Friday, November 7, 2008

Create a National Parks Virtual Tour

For years National Geographic has fueled my wanderlust. The images and stories in National Geographic still set my imagination on fire today just as they did 25 years ago. On the National Geographic Adventure website there is a feature titled "Best of the National Parks." This feature features images of national parks in the US along with the GPS coordinates for where each photograph was taken.

The Best of the National Parks photographs and GPS coordinates sparked an idea for a geography/ social studies project using Google Maps. Students could look through the Best of the National Parks images then use the GPS coordinates to locate each national park on a Google Map. To extend the project students could search for images and videos to add to each placemark on their maps. To complete the project students could connect their placemarks and plan a route to travel to see the national parks. Here is a sample of national parks connected on a Google Map.

To learn more about US National Parks visit the National Park Service website.

Applications for Education
Obviously this lesson idea could be used in a social studies classroom. The lesson could be extended to a science class by having the students study the effects of environmental change on the US National Parks. The melting of glaciers in Glacier National Park would be a good topic to use to include science in this project.