Geography I Spy

Today we have the last session in a series of Geography I Spy programs. We copied this idea from Paul Hieronymous. Paul even VCed with us to help us get this program going.

Kevin starts the session zooming in on our location and the school location to get the students familiar with Google Earth. For each location the students guess, he zooms in and gives some background information and clues to help the students guess. Each zoom out is accompanied by even more clues.

Today’s session is with a 6th grade class. They are studying Western Hemisphere geography this year. The teachers’ submitted the locations ahead of time. We tried to get clues from the teachers ahead of time as well, but that didn’t work so well. Some of the locations for this class were:

  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Georgetown, Guyana
  • Havana, Cuba

We ran into a few issues with some of the schools’ whose bandwidth is pretty jammed. But if we skipped the zooming and just showed a still screen it worked fairly well.

We decided that 2nd grade is too young for this activity. The 2nd grade class that participated didn’t guess any of them. But the teacher still thought it was a useful exercise. “I think the kids really enjoyed it. It gave them a way to apply what we are learning in social studies to the “real world” so to speak. We study cities, urban areas, etc. and this will help the kids remember those areas better.

Each session was 30 minutes long. While we addressed geography skills and exposed the teachers to videoconferencing, the session was also professional development. Several of the teachers mentioned that they learned how to use Google Earth with their students and plan to do that in the future.

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