Introduction to Google Maps

Maps are awesome. I've been using Google Maps for a couple years and I'm always finding ways that maps are a useful way of visualising and synthesising information. I had a number of standards in our earth science unit that would be best understood through collaborative maps. In other words, students approached this like a jig-saw and mapped out anomalies that supported the theory of plate tectonics. Here was the product that my students created in a one hour session:

Eventually, this resource will support our student's summative assessment later, but this was a great way of supporting the following standards in NGSS:

  • Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
  • Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
  • Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • Develop a model to describe unobservable mechanisms.
  • Develop and/or use a model to generate data to test ideas about phenomena in natural or designed systems, including those representing inputs and outputs, and those at unobservable scales.

Getting Started: 

  1. Go to "Google My Maps" and create a new map. 
  2. Put the map on a third party site so students can access this or give them a shortened URL.
  3. Model the features either by yourself or a video. I have found providing a checklist of skills nice and giving students time to play is good. For the above, the checklist of skills was:
    1. Add a place mark
    2. Change a place mark's color
    3. Write a summary on a place mark
    4. Embed a picture on a a place mark. 
    5. Draw a polygon. 
  4. Once students have finished, give them access with the "sharing" setting. Although Google Maps are shared like Google Docs, you will not see edits to maps until refreshing your page. 

Share settings. Consider turning off access after class so students won't delete one another's work. 

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