Bring the to your Classroom!

There is an amazing world outside of your classroom! While it is difficult to travel with your students, you can bring the world directly to them!

This post was inspired by my recent conversation with Kelly Kermode and Kim Randall, author of Bring the World to your Classroom. More on our conversation in a little bit...

Google's geo tools are not just for social studies and geography teachers! They can be used for any subject area (see the first tip below...)

Here are seven neat tools you can use to help bring the world into your classroom

1. Google Earth

If you want to get an audible “wow” out of your students, show them Google Earth! Google Earth was completely redesigned in 2016 and is now fully web-based which means it will work on any device (including Chromebooks). Make sure you check out the “voyages” and the “I’m feeling lucky” button! Check it out!

Tip: How do you use Google earth to teach? Here is an idea for every subject area

2. Google Lit Trips

If you are an ELA teacher, this is for you! Lit Trips are interactive tours that map out familiar works of literature. Allowing students to explore a lit trip gives them context for the setting of the story they are reading. My personal favorite is 🦆 Make Way for Ducklings (I have 5 kids, so I’ve read this one a few times!)

Tip: Lit Trips can be loaded into Google Earth and “assigned” via Google Classroom

3. Tour builder

If you are excited about Lit Trips, you’ll be interested in Tour Builder! This free tool will let you and your students build your own interactive world tours. Tours can be long or short and contain images, links, video, and text. Here’s an middle school tour of Egypt, and a high school tour of the American Revolution.

Tip: Ask our students to create a virtual trip! Here are some resources to help you design your lesson!

4. Earth Viewer

This free Chrome app by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will help students understand our changing planet. Adjust the slider in Earth Viewer to view the physical and atmospheric conditions of our planet. You can see how temperatures and CO2 levels have risen and how the the contents have shifted over time. This is a great tool for environmental and earth science courses.

Tip: if you have Chromebooks you can You can install the Chrome App here.

5. Earth view from Google Earth

This is a Chrome extension that will change your new-tab page to a stunning view of the earth. I use this extension and enjoy the visual beauty it adds to my browsing experience. You can install it here.

6. Google Expeditions

These virtual field trips are designed to be experienced in virtual reality using Google Cardboard or a similar VR viewer however you CAN run expeditions on iPads and Chromebooks using the Expeditions app for iOS or Android. Learn more here.

Tip: This “secret” spreadsheet lists all of the expeditions that are currently available

7. Out of this world

While the earth is pretty cool, there are other planets to explore! Here are a few tools related to the solar system and beyond:

  • Scale of the Universe - this is a fascinating website (you’ll have to enable flash to get it to work) that show the scale of things as small as an atom and as large as the universe.
  • 3D Solar System Simulator - a simple website that shows the orbits of the planets and their moons. There’s a lot more going on out there than you might think!
  • 3D Solar System Web - Take a tour of the 8 planets (sorry Pluto) and learn about each one!
  • Sun Lab - this virtual lab was created by NOVA to help students practice scientific observation.
  • Planetarium - an interactive simulation of the night sky (without the need to stay up until 3am!)