- fly an airplane
- create a tour of my favorite places to visit
- view stars and constellations
- look at World War II shipwrecks through Youtube
- Check out the solar system
- Track the migration of seals off the Pacific coast
Since I am going to be teaching fifth graders next year, I wanted to come up with a plan that I could use for that age group. After some brainstorming I decided to create a project called My Ultimate Vacation.
Living in Ketchikan for the past three years I have had the unpleasant opportunity of dealing with multitudes of tourists. The most frustrating part of dealing with some tourists is answering the question, "What lake is this?", when they are referring to the ocean. Another good one is, "What elevation are we at here?". It goes to show that a lot of travelers put little to no effort into learning about the places they are visiting.
So I decided to have my students pick one place on each continent that they would like to visit with the exception of Antarctica. Antarctica is a beautiful place, but I thought that fifth graders might have some problems finding a location that would want to visit. After picking their destinations, they would have to answer a few geography questions about each location. This information would be gathered and made into an Ultimate Vacation using the tour function on Google Earth. The students would present their vacations to the rest of the class. By doing some initial research on these locations, they would start developing good travel habits by knowing where they are traveling to as well as get to know how to use Google Earth.
For the project handout go here.
To view my Ultimate Vacation Tour, click here
To view the six lesson plans that will help students complete this project, click below
To view the rubric for this project, click here.
As with the majority of assignments that I have done for this class, I was met with some challenges with this one. I am happy to have worked through most of them with some hard work and some help from Dr. Ohler. My main challenge was publishing my tour so that I could share it with my students. I tried using different features on Google Earth, but for some reason I was only allowed to use about two minutes of audio when I made a movie on Google Earth. I was not able to fix this problem and it was a real pain.
Dr. Ohler suggested using a program called Jing. This program allows the user to take a photo or video record anything that is happening on your screen at any given time. I was able to run through my vacation presentation and record the whole thing with Jing.
This program also caused some initial problems, but after Dr. Ohler pointed me in the right direction it became a very handy tool. When I made my first recording using Jing, instead of uploading it straight to screencast.com (which is a free place to upload your files) I copied it to my computer and then tried to upload it. I waited two hours for the file to upload and was frustrated to see that it didn't work properly. Apparently I had captured too much of the screen, which created a large file that didn't really show what I wanted it to show.
On my second try, I made the Google Earth view finder smaller and uploaded it straight to the screencast.com website. It worked much better that time. Jing was an extremely helpful tool which I plan to use more in the future.
Although my project was geared toward a younger audience, it could easily be adapted to fit a more mature audience. I plan on using it when I get back from Mexico with older students. The questions will need to be a bit more involved, and I will want them to explore using many other functions of Google Earth that I didn't even touch in my assignment.
I thought that was a great assignment and although I feel more comfortable with Google Earth, I feel like there is so much more to learn. I look forward to exploring it some more and making it a staple in my classes.