End the Mapathy

A VSTE 2014 Presentation by David & Alfonso

Maps are everywhere. They are so ubiquitous that your students (and maybe even yourself) have grown a bit, shall we say, mapathetic towards them. The Virginia Standards of Learning define a map as "a drawing of a place to show where things are located."  But where is the passion in that?  Maps are so much more! Today we're going to show you how maps can literally change the way you and your students see the world!  You'll increase your maptitude and learn how to use some amazing mapplications. Let's get started with a mappetizer.

A Mappetizer

Please fill out the Google form below (and follow the directions : )

Now let's go to BatchGeo and map out your locations with a quick couple of clicks! How can you use this tool in your classroom?

Things you can do with Google maps

Google Maps are easily linked and embedded on your blog or website.  Just click the paperclip button to get the link and embed codes. But it's even better to create your own map! Go to Google Maps Engine and click "Create a new map".

(By the way, you can easily create an animated gif using Gickr or Gifmaker).  Here are a few examples of Google maps activities for the classroom:

  1. States reports map with custom icons (students created).
  2. Regions of the United States and Regions of Virginia (I created).
  3. 3rd Grade Explorers Map, 4th Grade Virginia Map (students created).
  4. Embedded street view maps of different places (I created).
  5. 1st Grade Migration Google Map with photos (I created)

You can create animated maps showing change over time with Animaps.  Here's an example:

You can put overlays of historical maps on top of Google maps and compare them by adjusting the opacity.  Try some with these National Geographic maps or the David Rumsey Collection.

Don't forget about street view!  It's a great way to get a virtual tour of almost any place in the world.  Just drop peg man down on a spot like the Parthenon or the Colosseum, and take a look around!  Google has even put some of their best street view treks on their Google Treks site.  Explore more collections here... and there's even street view for the ocean!

Scribble Maps is another way to create your own custom Google maps.  It has a nice variety of custom icons to use, and it's simple enough for elementary students. Here's an example of a 1st grade community map and here's an example of a 4th grade Virginia resources map.

You can compare two Google maps using GETeach.  It's actually pretty incredible what you can do with this tool.  You can compare different types of maps, find elevation across a distance, and even upload your own maps.

Things you can do with Google Earth

You can make an audio tour of any place in the world using Google Earth.  You can even create tours of the ocean floor, the moon, Mars, and outer space!

You can also create tours online with Tour Builder.  Here's an example of a tour of ancient Greece and Rome.  

Use AnotherEarth to compare two views of Google Earth with each other.  Here's an example comparing the area around the Virginia Beach Convention Center in 1994 to now, twenty years later.

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