Friday, January 8, 2016

Explore with Google My Maps

          I discovered a feature of Google today that I can't wait to try out with my students. It is called Google My Maps. Google My Maps can be used across the curriculum. With the sharing feature of Google, students can work together. While I know that Google Earth takes you down to street view and gives the student a wonderful view of places that they may never see; I feel that this is a safe alternative and you don't have to worry about the pictures that may have been uploaded to Google Earth.  Google Earth is a great teacher led activity at the elementary level. Google My Maps can easily be a student centered activity.
Here is how to access this feature:


Students can use this feature to take people on a virtual tour of a character's life. This could be used in both fiction and biographies. It could be a like a timeline/diary so to speak. The students can put a pin in a location and then write about what happened to that person during their stay/life at this location. 

It could also be used as a reading incentive: Read around the world - Pick a picture/chapter book from a different country and then pin the location of the book and write a short summary about the book in the pin. See how long it takes you to read around the world. 

Social Studies: 

Students could explore the different states/countries and use the map as a way to present the information to classmates or to take notes on for the project. 


You could label different types of land forms and body of waters and write about each type in the pin. This helps provide a visual representation for the student. 

Here is a Project Based Learning Activity that you could use with this feature.

Give them several picture/chapter books across the United States, a limited budget, and have them plan a trip that would cover as many states as possible so they can meet the characters. They have to think about what type of car they will be traveling in and how many miles per gallon the car gets. They have to plan out the trip including where they will stop for gas and the order they will visit each location.  At each stop they put the name of the book, short summary, how many miles traveled, money spent and location in the pin.  The only mandate on this project is that they have to make this a round trip. Then after the trip they could also create word problems based on their map for their friends to solve.  You would need to create a rubric that will help guide the students as they work to help them complete their travel journal.  

These are just a few ways to use this feature. I am looking forward to hearing more. Please share in the comments below on how you could use this feature in your setting. 

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