Pen Pals Pass the Pacific – Google Earth

Target Student Group: Third and Fourth Grade Students

Goal of Lesson:

The goal for this lesson is for students to gain understanding of their differing communities by exploring Google Earth. Students will study the map and formulate questions to ask their pen pal, and formulate statements that they would like their pen pal to know.

Student Instruction:

As you all are aware, we have some new friends that we will be writing a letter to in a completely state. Their community is going to be very different than the one we live in. Today, we are going to explore the community our friends are in and compare it to our own. Follow this link to explore

As you explore note down any questions you might want to ask your pen pal and note things you’d want them to know about you and your community.

Use this slide and compare to take a glimpse into the Google Earth project and into this two communities that couldn’t be any more different than each other. You must completely slide to see the image matching the text.

Teacher Notes:

  • You may involve student’s more by allowing them to create an informational slide to help describe their community or highlight a specific place in their community.
  • This can be adjusted for grade level.
  • Students can be further prompted to notice terrain, landmarks, specific buildings, etc.

Featured Photo by berenice melis on Unsplash

3 Replies to “Pen Pals Pass the Pacific – Google Earth”

  1. First off, I think this is a great idea for using Google Earth to support a pen pal project. Your choice of Portland video is interesting and provides quite a contrast withMetlakatla. I live a few blocks from Old Town, so I can attest to the accuracy. We’re in sad shape.

    Was it your intent to showcase the dystopian condition of Portland? If so, you might want to add that to the context of the lesson. (The photographs of each location are quite different than the videos). PS. I like you decision to showcase the Earth project with a comparison image slider.

  2. Hi Marissa,

    Thanks for sharing this post. I love the idea of using Google Earth to help the students formulate a pen pal project. I also like that it gives them a lot of opportunities for discovery and to ask questions. I think that this type of activity could also be used in a lot of different grade levels and subject areas!

  3. Marissa this is such a great activity for honestly any grade level! I think its awesome that you have the kids look at and discover different places as well as think about questions that they could ask their pen pal!

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