Google Earth has obvious connections for social studies: visit the locations you’re studying and find out all kinds of things about their physical geography. Another very popular way to use Google Earth for social studies lesson is to create a “tour” — that is, a series of locations with information added. You can save these and use them repeatedly, or share them with others online.
There are a number of sites with Google Earth tours of Ancient Egypt:
- Google Arts and Culture exhibit on Ancient Egypt
- The Pyramids of Giza.
- Archaeology of Lower Egypt gives you a map with many Placemarks. Click on each for a ground-level photo and detailed information.
- Pyramids is written in Russian, but you can use the auto translator and add some good writing practice by having students edit it. There are nice photos of the pyramids.
- Digital Karnak has lots to explore. My favorite is the Timemap, which allows you to look at a single location, slide the arrow of time to different time depths, and see the ways it changed. There are also videos and PDF teacher’s guides. The videos are silent so you can discuss what you’re seeing.
Here are some more ideas:
- Make an illustrated map. Find photos or create illustrations showing the things you’ve learned about Egypt and place them on a map. Get the region you’re working on in your window and choose “Add” from the top toolbar. Within “add,” choose “photo” and browse to find the image you want from your file. Click on it. Now you can alter the size in the section called “field of view”. I also like to make the images slightly transparent: simply move the lever from “opaque” toward “transparent till you can see the map through the image. When students are satisfied with their maps, they can save the image and print it out. This project gives students practice with research and also a good technology lesson, and the prints can make an excellent bulletin board display or illustration for a project board or report.
- Create a path. Use the path icon or Add>Path (that is, the “path” option on the menu you see when you click on “add” in the toolbar) to show movement of people and things across the world. When you select “path” a pane will open that lets you name your path, choose its size and color, and otherwise customize the path. Leaving this pane open, click on the starting point for your path and then on the stopping points along the way. This is a great way to show trade routes, or the route taken by raw materials on their way to becoming consumer goods. Add illustrations as described above.
- Combine Google Earth with SketchUp. Create pyramids, boats, or other structures and objects with SketchUp and add them to your maps.