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Developing a scope and sequence for using Google Earth in the middle school earth science classroom

By
Heather Almquist
Heather Almquist
College of Arts and Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812, USA
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Lisa Blank
Lisa Blank
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812, USA
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Jennifer Estrada
Jennifer Estrada
College of Arts and Sciences, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812, USA
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Published:
October 01, 2012

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.

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GSA Special Papers

Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research

Steven J. Whitmeyer
Steven J. Whitmeyer
Department of Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, Memorial Hall, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807, USA
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John E. Bailey
John E. Bailey
Scenarios Network for Alaska & Arctic Planning, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709, USA
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Declan G. De Paor
Declan G. De Paor
Department of Physics, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529, USA
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Tina Ornduff
Tina Ornduff
Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy, Mountain View, California 94043, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
492
ISBN print:
9780813724928
Publication date:
October 01, 2012

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