Developing a scope and sequence for using Google Earth in the middle school earth science classroom
Published:October 01, 2012
Heather Almquist, Lisa Blank, Jennifer Estrada, 2012. "Developing a scope and sequence for using Google Earth in the middle school earth science classroom", Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research, Steven J. Whitmeyer, John E. Bailey, Declan G. De Paor, Tina Ornduff
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Google Earth–based learning activities have become increasingly popular among K–12 educators in recent years. However, most of these activities are short-term, singular events within a more traditional curriculum and involve students' passive observation of pre-developed Google Earth “tours.” The Cyber-Enabled Earth Exploration (CE3) project is developing an immersive, Google Earth–based, middle school curriculum on plate tectonics. The curriculum is designed to scaffold students' technical skills, analytical abilities, and scientific content knowledge, as well as increase students' understandings about the nature of science. Through the curriculum, students progress from making simple observations in the Google Earth environment to using Google Earth as a transformative data analysis tool. Here, we describe how the curriculum was developed, its essential elements, and how it was received by students in grades five through nine. Results including teachers' reflections and student notebook entries reveal what skills and concepts were most challenging for students at each grade level and provide a preliminary roadmap for designing a scope and sequence for using Google Earth to teach core concepts related to volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics in the middle school classroom.