Monday, August 15, 2011

Google Earth's Flight Simulator in Social Studies - #AdobeEduAwards

This is another entry on my coverage of the Adobe Education Exchange contest. You can read more about the contest and how to participate here. I wanted to share with you the type of lessons that people are submitting to the exchange when they enter the contest. Take a look at this awesome lesson from Tom R. Chambers that uses Google Earth and its flight simulator and Photoshop to motivate students to study history and geography.

Here is one example he gives using the Nile River:

"It is considered to be the longest river in the world, and it's associated with irrigation by the Egyptians as far back as 4000BC. The source of the Nile and its life-giving floods was a mystery for centuries. Ptolemy held that the source was the "Mountains of the Moon," and the search for these and for the origin of the Nile attracted much attention in the 18th and 19th centuries. And of course, Cleopatra and her people were associated with the river.

Take the above facts/situations, and build a lesson plan around them by having the students explore the Nile River via Google Earth and the flight simulator to get a sense of how long the river is. Actually have them fly at a low altitude to follow the bends and twists of the river. As they fly, they can hit the space bar to pause the flight to take notes, perhaps, on what else they see."

You can find another example of using Google Map's flight simulator with Photoshop by checking out his lesson.  If you like what he has done, don't forget to leave a comment and rate it using the stars like I did.

Tom has a chance to win some great prizes because he decided to share is awesome lesson with teachers on the Adobe Education Exchange. You could also be in the running for great prizes. Join the Adobe Education Exchange and submit a lesson. Pass it around to your friends so they can join up and vote for your lesson. Check out my last post for more details.

Full Disclosure: Adobe is a sponsor of The Nerdy Teacher.


  1. Last year I used the flight simulator to fly along the Silk Road from Xi'an China to the Mediterranean Coast. Students certainly got an understanding of the dangerous and LONG journey merchants traveled to trade goods, even if they didn't travel the whole distance.
    I would however recommend maybe making a tour recording instead if time is an issue. To test it out I had them flying by themselves and most of them had trouble doing that, let alone recording what they were seeing.

  2. As you travel around medieval England you will come across a sport described by some contemporaries as 'abominable ... more common, undignified and worthless than any other game, rarely ending but with some loss, accident or disadvantage to the players themselves'. This is football.
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