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  • Renee Anderson

Boost Student Engagement With Google Maps

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

We all use it.

How in the world would we get anywhere without Google Maps?

Do you use it in your classroom?

Geography is one of those things that can sometimes be on the "back burner." It gets touched upon here or there, and depending on your standards, it may not be listed much at all. If your state is relying upon the c3 Framework for Social Studies Standards, then you'll definitely have a geography piece in there, but how in the world can you engage students in valuable learning? We all know that simply filling out maps is boooor-ing... My apologies to anyone who loves filling out maps.

Thank goodness for Google Maps! Elementary students absolutely LOVE Google Maps. Once you give students the power to go anywhere in the world, they become hooked!

Studying the 7 continents?

Go for a scavenger hunt on Google Maps and see if you can find all of them.

Want to know the difference between a continent and a country?

Let's check out the countries on the continent of Africa!

You might know there are 50 states, but do you know all states that border your own?

Let's find out on Google Maps!

Want to know exactly where you live?

Let's practice your address by typing it in the search bar.

WARNING! Students are obsessed with finding their home. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Want to see cool places at the street level?

Let's learn how to drop Pegman down on the street and look around.

Does one of the books you're reading happen in a special place?

Let's look it up on Google Maps.

Want to know where the scientist you're talking about came from?

Let's find it on Google Maps.

Wondering what type of transportation to take to get to Europe from the US?

Let's check it out on Google Maps.

By the far would you be traveling?

I bet Google Maps knows.

You would be amazed at how engaged with Google Maps students become. As adults we use it as a tool. Students however, use it as a global play ground. In a time when we are so globally connected via technology, I challenge you to foster that and think of ways or times where you can let you students explore areas via Google Maps. Previously listed is a very small sampling of how easy it can be to use Google Maps in your classroom. Imagine all the geography you could introduce and explore by connecting it to your current content. Just keep it in your toolbox, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the boost in engagement of your students.

Need an example of what this might look like?

You can check out an example of how I integrate Google Maps in my "Where in the World Are We?" Digital Interactive Notebook to help students understand the various layers in which they live.

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