Thursday, October 6, 2011

Google Earth Landforms

My fifth grade teachers have all hit the geography lesson that deals with learning the names and differences of landforms.  This can actually be somewhat challenging.  Can you tell the difference between a mesa, a plateau, and a butte? And did you know that there IS a difference between a marsh and a swamp? 

So for the last few weeks, we've been having some fun in the library with this learning target.  The challenge for me is that I get to try to help my teachers teach the content within their own teaching style.  One of my teachers is very into collaborative learning and is very good at it.  He runs screaming from any project that is too boilerplate.  Another one of my teachers is great at getting an amazing product from her kids that they can feel proud of.  

But they all were interested in using Google Earth to enhance their lesson. 

So I've created three different lessons that deal with landforms on Google Earth as well as some tech coaching on how to use it.  The lessons are available on my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I had fun creating original icons for each landform to go along with the landform's definition, some of which are above. 

My favorite part was attempting to help 5th graders through the multi-step process of sharing their own placemark on Google Earth.  I already know that kids do NOT read multi-step help manual sheets.  So I tried something creative. I chopped the steps up into separate cards and joined them together on a binder ring.  This way, the students could focus on one step at a time and not get lost in the full process. 

The collaborative lesson was really fun!  I started by giving each team of five a different placemark in the world.  I tried to make them fun places that they may not have seen before like Angel Falls in South America or Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.  They then had to placemark all of the landforms they saw around that location.  They were excited enough about their findings to actually go through the six step process that they needed to go through in order to share their placemark.

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