Google Earth Lessons

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Lesson Organization:

Google Earth How To's - Learn how to do the basics so you are comfortable teaching with Google Earth
Student Controlled - Where the student controls Google Earth. Suitable for labs, mini-labs, home school, etc.
Teacher Controlled - Suitable for Lectures, Presentations, whole class discussions, etc.
Mini-Lessons - Lesson starters for looking at various topics
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Found or developed a Lesson that uses Google Earth? Add it here

Google Earth How-to's:

-Google Earth 101 A complete on-line course for teachers created by Quentin DSouza. Registration required. Covers everything from how to use Google Earth in developing lessons to things you can teach with Google Earth. Provides opportunities for on-line collaboration through the use of Wikis googleearthiconflashiconweblinkicon

The following series of video lessons were developed by Richard Treves at NOTES: Please note Copyright Restrictions within demos. Some of Richard's lessons require the use of support materials. Visit to download support files or to view Flash alternative.

Quicktime icon - Flying with Google Earth -Examines the controls used to get around in Google Earth
flashicon - Using Placemarks - Looks at what a placemark is and how they can be used
flashicon - GE Tips - General tips on using Google Earth
flashicon - Overlays - Shows how to lay pictures over the ground in Google Earth
flashicon - Creating Placemarks- Shows the basics of creating placemarks which can be used in lessons
flashicon - Images and the Web - Shows how to use graphics from the web in placemarks
flashicon - Images II and Publishing - More advanced image handling
flashicon- Network Links - What a network link is and how it can be used
flashicon- Network Links II - A more advanced look at how network links function
flashicon- The Art of Map Making - A definite MUST SEE if you plan on constructing complex placemark collections!! 5 Stars!

-Google Earth for Science Teachers Includes downloadable poster and 25 page manual. By Dr. Eric Fermann, Eastchester High School, EastChester NY and Steve Kluge, Fox Lane High School. googleearthiconacrobaticonzipiconweblinkiconMSWordicon
-Create and share a Google Earth Tour weblinkicon - A tour is a series of placemarks about a location or topic
-All Google Earth Keyboard Shortcuts weblinkiconMSWordiconacrobaticon - Printable synopsis of all Google Earth keyboard commands
-Creating 3D Models for Google Earth with SketchUp weblinkicon - A short tutorial on how to have your models end up in the right place.
-Video tutorial - Using JetPhoto Studio and Irfanviewflashicon to create neat picture gallery placemark collections. (18Min, 90Mb - Download as a 90Mb .zip insteadzipicon)
-Video Tutorial - Enhanced Placemarks with HTML (flashiconStreaming 17 minutes, 30Mb) download as .zip zipicon(30Mb)

Advanced Applications via the Nifty Tricks Section:
- File Browsing and FTP within Google Earth
- Creative applications of Screen Overlays
- Adding Live Cams to Placemarks
- How to colorize the pop-up ballons
- Create 3D Text placemarks (requires Elefont and Google SketchUp)
- Doodle Earth: using screenshots in layers for overlays (Requires specialized software)
- Using the GPS Visualizer resource (Requires the GPS Visualizer Network Link)

Student Controlled Lessons

NEW - World Wonders With Google Earth - Lesson Notes here, Student Page here, entire lesson zipped here (7Mb with video tutorial) . Students explore over 30 amazing landmarks around the world and create placemarks with linked photos courtesy of the WikiMedia Commons. 3rd - 8th Social Studies

NEW - The UK's Google division comes up with a series of 8 different Primary lesson plans with handouts and support documents! Lessons include: Animal Habitats, Settlements, Climate Change, Visual Arts, Exploring your Area, Development, The Romans in Britain and Chocolate and Fair Trade.

NEW - The UK's Google Division has a whole series of Secondary lesson plans in three broad categories. GEOGRAPHY: Climate Change, Fair or unfair Trade, Population, and Natural Disasters. HISTORY: The British Empire, Elizabeth and the Spanish Armada, Comparing Castles, and The Slave Trade. CITIZENSHIP: Global Issues, Fair Trade, Identitiy Race and Membership, and The EU.

NEW! - Where are you from? MSWordicon acrobaticon Personal heritage and history are explored in this lesson as students chart their histories and migrations.

NEW! - Exploring Time Zones, A Travel Experience MSWordicon acrobaticon Students investigate time zones as they take a trip halfway around the world! (The lesson plans have some excellent links!)

NEW! - The Origins of Business MSWordicon acrobaticon Global economics is investigated through the exploration of inventions and their global impact as students traverse the globe.

NEW! - Migration of Neo-Tropical SongbirdsMSWordicon acrobaticon A fascinating investigation of the migratory patterns of songbirds where students plot and chart the migration paths of birds using Google Earth and then work with advanced technology to share their findings. Submitted by Sheila Samuel.
- Battlefield Walks MSWordicon Students research battles from the U.S. Civil War, creating placemarks, overlays and even ploting troop positions with Google Earth as an integrated part of the lesson. An innovative, Standards based lesson sure to engage students! Submitted by Roy Denton.
- My Tour of Spain weblinkicon In this lesson, students use Google Earth and internet resources to plan and share their virtual vacation of Spain. The links provided make it a great Web Quest activity! Submitted by Echo Ukrainetz.
- Drake's Circumnavigation weblinkicongoogleearthiconMSWordicon A complete lesson about the circumnavigation by Sir Frances Drake. Includes lesson plans, an illustrated Google Earth placemark collection, maps and more! A free sample lesson courtesy of
- The Diamond Trade googleearthiconweblinkiconMSWordicon Another excellent lesson idea from Juicy Geography! Includes a detailed, illustrated placemark collection along with web links and teaching ideas.
- From Russia with Love weblinkicongoogleearthiconMSWordicon A placemark collection about the travails of Czarist Russia. Visit
and scroll down the page for a full interactive lesson that includes lesson plans, worksheets, resources and more!
- Endangered Planet Project zipiconweblinkicongoogleearthicon Developed by David at GELessons. Students create placemarks with details about endangered species, one (or more) per continent after doing research at
Learn U.S. States and Capitals flashiconzipiconacrobaticonweblinkicon Developed by David at GELessons. Students create placemarks of the state capitals after doing research at Includes full video tutorials for each step.
- X-TREME Geometry! Intense Triangles! flashiconzipiconacrobaticonweblinkicon MSWordicon Developed by David at GELessons. Students find ski runs and use measurement and elevation data to determine properties of right triangles. Includes full video tutorials for each step. Geometry, Geography and Geology.
-Where We Are From flashiconacrobaticonweblinkiconzipiconMSWordicon Developed by David at GELessons. Students research their place of birth and their school's location and create an image overlay arrow connecting the two. Math and Social Studies. Full Video for each step.
-Geography via Websites weblinkicon
-Intro to Longitude & Latitude (use GE rather than the maps)weblinkicon
-Investigating Earth's Surface (requires video from Discovery School)
-Investigating Wind Energy and Issues - at Juicy Geography googleearthiconweblinkicon - A fascinating look at the decision making process of placement of wind farms. Issues, decision making, scientific research and much more. A full unit's worth of resources and concepts!
-A Virtual Tour of the 1906 Earthquake in Google Earth - googleearthiconweblinkiconacrobaticonThe USGS (United States Geological Survey) has put together some fantastic resources concerning earthquakes, especially for Southern California, including a real-time Earthquake monitor network placemark. If you are studying earth processes with Google Earth, this will definately bring the dynamic nature of earth into focus for your students. There is a wealth of information about the historic aspects of the quakes. Any of the virtual tours listed will supply hours of lessons.

Teacher Controlled Lessons

NEW! - Boom Town by M.D. Harrison MSWordicon acrobaticon To quote: "This lesson has students go through a simulation to learn about value, abundance, and scarcity and asks them to consider the things that they would be willing to work very hard for." Wonderful!! Full of excellent links!

NEW! -Professional Development 1 Hour Training MSWordicon acrobaticon - This ISTE NETS aligned staff development plan, developed by S. Hansen, walks teachers through the basic implementations of Google Earth and includes a follow-up collaboration exercise.

- Montserrat Eruption Role Play - at Juicy Geography googleearthiconflashiconPowerPointiconMSWordiconweblinkicon - A full featured lesson examining decision making in crisis situations. Role playing, Cooperative Learning and more. The lesson can be enhanced further with students having their own computers/laptops, but are not required. Wonderful!

MrBarrett111 at the KeyholeBBS offers the lessons below:
-Sheltersgoogleearthicon - Includes neat graphics in the placemarks about shelters around the world
-Living in a Diverse World googleearthicon - A placemark collection that includes elements from other placemark collections
-Math in Las Vegas googleearthicon - A concept series of placemarks, can be student controlled if you develop your own worksheet.
-Math in Madrid googleearthicon - Placemark collection much like the Las Vegas lesson above
-Math, Data Handling and Time googleearthicon - Network Link Placemark for BBC BlueGhost overlays. High network demands
-Continents googleearthicon - Polygons of the continents
-Village Life in India googleearthicon - A collection of overlays and placemarks
-Shackleton's Voyage googleearthicon - Relive one of the most amazing survival adventures of all time
-Mountain Environments googleearthiconweblinkiconflashicon - A very well constructed placemark collection! Includes links to on-line videos (U.K. Residents Only), details about mountain environments throughout the world, plus a collection of essential links such as Placopedia, etc. A great research tool for students!!
-Planet Earth Digital Video - Freshwater Environments googleearthiconweblinkiconflashicon - Only for U.K. Visitors, this placemark collection has informative links to the on-line video collection by the BBC's Planet Earth Series. Even if you are not in the U.K. your students can find out about some wild and amazing freshwater creatures through the images and text in the placemarks! Hopefully PBS picks this up for the U.S. and elsewhere!

-The American Everglades flashiconacrobaticon
-Battles of the U.S. Civil War - A very densly populated placemark collection detailing the locations of every U.S. Civil War Battle! Most have links to a site with details about the battle. This collection must have taken hundreds of hours to compile! A collaborative effort of woodydeux and ericc on the Keyhole BBS.


- Grand Canyon - Earth Processes, Measurement Geology, Geography (under development)

      googleearthiconGoogle Earth .kmz Placemark Files Available
      flashiconInteractive Flash Based Lesson Available
      flashiconApple QuickTime Movie (iPod compatible .MP4 or .Mov) Available
      flashiconWindows Media Player File Available
      zipiconZip Archive of Entire Lesson Content and Materials Available
      acrobaticonPDF Lesson Documents Available
      weblinkiconLinks to Relevant Web Sites Available
      PowerPointiconMicrosoft PowerPoint Presentation Available
      MSWordiconMicrosoft Word Documents Available
      ExceliconMicrosoft Excel Spreadsheet Available
      MSAccessiconMicrosoft Access Database Available
      PublishericonMicrosoft Publisher File Available