My Virtual Field Trip using Google Earth is an ongoing project. The purpose of using Google Earth for this trip is to give third grade students in my class the opportunity to learn about the geography and cultures in various countries of the world. Google Earth provides a way to integrate technology into lessons and expose young students to the use of a new tool.
The third grade reading anthologies used by our district have many stories from places around the world. This is an ideal scenario for using Google Earth with the students.
Instructional 3rd Grade PA Standards:
7.1.3.A.: Identify how basic geographic tools are used to organize and interpret information about people, places, and environment.
7.1.3.B.: Identify and locate places and regions as defined by physical and human features.
1.9.3.A.: Use media and technology resources for directed and independent learning activities.
1.9.3.B.: Understand media as a source of information and entertainment.
Students will integrate the discipline of reading with geography and technology.
Students will learn to use Google Earth and understand its relevance while learning about new places around the world.
Students will develop a respect and appreciation for different cultures around the world.
The trip begins in the town of the students’ school. An image of a bus is located in front of the school. As students read stories from various countries and cultures, Google Earth can develop additional geographical, historical, and wildlife information, points of interest, and an appreciation of these places. Videos, video segments, links to related websites, and assignments are included in the tours. The assignments address inventions from other countries, language barriers, immigration, and appreciation of other cultures.
The first trip is to China, land of the story The Mulan Legend. In China the students will visit Beijing, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, a free market, and the Giant Panda Sanctuary.
The second trip is to Russia, home of the grandparents of the author Patricia Polacco who wrote The Keeping Quilt. Here students will be introduced to Catherine the Great and explore her palace. Photographs of Siberian tigers and Russian nesting dolls can be seen here.
The next trip will bring students back to the United States to El Barrio which is Spanish Harlem in New York City where the story Grandma’s Records takes place. Then story was written by Eric Velasquez who is a son of Afro-Puerto Rican parents. In the near future would like to create a trip on Google Earth to Puerto Rico and expose the students to the music there.
After reading The Talking Cloth by Rhonda Mitchell, students will travel to Ghana. Here students will watch a video about life in Ghana and complete an assignment about the interests of Ghana. At http://www.eduplace.com/kids/hmr/mtai/mitchell.html Rhonda Mitchell exposes students to cultural art. This site will be included at a later date.
The last trip of the year has not been created, yet. The trip will continue to New Mexico where the story Dancing Rainbows by Evelyn Clarke Mott takes place. The life of some Native Americans will be visited here.
Howard Gardner states “The task for educators becomes clear: if we are to fashion persons who respect differences, we need to provide models and offer lessons that encourage a sympathetic stance. Models set by teachers constitute a crucial starting point.” (p. 110, Gardner) I feel that this Google Earth project for third graders provides an excellent opportunity to model positive connections and appreciation for all cultures and for the students to begin to develop their awareness and appreciation of the likenesses and differences of various cultures.
Gardner, Howard. Five Minds for the Future. Boston, Massachusetts. Harvard Business School Press. 2007. Print.
Here is my Third Grade Virtual Field Trip: A Tour of 3rd Grade Reading