Title: Map, Scale, proportion, and Google Earth

Author(s): Martin C. Roberge and Linda L. Cooper

Published: April 2010

This article is based on the concept of using sources such as Google maps and Google Earth in order to teach students proportions in terms of large and small-scale scenarios. The tools are used in a pedagogical sense, by enabling students to use what they already know about places, ratios, and measurements and apply it to real life situations where they make connections with geography and proportional reasoning calling for a higher level of thinking. So, not only are the students learning how to read a map, use its key to measure the distance between places or objects, but they are able to convert the maps measurements to real ground measurements through proportioning to get approximates of distances with a very small margin of error. This activity also forces students to look past the ideas of proportionality typically taught in the classroom by making them use their reasoning skills to come up with the basic format taught in the class and other ways that also lead to correct answers.

Question: How do can we incorporate a tool such as Google Earth into our lesson plan without it being overwhelming to our students?

In order to incorporate a tool such as Google Earth into our lesson plan we can guide our students to recognize the different types of images on the computer from different perspectives and then zoom in and out and encouraging the students to think about what words can they use in order to describe what is happening as you manipulate the picture of the object in relation to size and distance. Once the students realize the action that you are doing you can relate this to â€śzooming in and out,â€ť on a phone or computer (everyday activities), and then introduce maps of different scale factors starting out with things that are familiarâ€”such as, their neighborhood, the area surrounding their school and once they grasp the concept of proportions based on a large scale, then we can broaden the area of the map based on an entire city, then region and so forth using a smaller scale this way the students will not be overwhelmed with converting the measurements on the map with real life measurements. This really forces students to critically think and analyze each situation and also forces them to create and answer many questions on any type of picture.

Discussion questions;

- What is the relevance of using a source like Google Earth in a mathematics classroom?
- How can we adapt the activity for a younger audience (6
^{th}graders)? - How can we adapt the activity for an older audience (high school students)?
- What are some ways to access students learning using Google earth as a pedagogical tool?
- What other concepts can we have students learn by using Google earth?
- What other ties does this topic have to other fields in STEM?

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