Saturday, February 18, 2017

Exploring Landforms with Google Street View

Today my students went swimming with turtles in the ocean, running with zebras on the plains, walking with camels in the desert, hiking with llamas in the mountains, and exploring with penguins on the polar ice caps.  My students went to all of these places in our classroom using technology on the Chromebook.

My students enjoy any type of project on the Chromebook, but they absolutely loved exploring different types of landforms with Google Street View.  The room was full of excitement as the students looked for examples of shelter, food, and clothing at different places around the world.  The students were eager to share what they found with their friends, and they made many connections on how a human's environment affects the way they live.

I created a Hyperdoc for the lesson (see below) and assigned it to the students in Google Classroom.  Each landform is numbered and labeled with a picture so that the students can easily follow along with the lesson.  Next to the landform is a link to Google Street View where the students can explore the landform in a virtual environment.  When students are done exploring, there is an empty box available for the students to respond to their virtual experience and write notes about what they encountered.  

One thing to be careful about when using Google Street View is that some links have trouble loading.  I knew this might be a problem because the page did not always load correctly when I was exploring Google Street View.  It is obvious when the page does not load correctly because there is a black screen.  Therefore, I taught the students that if the link did not load, they needed to close their tab and try again.  This required a lot of patience for the students because they were eager to explore each new landform.

If my class had access to Chromebooks everyday, I would break this lesson down into exploring one landform each day.  Sometimes all of the elements that the students were looking for (shelter, food, and clothing) were not in the given link that I assigned.  For the lesson, I would explore the assigned link for the landform together, and then give the students time to explore other destinations of the same landform in order to find more elements on how humans lives are different based on their environment.

After our virtual landform exploration, each student choose a landform and wrote about it in a collaborative Google Slide.  Check out our class eBook about landforms.  You can learn more about collaborative Google Slides here.

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