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More With Maps

Maps have been what I've been thinking about all week. Maps online, road maps, the rusty globe in my classroom, talking globes, maps of Florida, and puzzle maps. The list goes on and on. I couldn't believe the amount of maps that I could find. Throughout the week, I would introduce the new map and leave it out during our afternoon centers for the students to explore it on their own. Each day, I saw students using magnify glasses to discover the new places on the maps.

After using Google Maps to map out where my students were born, I decided to use Google Earth for our next mapping activity. I just wanted to compare Google Maps and Google Earth to see which one was easier for me to use. As a teacher, I wanted to find something that quick and simple to use.

I found that I enjoyed using Google Earth much more than Google Maps. Google Earth allowed me to enter the place marks quicker and the graphics were more attractive for the students. I mapped out where everyone in our class lived and the location of our school. We talked about who lived the closest and who lived the farthest. The students loved zooming in to see their houses. I felt like images in Google Earth made the activity more meaningful for the students.

I did have to do some changes on the settings of Google Earth. I unchecked most of the different layers located on the left toolbar. There were many layers that I thought would be a distraction for my students. I left the roads, Disney World, and NASA visible so I could prompt more discussions.

My main goal this week was to have the students enjoy exploring maps. I didn't want them to be overloaded with information so I kept each activity very simple and meaningful. I had the students ask me questions when they wanted to know more. I would like to continue more with maps throughout the year. If anyone has any suggestion on how I can include maps throughout the year, please share in the comments below!

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