Behold, a quick tip for helping students with geography.
In seventh grade social studies in Ohio, there is a significant amount of curricular energy spent helping students wrap their geographically self-centered minds around foreign lands. Since a lot of what I did with geography was based on different activities with Google Earth, my students were accustomed to manipulating the controls to pan and zoom into different locations.
I began each lesson, however, with a little trick. Before class, I zoomed out to a world-view level and gave the globe a slow spin. It was always a cool effect for when I finally pulled the Google Earth application to the front. It gave it that national-nightly-news-corner-graphic-kind-of-feel.
Then, before I walked away and let the kids teach themselves, I’d give the “earth” a quick spin. From a cognitive analysis, there is a lot of thinking that goes on for a student to bring a flying globe to a sudden stop, then to rotate, pan, and zoom to a perspective she or he is familiar with. I loved watching the Social Studies Synapses firing in their brains or listening to the, “No, that’s the southern tip of the Persian Gulf!” heckles coming from the analyzing 12-year-old audience.
Sure, it’s nothing fancy. But it is a step over Miss Bliss pulling down the wall maps and having Jessie point to Greece.
Click here to see what students see: Spinning Earth