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Place Spotting - Martin Fussen

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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 (39), latitude (10), longitude (10), maps (227)

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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