Google Earth Landforms Tour

We have been talking second grade science!  Specifically, we’ll chat about the Next Gen standards on landforms and how to implement hands on activities, science labs, and STEM challenges while learning about Earth’s surface.  You can catch up on all of the blog posts here:

I LOVE Google Earth!  Since the time it was released, I was enamored by it.  My husband and I would literally sit and travel around the earth just for fun!  I immediately knew I had to use this in the classroom.  When I taught first grade, we used it as a whole group during our Me On The Map unit to show our school, city, and state view.

But as I was preparing this second grade unit on landforms, I knew Google Earth would be the perfect small group project to help kids see how much of Earth was covered in land and water!  Here’s a closer look at this activity.

(This post contains affiliate links to help  fund my chocolate addiction and support this corner of cyber space)

I’m Feeling Lucky

Recently, Google Earth added the “I’m feeling lucky” feature.

This feature will take you to a random spot around the globe.  At the beginning of our landforms unit, we are learning about land and water and finding the differences on a map.  So I knew this lucky feature would be perfect for recording data on land and water.

This can be done whole group, in small groups, or individually, depending on your class needs.  My preference is small groups.  So, each group clicks the “I’m feeling lucky” feature and records the name of the location they traveled to.  Then, they write whether the location is on land or water and tell how they know.

Globe Toss Game

Don’t have the technology you need to make the Virtual Tour happen?  The same concept can be applied with globe toss, too.  All you need are some blow up globes!

In globe toss, students work with partners or a small group and toss a blow up globe.  They take turns tossing the globe.  When a student catches the globe, they record where their right thumb landed.  Then, they will record the location as a tally under land or water.

Math Integration

If you’ve followed my blog for much time, you know I’m a HUGE fan of integrating content areas as much as possible.  That’s one of the reasons why I love this activity so much.  You can integrate Science, Technology, and Math all in one activity!

The follow up option for this activity is to do a comparing math problem.  Your students can simply compare the number of times they landed on land and water and compare to see which they landed on the most.

Then, for a challenge, have the groups share their land and water data and then have kids solve a multi-step word problem:

How many trips did we take to land?  Water? Which had more? How many more?

By using the whole class data, we’ve made kids do multi-steps to solve the problem and increased the number sets they are solving!

Area Extension

Another great math integration project is area!  After students have discovered that Earth has more water than land, students will study the area of earth to see exactly how much more water earth has. 

Students overlay the graph paper over a colored world map.  Then, they will color in each square either blue or green to show land or water.  Because my husband insists on thick printer paper, I held my graph paper and map up to my window so I could see it better! 🙂

If a square has both land and water, they simply color the square to show which it has the most of.  If there is more land, they color it green…

Then, they will solve the area math problem.

This would also make a great math station during station time or a guided math block!

All of these activities, plus tons more can be found in my Next Gen aligned landforms unit!

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