Google Earth 6: a New Tool for Your Classroom


As a Google Earth Pangaean, I had the opportunity to try out Google Earth 6 early. Now you can have it too! Go to Google Earth and download the new version. The view is better, the trees are quite realistic, and you can really feel that you are visiting the places you fly to.

If you haven’t used Google Earth before, this is an excellent time to start. Visit Google Earth for Educators and our Google Earth in the Classroom ideas.

Then try out this new lesson plan with the book If the World Were a Village: A Book about the Worlds People. This lesson will not only increase global awareness, but also allow you to try out the features of Google Earth and get to know the program.

The book begins with the world’s total population. “Numbers this big are hard to understand,” author David J. Smith acknowledges. “But what if we imagined the whole population of the world as a village of just 100 people?”

The next pages look at the populations from each ocntinent: 61 of the people would be from Asia and only 1 from Oceania. Use Google Earth to fly around the world, visually identifying the continents.

“More than half the people in the global village come from the 6 most populated countries.” Fly to these six nations with Google Earth and notice the shapes of the nations and the major cities shown on the map.

The next pages introduce languages. Fly to New Delhi by typing New Delhi into the search box at the upper left of the screen and turn on the Street View. You’ll see the names of many things written in Hindi as well as your own language. Click on the squares to see photos of the town, noticing the signs.

Continue to the pages on Ages. Read the data there and then visit the Earth Gallery and find “Sydney for Kids.” Explore the tour, clicking on the camera icons to see photos. Choose one and click on “Jump to Street View” to see Sydney, Australia from a kid’s point of view.

Next comes the section on Religions. Fly to several different cities in the world and look for the icons showing churches, synagogues, and other places of worship. This can give you more opportunities to try out the “Jump to Street View” feature.

Google Earth churches

The next section of the book is about Food. Fly to some cities and look for the knife and fork icon that shows restaurants. Click to see the restaurants, and then visit them in street view or visit their websites. Notice that only 37 of the people in our village have enough to eat, though. Check out our Food Traditions Lesson Plans for more ideas on this subject.

Go on to the section on Air and Water. Find and explore UNICEF’s Water and Sanitation project.

The next pages are about Schooling and literacy. Type the address of your school into the Google Earth search bar and explore. Compare it with the ABMPA middle and high school.

Money and possessions are the next topic. Use the “Find businesses” feature of the search panel to look for businesses in your community. Try searching for a bookstore in Cologne or another type of business in other towns you’ve noticed while exploring. Notice the differences in availability of goods and services in different parts of the world.

The next pages show the use of Electricity as darkness arrives in our village. Check out World Energy Consumption with a tour by Gerardo Paz.

The book ends with pages about the past and the future. Fly to your town, click the clock icon in the toolbar, and use the slider to see changes over time. Try this with some other places, too.


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