On Tuesday night #worldgeochat held the 1st of our 4 part series of Tuesday night chats in June about the amazing book Play Like A Pirate. In Quinn Rollins’ book he introduces countless strategies to make learning come alive by brining in the fun. Whether it be action figures, super heroes, Legos, or comic books Play Like a Pirate is gold for teachers looking to address their standards in a manner that kids are hooked and wanting more. My post today highlights several websites that get kids excited to learn more about geography. Whether you want to kick start your class or if your lesson ended 5 minutes early and you need cool sites to explore there are websites out there to get your students fired up to learn more about geography!
Just Google It:
A Google A Day: A Google A Day gets students practicing their search skills in a game format. The site gives you a question and students have to search for the answer. The video below explains it further. Google also offers additional lesson plans to teach searching here.
A Google A Day
Google Earth: Two of my co moderators have already shared their experiences with Google Earth. Pete Speigel (@GeoSpiegs), our Google Earth guru, has offered his opinions on the revamped Google Earth here. He also has written 2 super helpful posts on how to navigate the “new” Google Earth as well here and here. Chris Heffernan ( @cheffernan75 ) wrote about how he used it for student inquiry here. I just love that the new site is so user friendly. You can take virtual field trips using the Voyager tool. Students can leave their exploration to chance by using the Feeling Lucky button. I love that you can get down to street view by hitting the peg man. On the day that I had students explore the revamped site, a student in my class who is orginally from the U.K. showed us the canal that ran behind his house. He connected it to our current study of the Panama Canal and gave a fantastic explanation about canals. I can’t wait to utilize this tool more next school year!
Smarty Pins: Maps plus trivia… does it get any better? Smarty Pins is another Google game in which students must drop the peg man onto the correct location to get points. The faster you answer and the closer you are to the correct location the more points you rack up. There are currently 6 categories of games to play: March Madness, Arts & Culture, Science & Geography, Sports & Games, Entertainment, and my favorite History & Current Events.
Google Maps Treks: Take virtual field trips to famous locations across the globe. These field trips offer stunning photos, videos, the ability to explore at street view, and written details about the location and the trip.
Google Earth Engine Timelapse: This site allows you to look at how an area has changed over 32 years. The Google Earth images span from 1984 until 2016. You can easily search by location and you can adjust the speed to either fast, medium, or slow. I’ve used this to show deforestation of the Amazon and the rapid urbanization of areas we are studying.
Oooohhss and Ahhhhsss with Visuals
360 Cities: This website has 360 degree images from across the globe. Type the location you are looking for and off you go. Often they have multiple 360 degree images for the place you want to explore. Some of the tours are now include videos and ambient noise as well. So cool!
airpano.com: Another site that offers 360 degree tours of places across the globe. Most tours have music that accompanies your exploration. (You can turn the music off if you want.) You can zoom in and out on the images. You can see where each location is on the map and most offer additional information about the location.
EarthCam: This site aggregates live cameras from across the globe. In addition to the real time video you can also click on the weather and temperature setting so see what temperature it is there too. It is so cool to be studying a location and say, “let’s see what it is like there right now” and then pull up a live feed.
Story Spheres: Story spheres is another 360 image site. You can explore in the gallery 360 stories that others have created by taking 360 photos and embedding audio narration or adding music. You can also create your own.
GeoGuessr: This game shows you a 360 degree image and you have to drop a pin on the map where you think the location is. The closer you get the more points you rack up. This is great to have students analyze vegetation and clothing to determine climate in order to make educated guesses. They also often look for signs that connect to a specific language to give them clues. You can play world edition, choose a country, select famous places or many more!
GeoSettr: This is a simple way to create your own GeoGuessr game. It is very easy to set up your 5 rounds. When finished it generates a unique URL for your customized game. Just paste that site in and you are ready to play the game you created.
Drone Guesser: Drone Guesser follows the exact same rules as GeoGuessr yet it subs in drone video footage for the static 360 images on GeoGuessr.
If you are looking for more ideas check out this National Geographic post “Fun with Geography”.
What websites do you use to show just how much fun geography is?