe at the center of your screen and a window will pop open that will allow you to name your placemark and add a DESCRIPTION of the location.  This description will be seen in a white “call out” box on the screen. 

Note also that your placemark has been put into your MY PLACES folder in the places section on the left.  You will have to drag it into your folder at some point. 

It’s important to note that you can only move the placemark around while the window is open.  Once you click the OK button, the placemark is locked down and the only way to fix it is to go over to the Places window and right click on the placemark.  This will allow you to select “Properties” from the drop down menu which will bring the window back up again.


Right click on the folder of Placemarks and select “Save Place As”.  This will bring up a dialog box that will allow you to save your placemark file in a location on your computer. 
How to add a photo or a video in the little “call out” window. 

This involves knowing the HTML code to embed a picture:

<IMG SRC=”put-the-image-location-here.gif”>

You can find the image location by right-clicking on an image and selecting “properties.

Or you can put any HTML code for embedding videos in as well.

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