Take your primary school class on a tour of the continents using Google Earth


Submitted by Fiona Beal

imageGoogle Earth is one of the most amazing applications that has ever been created, in my opinion. is a free, downloadable program that can be used on any operating system with huge potential for education at all levels.  Users can explore all parts of our planet, with easy-to-navigate satellite views of the entire Earth overlayed with pictures and facts. Students love finding their own homes in satellite and street view in Google Earth.

Get started with Google Earth

  • Visit the Google Earth Home Page and download the application if you have not already done so.
  • Install Google Earth


Opening activity

When you first start with Google Earth, don’t give any instruction except that those who are successful in completing your opening task can help those who are struggling. If you have never done this before ask your students to find their home or school in street view as their first task.

A co-operative learning activity to learn about Google Earth

Place the learners in pairs and assign each pair a beginner tutorial to view and report back on to the rest of the class.  These beginner tutorials can be found at: 

http://www.google.com/earth/learn/beginner.htmlThey consist of short YouTube videos of 2-3 minutes on the following topics:

  • Street View
  • 3D Trees
  • Historical Imagery
  • Navigation
  • Searching for Places
  • Drawing and Measuring
  • Placemarks and Tours
  • Exploring Mars, Moon and Sky
  • Moon in Google Earth
  • Sharing Google Earth screenshots
  • Tour Guide

  • After listening to the report backs sum up what the students have learnt by reviewing the information on the following site called ‘Getting to know Google Earth’ :


    1. Search panel – Use this to find places and directions and manage search results. Google Earth EC may display additional tabs here.
    2. 3D Viewer – View the globe and its terrain in this window.
    3. Toolbar buttons – See below.
    4. Navigation controls – Use these to zoom, look and move around. See ‘Using the Navigation Controls’.
    5. Sign in with your Google account –  When you sign in, you can share to Google+ or email what you’re viewing in Google Earth.
    6. Street View – Zoom in to the map then drag the pegman to view street-level imagery.
    7. Places panel – Use this to locate, save, organize and revisit placemarks.
    8. Search in Places – Find your places quickly by searching for them.
    9. Layers panelUse this to display points of interest.
    10. Tour Guide – explore interesting places around the world

    Take the class on a tour of the continents

    This is a fun activity to do with your class allowing them to work individually following the instructions and filling in the answers on a worksheet. The worksheet can be found at: Go on a world tour of the continents using Google Earth. Before starting show your class how to do a Printscreen and paste it into a document as several of the questions will require this.

    Further reading

    1. Google Earth Home page
    2. Google Earth for educators site
    3. The Best Resources For Google Earth Beginners Like Me
    4. Charity Harbeck’s Google Earth resources
    5. Google Earth for Educators: 50 Exciting Ideas for the Classroom

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