Google Earth Lessons

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Endangered Planet Project

Grade Level: 3-5
Length:1-2 hours
Content Areas: Science, Geography
Theme: Endangered Species
Resources: Student Site links to Continents Overlay, planetarchive.org Fact Files (zipicon lesson zipped-385K), Lesson Plan

Mini Site Screenshot   Planet Arkive   Continents

Summary - In this lesson, the goal is for students to begin understanding the global nature of environmental threats by examaning the scope of species endangerment. Using the wonderful website www.planetarkive.org, students investigate animals in an effort to create a placemark on every continent on earth that describes an endangered species from that continent. The placemarks are saved into a Google Earth folder which is turned into the teacher for grading.

Discussion - This is a neat lesson that my students became very engaged in. We began by discussing the wallpapers they chose on their computers (I have Webshots installed with thousands of photos for them to choose from). We noticed that over half the class had pictures of animals as their backgrounds, and going around the room discovered that most of the animal pictures they chose were of endangered species. We discuss extinctions in general, and the extinction of Dinosaurs in particular. It is pointed out that the rate of extinction today is estimated by some scientists as being 400 times greater than it was when the dinosaurs went extinct. With that, we move to the lesson which you can find detailed on the student mini-site. 3rd Grade investigated only Mammals with Extra Credit for 'Facts', 4th Grade requires facts with Extra Credit for custom icon, 5th Grade requires 3 facts, web link andExtra Credit for custom icon.

Feel free to download the entire mini-site for hosting and modification on your own server or link to it directly off the GELessons site. If you make some nice customizations or modifications to the site, please let us know so we can share it with other teachers!!!

Extensions - The lesson only asks students to do a single animal placemark per contintent. This could be extended to one placemark for each genus per continent. Another option is having the students continue their research into the animals by finding non-copyrighted images to include in their placemarks. Creating a Class Action Plan where the students investigate their own impact on the endangerment of species and try to find ways to minimize that impact.

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