This week is Geography Awareness Week. As a former social studies teacher, I love this week. As a current computer science teacher, I still love this week. Geography is for everyone, not just social studies teachers.
Here’s a selection of some of my favorite geography tools. Some of these can be used for storytelling, some for making comparisons between two or more images, and some are just to have fun while expanding your knowledge of the world.
Google Earth Tours, Games, and Overlays
In the Practical Ed Tech Handbook I outlined ten ways to use Google Earth across content areas. Students can use Google Earth for “lucky dipping” around the globe and learning about interesting places. The browser-based version of Google Earth also has some thematically arranged tours including some tours about math. Speaking of tours, Google Lit Trips is the place to go to find a model of how to use Google Earth in a language arts setting.
The measuring tools in Google Earth are great for elementary school math lessons like those in Tom Barrett’s Maths Maps. And if you grew up playing Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego? you can now introduce your kids to the game in the web version of Google Earth, here’s how.
One of my favorite features of the desktop version of Google Earth is the ability to overlay historic imagery on top of current imagery. This is a great way for history and geography students to see how a place has changed over time. This video shows you how to do that.
Comparea.org offers a simple way to compare the size of countries, states, provinces, and cities. To make a comparison just choose two places from the drop-down menus on the right hand side of the screen. Along with the visuals your students can find links to World Factbook and Wikipedia entries about their chosen places.
JuxtaposeJS is a free tool for making and hosting side-by-side comparisons of images. The tool was designed to help people see before and after views of a location, a building, a person, or anything else that changes appearance over time. JuxtaposeJS will let you put the images into a slider frame that you can embed into a webpage where viewers can use the slider to reveal more or less of one of the images. JuxtaposeJS can be a great little tool for students to use to create comparisons of a place before and after a weather event. For example, a comparison of a beach before and after a major storm. Or students could use it to make comparisons of how a famous building like Fenway Park has been remodeled.
Geography Trivia and Clue Games
WikiWhere is a neat map-based trivia game. The goal of the game is to identify cities based on their descriptions. The descriptions come from Wikipedia entries. You can get up to three clues before you have to answer by clicking on the map to identify the city that you think is described by the excerpts. When you click on the map you’ll be shown the correct answer and how far away you were from the correct answer.
City-Guesser is a challenging map-based game. The game shows you a section of a map centered over a city. The labels are removed from the map so you have to guess the city’s name based on other clues like bodies of water and orientation. City-Guesser gives you four answer choices to choose from. If you choose correctly, you move to the next level. If you choose incorrectly, the game is over and you have to start again from the beginning.
Professional Development Opportunities
Tomorrow at 4pm ET I’m hosting a webinar all about using formative assessment in online and hybrid classrooms. Learn more and register here! I hope to see you there!
And on Thursday I’ll co-host Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions & Share Cool Stuff.