Outdoor Kids in an Inside World is a good book in which Steven Rinella presents a lot of ideas for getting kids interested and involved in learning about nature. In the first chapter he presents a big list of ideas for things that you can do to spark kids’ curiosity before you even head outside. As I was reading through those ideas it struck me that many could be done or be aided by the use of Google Earth.
Inspired by Steven Rinella’s Outdoor Kids in an Inside World, here are five Google Earth activities that you can do to get kids interested in learning about the world around them.
- Trace a drop of rain from your house to the nearest stream, river, lake, or ocean.
- How many total feet or meters of elevation change would you cross to walk from your school to the highest point in your state, province, or country.
- Create a tour of the five most interesting geological features in your state, province, or country. Let students decide what qualifies as “interesting.”
- Use the historical imagery in Google Earth to view changes in shoreline over the last fifty years. Have students create a list of the factors that contributed to those changes.
- Take a walk outside and look for bird nests. Record their locations in a Google Earth file. Repeat the process the following year with another group of students and see if the bird nests are in the same places.