Globetracker's Mission is a unique, engaging way for students in grades 2-6 to learn geography, map skills, and landforms through an episodic story. Each week, a new episode, in the format of a blog post, appears on the Globetracker's Mission site. Fictional teenagers Geo and Meri write the "blog" as they travel and explore the seven continents of the world on a secret "mission" for an unnamed government agency. They seek clues and use technology to investigate the case under the supervision of their Uncle Globetracker, writing the "blog" as part of their requirements for missing high school work. Classes who follow the mission learn standards-based terms and concepts of world geography as they respond to Geo and Meri's think-aloud questions using maps, images, and links that Geo and Meri provide. Concepts include landforms, map skills, cultures, major landmarks, continents, oceans, rivers, and more. For a full list of the standards addressed, click here.
Students are encouraged to participate in class discussions using this projector- or whiteboard-ready site. Younger students will need reading assistance and will probably work best in a teacher-centered discussion of the site. Older elementary and middle school students can navigate the episodes with the teacher, on their own, or as part of a geography center in their classroom. After each episode, readers "vote" among options for what Geo and Meri do next. The actual vote from site visitors determines the next episode that will appear on Sunday (just in time for teachers to preview for the coming week or for curious students to read from home). See our technical information page for more about using Google Maps and Google Earth. See Lesson Ideas for more ways to use the Mission.
Reading the blog is great, but how can we SEE where Geo and Meri are investigating?
At the top of each weekly episode, there will be a link to both a Google Map and a Google Earth File. Our technical information page shows you how to view and open the maps. Then "fly" the route that Geo and Meri take to recap all that you have learned so far. A projector or interactive whiteboard will really let you "see the world" with Geo and Meri.
There are many creative ways to involve students with "the mission." Teachers may wish to have students compose their own "blog style" episodes about what Geo and Meri might find if they visited your town or state. If your school allows Twitter to pass through school filtering, your class can also view Tweets from the teens. Learn more about Twitter in this TeachersFirst review of this tool for educators.
Another option is to encourage students (and their families) to read books related to the continents as Geo and Meri visit. Explore TeachersFirst's CurriConnects book lists about Maps or Geographic Wonders to enrich your class's Globetracker adventure. CurriConnects offers book lists including interest grade levels, reading levels, ISBN numbers, and more.
Find many more ideas to fit your grade level and available technology on our Lesson Ideas page.
Geo and Meri's travels take them to a new continent each month from October 2022 through the end of April 2023. There will be additional review activities available during May and June 2023. Classes that follow the entire journey will master geography skills as an ongoing endeavor, reinforcing the skills through an engaging adventure of two teens who use the newest technologies. Teachers will love the carefully scaffolded learning that takes place as Geo and Meri introduce and revisit concepts throughout the mission. If you join the mission along the way, the "blog" allows you to backtrack so students can read and learn from the Introduction and previous episodes. Here is a rough guess of the order of continents that Geo and Meri may visit during the 2022-2023 mission-- assuming your votes send them in the right direction (SHHHHH! Keep this a secret from your students!):
Both current and previous weeks' episodes from this mission will be online from late September through the end of May 2023. Of course, the voting for past episodes will be over, so you will want to try to catch up! This mission will go into a hidden archive at the end of June.
Teachers and families can reinforce and enrich the experience while building better readers by reading books related to the continents, as Geo and Meri travel. Explore TeachersFirst's CurriConnects book lists aboutMaps or Geographic Wonders to enrich your class's Globetracker adventure. CurriConnects offers book lists including interest grade levels, reading levels, ISBN numbers, and more. As Geo and Meri discover a new continent, share reading and fun with books and family activities related to the same continent. Before you know it, a child who is following Geo and Meri at school will say, "I read about that," connecting new knowledge with personal experience.
Globetracker's Mission is a project from TeachersFirst, a free, ad-free service of The Source for Learning, a non-profit. TeachersFirst's creative team of experienced teachers and technical staff have worked diligently to produce this one-of-a-kind way to engage your students as learners of the world. We hope you enjoy the trip!