Saturday, July 27, 2019

Changes Coming to the Popular GeoGuessr Geography Game

GeoGuessr is a fun geography game that I've been playing and sharing with others for the last six years. As I wrote back in 2014 GeoGuessr is a great game to have students play to spark their imaginations and lead them to making inquiries about interesting places all around the world. Yesterday, I was preparing an outline for a digital geography workshop that I'm leading in a few weeks and I visited the GeoGuessr website to see if there was anything new to note. It turns out that there is a significant change coming.

According to the announcement on the GeoGuessr homepage, after the summer GeoGuessr will be expanding their fremium pricing model. This will mean that there will be a limited amount of games available for free and you'll need to be a pro subscriber to create your maps and games. A screenshot of the announcement is included below.
Click to view full size.
The announcement is kind of vague, but it seems that at a minimum there will be fewer games available to free users moving forward. How limited is to be determined. Hopefully, there will still be enough games to keep students interested long enough to spark their curiosities about interesting places around the world.

Sharks in Street View!

On Friday morning I shared a few good resources for learning about sharks. Another neat way for students to learn about sharks is through the Google Earth voyage titled Searching for Sharks in Street View. This is a seven part voyage created with imagery captured by The Ocean Agency. The voyage takes viewers to seven underwater locations around the world to view sharks in their natural habitats.

Each section of Searching for Sharks in Street View contains information cards that tell readers about the types of sharks they're seeing, where they live, and the threats to that type of shark. Take a look at sharks in Street View right here.

Applications for Education
Searching for Sharks in Street View is a nice way to start learning about sharks through Google Earth. To dive deeper into learning about shark habitat and movement, use one of Google Earth files about shark tracking that you can find through a quick Google search for "shark tracking" that is refined by file type to .KML.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lewis & Clark in Google Earth - And Lesson Plans for K-12

This morning while browsing through Google Earth looking for a resource about sharks for Shark Week (I found it) I came across a Google Earth voyage about Lewis and Clark.

The Google Earth voyage titled Explorers: Lewis and Clark contains twelve multimedia placemarkers documenting the outbound and return journey of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Each stop in the voyage contains a gallery of pictures and or videos related to significant landmark on the expedition. The placemarks are displayed on the righthand side of the screen while the map is displayed to the left. You can drag the Google Earth Pegman to the map to see each of the locations in Street View instead of just in satellite imagery. Explorers: Lewis and Clark was constructed using media from the PBS series about the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Lesson Plans
The Smithsonian's Lewis and Clark page offers lesson plans for elementary grades and middle school grades. The elementary school lesson plan is titled Animal Encounters. Animal Encounters is a two part lesson in which students draw pictures and write descriptions of the animals Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey.

DocsTeach offers a detailed activity for high school students to complete by analyzing documents and maps related to Lewis and Clark's expedition. You can customize the activity for your students by creating a free DocsTeach account and then making an editable copy of the activity.

How to Design Posters and Print Them With a Standard Printer

I got my first "back to school" email this week which was a jolting reminder of just how quickly time flies during summer break. The "back to school" email that I received was from a classroom supplies and classroom decorations vendor. While I don't have a free alternative to glue sticks, pushpins, and paperclips, I do have an alternative to purchasing posters to display on the walls of your classroom. That alternative is to use Canva to design a poster and Block Posters to print the poster using a standard printer with standard size paper.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about using the combination of Canva and Block Posters. I made the following video to illustrate how easy it is to use this combination of tools.

Three Good Resources for Shark Week

This Sunday is the start of Discovery's annual Shark Week. A couple of weeks ago I shared SciShow Kids' Super Sharks lesson. That's a nice lesson for elementary school students. If you're looking for something for older students, take a look at the following resources.

The Global Fishing Watch map includes an animated layer that displays the movement of tagged sharks off of the east coast of the United States. The map contains records for 45 tagged sharks. You can find shark tracks by clicking on one of the small placemarkers on the map. When you select a shark you will see the entire path of travel for that shark. The timeline slider at the bottom of the map lets you select a timespan for the tracking of the shark. The play button on the timeline will replay the travel of the shark in the Atlantic ocean.

National Geographic has just released a new video titled Sharks 101. The video covers five key facts about sharks including the basics of shark size, the number of teeth a shark goes through in its life, the hyrdodynamic design of sharks, shark reproduction, and shark conservation. The video, particularly the section on shark conservation (staring at 3:43 in the video), does include images that some viewers might find disturbing.


Why Are Sharks so Awesome? is a TED-Ed lesson about sharks. This lesson is a bit more detailed than the National Geographic Sharks 101 video. The TED-Ed lesson delves into the physiology of sharks and the role of sharks as apex predators in the ecosystem.