TeachersFirst Edge - Geo/Mapping

 

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Open Street Map - OpenStreetMap

Grades
6 to 12
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This open source, collaborative mapping site is known as the "Wikipedia of maps." This easily editable map is up to date as locations change (as they often do). The license ...more
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This open source, collaborative mapping site is known as the "Wikipedia of maps." This easily editable map is up to date as locations change (as they often do). The license just requires you to credit OpenStreetMap, and you can copy, download, and amend the maps without limitation.

tag(s): map skills (79), maps (292)

In the Classroom

Use any part of this map for your school projects. Share the maps on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Copy, download, or alter maps as needed. The license requires crediting OpenStreetMap. Build completely new maps around a specific theme or concept, such as walking, hiking, bicycling, routes for those with disabilities, among others. Create projects traveling through various areas around various themes such as places to eat, sleep, or play. Students create stories about stopping in these places to share with others. If you teach geography, this one's a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. If you teach map skills or teach about how communities grow, be sure to share this map to show how maps can change when a new street or highway is built. If you have a new road in your area, show the difference between this map and older ones that can be found online. Challenge students to compare this map to others.
 

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Sound Around You - University of Salford

Grades
2 to 12
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Listen to soundscapes recorded all over the world. Find a place of interest on the map, listen to the recording, and read the information about the location. Upload your own ...more
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Listen to soundscapes recorded all over the world. Find a place of interest on the map, listen to the recording, and read the information about the location. Upload your own soundscapes using the site or through the iPhone/iPad app.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (128), listening (85), maps (292), senses (32), sound (104), sounds (66)

In the Classroom

Those who teach geography and world cultures will like this! Use this resource to get your students thinking about the sounds around them. Include it when studying sound or the human ear in science class. Connect with other subjects by envisioning smells that would be there or craft a story inspired by the sounds heard at a specific location. Play sounds for your younger students and ask what they hear. Create sound stories together -- or as a creative project --by playing a series of sounds to tell the tale! Use your imagination to add this resource to other location projects used throughout the year. World language teachers could assign students to create a sound and word story about a cultural location. Use these sounds as background and add the dialog!

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Findery - Makes Places Come Alive! - Caterina Fake

Grades
3 to 12
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Findery lets you place notes and images on a virtual map that others can see (if you make it public.) Type in a location to go anywhere in the world. ...more
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Findery lets you place notes and images on a virtual map that others can see (if you make it public.) Type in a location to go anywhere in the world. Google map technology shows that location along with any notes that exist there. Add your own notes and images after registering on the site. Use the regular search bar for other searches of places such as Great Wall and countless other locations. Since the general public can add notes to locations, previewing is a good idea!

tag(s): earth (223), map skills (79), maps (292), virtual field trips (54)

In the Classroom

Use this site anytime you discuss a world location. Search the site to find notes placed by people and images of the actual location. Have your class take pictures and upload your own notes of your school and community. Use this in world language classes to explore other countries and cultures. Going on a field trip? Search Findery to see if there are notes about the location. You may find some interesting information to have in mind before leaving! Upon your return, have students place their own images and write notes for others to view. Create a class account then ask students to find items placed on the maps. Next, have them save as favorites to use with a larger project or to be included as part of a newspaper article about their topic using the Newspaper Clipping Generator.

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WhatWasThere - Enlighten Ventures, LLC

Grades
K to 12
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Search for any place in the world and view images of "what was there" in the past using a Google Maps street view. Find your location on Google Maps, then ...more
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Search for any place in the world and view images of "what was there" in the past using a Google Maps street view. Find your location on Google Maps, then search through the list of available photographs. View the photo details or view in Google Street View (the little orange man). Photo details include date taken, title, description, and copyright information. Roll over the photo for a magnified view. In Street View, you can fade in and out through the photograph. You can upload photos, too. This tool is also available as an iPhone app.

tag(s): communities (40), images (277), local history (15), maps (292), photography (152)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to explore the changes in your local area or elsewhere. Compare medicine, education, nutrition, and more from each of the time periods. Create a campaign to showcase your local area today by cataloguing various neighborhoods with your classes. Write stories about life in each of the historical periods. Research headline news of those days, political figures, and major achievements. In elementary grades, show how towns and cities change over time by projecting the photos and maps as part of your Communities unit. In very early grades, introduce the very idea of history by showing "what was there" at familiar local sites. Have students write stories about what happened there "once upon a time."

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Knoema - Knoema

Grades
9 to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
 
This easy to use site is a large collection of maps and data sets for access by the public. Find maps, data, and charts for almost all countries. Choose from ...more
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This easy to use site is a large collection of maps and data sets for access by the public. Find maps, data, and charts for almost all countries. Choose from data categories that include Per Capita Income, Government Debt, Housing, Energy Consumption, Agricultural Production, and more. Select a data set to view. Choose the available countries from the drop-down. Export, download, or embed the data into your blog or site. Peruse community boards for information on statistics and apps for sharing (Facebook and Twitter) on Knoema. Upload data and create presentations and pages with the data simply and easily. Find tutorials about all you can do with Knoema here.

tag(s): charts and graphs (202), countries (83), data (155), maps (292), statistics (129)

In the Classroom

Use in Social Studies or World Cultures to compare economic indicators of countries. Create data sets and visualizations of environmental data around the world. Use data in the writing of papers or creation of presentations on the country statistics such as GDP or exported goods. Trying to find meaningful data to include in an infographic? Knoema has it! Math teachers can use data sets for practice activities with statistics.

Comments

I absolutely love Knoema! They also have World Data Atlas (Chrome Web Store app for free) - chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/world-data-atlas/knlgfedckdhkgjinnhogmhkbcjpmmhko that I strongly advise to use. Olga, , Grades: 0 - 12

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Animaps - Animaps

Grades
8 to 12
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Use Animaps to go beyond Google's My Maps, adding animation. You can add text, multiple location stops, and images to maps. Maps that you make can be shared with anyone ...more
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Use Animaps to go beyond Google's My Maps, adding animation. You can add text, multiple location stops, and images to maps. Maps that you make can be shared with anyone or kept private. Connect your Animaps to Facebook and Twitter for direct photo and map sharing. This tool's major advantage is that it adds the factor of time to the map.

tag(s): map skills (79), maps (292), timelines (60)

In the Classroom

To use this tool, create an account and start playing with the features. There are also tutorials and showcases featured on the site to show what can be done. This would be great for creating time lines in social studies class, showing different places and teaching geography and social studies together. Foreign language students could create maps explaining culture aspects of the language or trace the origins of language. Assign students in math or family consumer sciences to be travel agents and plan vacations, including the costs of the trip.

As part of a book project, have your students show the setting of a novel they are reading, with images that annotate their impression of what the setting looks like. Have students create visual current events, especially for events that take place over time, such as the primaries and Presidential Elections.

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ArcGIS - ArcGIS.com

Grades
8 to 12
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Use maps from around the world as an entry point for information, statistics, and discussions. Create or view maps that communicate information; then share your maps with others. View...more
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Use maps from around the world as an entry point for information, statistics, and discussions. Create or view maps that communicate information; then share your maps with others. View maps made by others by clicking on the Gallery or Featured Maps. Hover over the map to view a description, reviews, and more details. Within the site, you will find tools for building and sharing maps. Click on Map to view directions for creating your own map. Find a variety of basemaps, specialty layers, applications, and tools that you can use to create an awesome map. Find helpful collaborative groups. Create web apps and mobile apps as well. Your maps can be shared by url or embedded in a wiki, blog, or web page.

If you simply wish to use maps created by others, no special skills or login are needed. Click on areas of the map to zoom in to find the content layers. Click on the little icons at the top left hand column (hover over to see description.) Click on the map legend to get a key for the icons. You can even add to already existing maps!

tag(s): earth (223), maps (292)

In the Classroom

Create a login to create a map, rate maps, or join a group. Follow the directions for creating a map.

Use existing maps to obtain information about a wide variety of topics and issues. Assign a map for students to explore and practice both map skills while accessing content information on environmental issues, economics, current events, world cultures, and more. Provide time for students to view the information and record what they see and connections they make about the material. Offer some thought-provoking questions, such as, "Which part of the world seems to have the highest gas prices? Why?" Create a mind map or use an interactive whiteboard to sketch out all of the information students have found. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share mind maps. Have student groups find relevant information, statistics, and resources to understand the map. Work together as a class to add information to a local map about watershed, pollution sources, or animal habitats. Allow students to add relevant layers or create their own maps when completing projects, researching issues, or learning concepts from class. Challenge student groups to build global perspective by exploring a location and learn as much about it as they can by viewing a wide variety of the maps from the Gallery. Have them generate a map information and comparison challenge for peers based on the maps available in the Gallery. In world language classes, have students gather knowledge about a country where their language is spoken and share it in oral discussions (in the new language, of course!).

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Geolover - geolover.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Use Geolover to plan and organize trips anywhere in the world. Mark places you like. Print to create your own travel map and guide. Click on a location, find sites ...more
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Use Geolover to plan and organize trips anywhere in the world. Mark places you like. Print to create your own travel map and guide. Click on a location, find sites of interest, and click "Add to my list." Click on your lists to view in map view and use other tools. Add your own places of interest easily. As with any site that shares photos and video clips, be sure to preview what you plan to share BEFORE you share the site with your class. There is also an app version of this site for those using iPads or iTouches.

tag(s): countries (83), cultures (112), map skills (79), maps (292)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to find important points of interest in places around the world. Use it to learn more about other countries and cultures, determine distances between points of interest, or create travel guides for particular purposes such as religious, governmental, or historical interest. Create a travel guide of a country you would love to visit. Share travel guides or use as the basis of presentations to the class. Create a class bulletin board using Padlet, reviewed here, where you can make columns for the most popular destinations (for a travel guide) and students can contribute to the bulletin board. Then have students create an online book or brochure of images and captions about their travel guide using a site such as Storybird, reviewed here. Use the information at this site to have your students create conventional or multimedia projects. Challenge students make a multimedia presentation using Calameo, reviewed here, and Magazine Cover Maker, reviewed here, or give them a choice of presentation formats using Genial.ly, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Big Huge Labs - Big Huge Labs

Grades
K to 12
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Check Teachers First reviews for specific fun and creative tools from this expansive site. As Big Huge Labs continues to expand upon their offerings, be sure to check back to ...more
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Check Teachers First reviews for specific fun and creative tools from this expansive site. As Big Huge Labs continues to expand upon their offerings, be sure to check back to the main page of the site to find what is new. Be sure to check out the Trading Card Maker reviewed here, the CD Cover Maker reviewed here, The Big Huge Thesaurus reviewed here, and many others! Take time to play with some of these tools before sharing the site with students. Many of these tools are more suitable for play than a valuable tool for demonstrating student knowledge.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): collages (18), images (277), maps (292), multimedia (52), photography (152), thesaurus (23)

In the Classroom

It is helpful to have a Flickr account to organize photos. Users must be able to find and upload/provide the URL of a specific photo. This tool is so simple with very little steps for creating. Simply upload your photo, select from a few options, and then create.

Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.

Options here are endless. Find out what students understand about a concept by creating a 6 word story. Students find a suitable picture and sum up the concept in 6 words. Students can use the Motivator tool reviewed here to create. Place their creation on a blog, wiki, or site and have students write about how their understandings of the concept have changed throughout the study of it. Create Badges for field trips and other activities. Use the Trading Card Maker reviewed here to identify what a student understands about a concept. Create trading cards of the many species that exist in the world or of places to visit, past leaders of nations, or states and other countries. Create vocabulary trading cards. Use social networking in the classroom? Create an Avatar to use on these spaces. Reading a book or viewing documentaries? Create Movie Posters to share information or to inform others about various times in History. Whatever you use this tool for, it is powerful for students to use a great image and word captions to display their knowledge.

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Show my street - showmystreet.com

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this easy site to find any address on satellite view. Show My Street uses Google Street View. Type in an address. As you type, street views that begin to ...more
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Use this easy site to find any address on satellite view. Show My Street uses Google Street View. Type in an address. As you type, street views that begin to match the address will appear. As you continue to type, the street views continue to change. (This is actually a really great way to see other places.) Zoom in on your address using the same tools found in Google Maps. Share the location by clicking on the Twitter, Facebook, or link icons.
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tag(s): maps (292)

In the Classroom

Have students choose any place, then post the link to it on a blog, wiki, or website, and write a description of it. Describe what they would see out of their window, create a story about what they hear or see, or describe their family and what's inside of the house. Research the history of the area to determine how it may have been different in the past. Of course you will went to avoid posting personal information on the web, but students could write fictional stories or keep personal information out of their writings. Describe the wildlife (plant or animal) that exists in their area. Describe the community of people in the area or an important neighbor and why they are important. Create a persuasive essay why their house (or school) is the best, friendliest, etc. in the area. Use tools to determine the distance between houses or to local historical places, places of interest, etc. Use the image as a powerful tool for writing.
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Mapcrunch - MapCrunch

Grades
2 to 12
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Use MapCrunch to go to places in the world without ever leaving the classroom. Explore the world's geography and cultures easily. View detailed "Google Street View" snapshots of towns,...more
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Use MapCrunch to go to places in the world without ever leaving the classroom. Explore the world's geography and cultures easily. View detailed "Google Street View" snapshots of towns, cities, and areas all over the globe. Randomly tour spots on the earth or choose a tour by continent. Use the navigation buttons to zoom in or out or shift the MapCrunch window to face a different direction. Click on the checkbox to use the slideshow feature. Share by using a link, through Facebook, or email.

tag(s): maps (292)

In the Classroom

Assign students various countries, regions, or continents to make comparisons. Identify the biological, geographical, cultural, and social issues that exist in the world, based on what the pictures show and what their research uncovers. Bring a greater understanding to current economic and environmental issues in many countries. World language (or World Cultures) classes can help students understand the cultures of the countries where the language is spoken. Compare specific attributes of two countries using an online Venn Diagram, such as the one reviewed here. Another idea: have cooperative learning groups use this resource to create online books about the country of their tour using a resource such as Bookemon,
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Map A List - Innovation Geo, LLC

Grades
2 to 12
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Create a map from addresses collected in a Google spreadsheet. Create an account using your email or through a Twitter or Facebook account. Connect with your Google account or use ...more
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Create a map from addresses collected in a Google spreadsheet. Create an account using your email or through a Twitter or Facebook account. Connect with your Google account or use the friendly step by step help to create one on this site. Collect addresses using a Google Form. Create a map by choosing one of your spreadsheets where data has been collected. Instantly map these addresses using the Map a List tool. Make your maps public or private and share with others by downloading the KML file for opening in Google Earth. Use the tutorials at the bottom right for help with Map A List.

tag(s): earth (223), maps (292)

In the Classroom

Users must be familiar with using a Google form for collecting data and finding the spreadsheet in their list of documents. Users must have a Google account and an email address to register for Map A List. Create a class account for students to use. Publish your Google form on a blog, site, or wiki to collect entries to be used to make a map.

Use a Google form to collect addresses of various locations such as historic places students know, my most memorable vacation, where I live, or where my grandparents were born. Use to teach some basic map skills to younger students. Map locations of government services for a civics class, local locations of healthy activities or farmers markets in a health class, locations where students can find certain trees, insects, or other wildlife to name a few. Map the locations of anything collected in a Google Spreadsheet. Be sure that information collected is in address format so it can be mapped by this amazing tool.

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Community Walk - Jared Cosulich

Grades
K to 12
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Community Walk maps out communities with place markers, photos, written and audio comments, and interactive media. Community Walk uses Google maps technology but is not an affiliate....more
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Community Walk maps out communities with place markers, photos, written and audio comments, and interactive media. Community Walk uses Google maps technology but is not an affiliate. Users can view maps as a satellite, terrain, or hybrid image. This site allows users to zoom in and out (using the arrows) and scroll across the map in any cardinal direction. Save time with "bulk edit" and download multiple locations at one time. Create multiple tabs and sort locations in a variety of ways. Place marker graphics include clip art icons of beds, cakes, airplanes, houses etc. Community Walk creates a custom URL for each map. It is possible to download the map as a .kml file and view it through Google Earth. More astute technology users may want to embed the map into a class website, blog, or wiki. This site may or may not be fully accessible inside your school filtering. You will want to check to be sure all portions you plan to use in class will be available using your school's network.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): landforms (48), map skills (79), maps (292)

In the Classroom

This is a great site to use if teaching about communities, local government, map skills, or local history. Demonstrate how to use Community Walk on an interactive whiteboard. Together with your class map out community sites in the neighborhood. Bookmark the site on the classroom computers and have students practice marking locations. Ask the class to identify important government buildings or historical points of interest. Have the class research and mark the location of animal habitats such as forests, grasslands, deserts, tundra's, and oceans. Embed these maps into multimedia presentations on a class wiki about Biomes. For more information on wikis check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Compose history lessons that ask students to synthesize military strategy with geography. Track the historic marches of opposing forces and mark battle locations, encampments, natural resources, transportation systems, and significant ports. Color code each category and create a map legend. Link the journey's sequence of points and measure the distance in both kilometers and miles. Share these maps on your class web page for students to access as a reference and assist review before tests. Foreign language students, speaking in the language they are learning, can record narratives about points of interest in foreign countries. For example, students learning to speak French can upload narrative reports about various locations in Paris.

Create a map with or without an account. More features are available to those who register. Manipulate the map as you would on Google Maps (zoom, drag, etc). Add a place marker by either entering the name of the location, or address, or latitude and longitude. Community Walk automatically saves markers from previous made maps. Title each location and create a main category and subcategory to help with sorting later. You need to know how to upload files and images or insert an HTML directly into the description box. Adjustable settings will permit users to set privacy permissions and to disable comments from the public.

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ScribbleMaps - Scribble Maps

Grades
2 to 12
10 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Use this tool to "draw" on and label any map available through Google Maps, including maps of the night sky! No registration or email required! Create a colorful, personalized map ...more
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Use this tool to "draw" on and label any map available through Google Maps, including maps of the night sky! No registration or email required! Create a colorful, personalized map with added scribbles and labels. Add your choice of placemarker labels for geology locations, people, etc. There are even little icons available to use. Your drawing or "Scribble Map" is then available to share by URL, email, or print. Slightly more savvy users can download, save as a kml file (readable in Google Maps or Google Earth), or embed the map in another site. The tools include sharing the map on Facebook and Twitter, as well. Add images by pasting in their urls. Drawing tools include lines, circles, place pointers, text labels, and color/size/transparency controls for all tools. Place pointers can be edited by selecting them (arrow tool), then clicking the small pencil. This site does include Google Ads and all the normal controls of Google maps, including satellite, map, terrain, hybrid views and Night Sky. See a sample Scribble Map created by the TeachersFirst editors (drag the map with your mouse!). Explore the tools and MENU options at the top left when you start out. Try the different Maps views (lower right) and zoom controls. Search for a starter location using the search at the top left, just below the tools. There is no help available, but it is easy to do basic maps. Share, save, etc. by clicking Menu (top left). When you first save a map, it will ask you to create a password for that map to use to edit it later. Note that if you SAVE a map and share it by URL, those accessing it will be able to use the tools and change the map. If you want them to see it without changing it, you will need to embed it in a blog, wiki, or other web site. The map ID can be changed and customized by simply typing in your own choice of ID when you are saving the map.
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tag(s): directions (20), geology (76), landforms (48), landmarks (25), map skills (79), maps (292), space (229)

In the Classroom

Students and teachers will want to keep a written record or map URLS and passwords for future reference. Model this for students so they do not lose hours of work! Teachers can prepare partially-made maps or maps for students to make corrections and changes by giving the students the URL, then having them SAVE the map with a NEW ID. To SAVE the map with a new name and URL, click "Save map" in the menu, then enter your OWN map ID. Students could use a code including their initials, such as SJ12-3-09 for a map made by Sally Jones on Dec 3, 2009. Teachers should PASSWORD protect their originals so changes can only be saved under a new name. Similarly, if a student saves the map with a map password, they don't have to worry about other students vandalizing their work. But they DO need to remember the password! Wise teachers will keep a class list of maps and passwords for forgetful students! In primary grades, make maps of your local community together on your interactive whiteboard as you teach basic map skills. Create your own "key" with symbols you choose for playgrounds, etc. Have students help map locations of favorite playgrounds, grandparents' houses, stores, etc. as they gain basic understanding of map skills. Make sure you allow students to operate the tools! Save the map and share it as a link from your class web site (or embed it there). Keep names generic so it is "safe." Other ideas to challenge gifted student beyond the curriculum or elevate challenge for small groups include: natural resource maps, immigration maps, maps of civil war battles day by day, maps of key sites in the life of a famous person, artist, or author, maps of the settings in a novel, landform maps of a continent or state, "My life" maps of places important to an elementary student's family, annotated watershed maps of pollution sources, maps of the water cycle, maps of constellations in the night sky created by students to demonstrate understanding, maps of a dream community to be built in a vacant area (desert), including the water sources, etc. that will be needed, maps of a redesigned city/town on top of its current map. Teachers can provide map challenges or templates to be completed or corrected, including maps where students must label distances and cardinal directions between points (using map scale and skills). Or provide a teacher-created map with labels in the wrong places for students to correct the landforms, resources, etc. What will YOU do with Scribble Maps?
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Google Earth - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is available on all web browsers. Find landforms, geographic locations features,...more
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is available on all web browsers. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and more from around the world using this satellite-powered software. As you spin the globe, you can tilt to view locations at an angle to show elevation, click to play a "tour" or "fly" from one location to another, or simply open tours and placemarker files created by others. Once you are comfortable, try making tours and placemarkers of your own.

tag(s): climate (96), earth (223), landforms (48), landmarks (25), news (258), oceans (164)

In the Classroom

Use tutorials from this site to learn more, or try some Google Earth files from TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission to get a taste of what the program can do. Get started by exploring the different LAYERS available in the left side and searching a location you know. Locate and try the tools to drag, tilt, zoom, and even measure distance. Extensive user forums are available through the help menus.

Placemarker files created by you "live" on the computer where you make or save them and are not shared on the web. Note that your computer will ask whether you wish to save your "temporary places" (any places you have marked during a session) each time you close Google Earth. If many students use that computer, you may find you have a disorganized mess of saved places. Be sure to direct students to either name their saved places logically and file them into folders or NOT to save them to My Places! Students and teachers can create placemarker (.kmz or .kml) files and share them as email attachments, files on a USB "stick," or any other means you would use to share a file, just like a Word document.

Another practical tip: if students are using Google Earth on several machines at the same time, you may put a heavy load on your school network. Plan accordingly, perhaps having groups alternate their Google Earth time if it becomes sluggish.

Use Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ex. you can tilt to show the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Have students show the locations of historic events or literary settings and create placemarkers with links to learn more. Placemarker text is editable by going to the placemarker's "properties" or "info," so students can enter the text description, place title, and any inks they want to include, such as a link to a certain passage of text, an image of a character, or news image/article for a current events map. Students who know html code can get even more sophisticated in what they include in placemarkers. Have students/groups create and play a "tour" of critical locations for global warming, a comparison of volcanoes, or a family history of immigration. Navigate the important locations in a work of literature using Google Lit Trips or search the web for placemarker files connected to civil war battles, natural resources, and more. Turn layers on and off to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a tactile experience on an interactive whiteboard and the scale and measurement tools. See more ideas at the teacher-created Google Earth 101 wiki reviewed here. Even if you do not venture into creating your own placemarker files, there are many already made and available for use by teachers and students. TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission includes a weekly file to follow the Mission.

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Science Fair Projects World - Solar System 3D Simulator - Science Fair Projects World

Grades
2 to 12
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Use this free application to create accurate 3D models of the solar system. Show the planets and orbits as well as the sun and the moon. View detailed information of ...more
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Use this free application to create accurate 3D models of the solar system. Show the planets and orbits as well as the sun and the moon. View detailed information of the physical and chemical make-up of the planets, the energy of the sun, and details of solar eclipse. View all images in great color. Change orbit views or tilt and rotate orbits to other angles. Speed up or slow down the movement of the solar system. Application download is for Windows PC only and appears NOT to work with Vista.

tag(s): planets (134), solar system (121)

In the Classroom

Users will need the skills of downloading and finding and managing applications. The software is easy to use and has a wonderful interface for finding great information about the planets. The only safety concern is whether your school's policy allows you to install this free software. If not, try approaching an administrator or department head to show them the descriptions and request installation at least on you teacher computer for sharing on projector and/or whiteboard.

Use this free model to understand the physics of the universe or learn astronomy. Use as a science fair project, to ask questions or find answers, and to create material for presentation online or in class. Share the model on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Place Spotting - Martin Fussen

Grades
2 to 12
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An EASY way to try making your own online content for the first time! At this site, students get practice using Google Maps' satellite technology and user-created hints to locate ...more
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An EASY way to try making your own online content for the first time! At this site, students get practice using Google Maps' satellite technology and user-created hints to locate a place from a Place spotting "quiz," as pictured with a Google map. A world map below the "quiz" location image allows them to explore the globe and zoom in to pinpoint the location shown in the "quiz" map. Students use hints to narrow their search area. Be aware, MOST of the hints are in English, but there are a few in other world languages.

Once students or class find the map location, they can choose to try other maps or send a map "quiz" to others. The real power of Place Spotting is that students, teachers, and whole-class groups can also create their Own Place Spotting "quizzes" with accompanying hints using the "Create" page. Here is a sample made by the TeachersFirst review team. This site also includes a blog and search option (i.e. to find maps in specific languages).
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tag(s): landforms (48), latitude (12), longitude (12), maps (292)

In the Classroom

Click Create to create your own place spotting "quiz" for others to solve. The simple steps have numbered directions. Be sure to enter the security "code" and click "Store" for your quiz to be saved. Note that you may decide whether to make it "private" (invisible to others except by invitation). Share the quiz you create by copy/pasting the URL that shows after you click "store." You can always find it again using the search tool, but knowing the URL allows you to give it to others as a link. You might want to "collect" your class Place Spotting links in a Word document (for safe keeping) or on a class wiki.

The only safety concerns are if kids write questions or use places that might lure people to their school or identify themselves (their own house, for example). Check the box to make the quiz private if it is so revealing that you want to keep it only for those you know (GET THE URL and be sure the teacher keeps the list. Private ones cannot be found using the search!). Kids can use them to quiz each other if the teacher/kids shared the group of "private" ones as links on a teacher web page, class wiki, or in a word document (clickable).

Use this site when studying the concept of satellite imagery and map skills. Contrast this site's technology with that of a hand held GPS device. Discuss the map skills needed to use it, including the comparison of the ZOOM tool with a map scale. This is a great activity for ESL and ELL or weaker readers since there is little language involved! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector for a daily "map challenge" or as an anticipatory set/activator at the start of any place-related lesson. Choose places as a class and create your own maps, or have students work in cooperative learning groups to create their own maps about places in their community, landmarks of local history, or cultural sites of countries they study in world languages (be sure to mark private, if they are maps that reveal too much information). Classes could build a community treasure hunt of local history or a landform "find-it" on their wiki, simply by including the URLs -- even add digital pictures of the actual location with each "quiz." You will want to us the areas with higher-resolution images for landform study! Older students can put links or embed the quiz on their blogs or wikis, too. Literature lessons could include Placespotting quizzes for major sites in the stories (assuming they are real) or important places in the author's life. You may want to list this site on your class website; families could map out vacation spots, countries of ancestry, and more.
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Google Maps - Google

Grades
1 to 12
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in...more
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in the world. Type or paste in an address and click "search maps." If you click Satellite or hybrid versions of the map, you will see actual satellite images of the terrain. Zoom in and out, use the street view "orange man" to walk among the buildings and trees, or plan and share a route easily with Google Maps. Using your (free) Google membership allows you to save favorite places and more. Find businesses and other features near a specific map location: hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and more. Google Maps has become more and more sophisticated, now offering many features previously only available in Google Earth, such as opening and/or saving placemarker files. Unlike Google Earth, Google Maps does not require software installation and does not use as much bandwidth for constant reloading. You can even play a tour of places you mark in Google Maps. They just keep adding more features! Google Maps is available as a free app for Android and iOS, too. The handy embed codes let you put any Google Map in a web page, blog, or wiki. Of course you do not need a membership or any special skills to simply SEE, share, or navigate a map. Membership gives you more ways to save.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (176), directions (20), maps (292)

In the Classroom

If you teach geography, this one's a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. In lower grades, use it to show students basics of their community. Teach map skills by showing students their own community. Zoom in on their street or on the school. This site and its more sophisticated cousin, Google Earth, are great on an interactive whiteboard. Set up a class Google account (or use student accounts if permitted). Have students create their own custom route plans to tour historic sites. Challenge math students to plan the most economical route to visit several vacation destinations, including gas mileage and gas prices. Have students create placemarker files of the important places in the life of a famous person or the route traveled by a particular unit during the Civil War. Have student groups create placemarker files to show environmental sites, habitats, landforms, or anything you can place on a map. Embed projects in a class wiki using the handy embed code offered as a sharing option. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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