I love maps. There are tons of great mapping resources out there: Google Earth, Maps, and Streetview to name a few. Google MyMaps is another one that allows us to annotate pretty significantly.
When I first rolled out MyMaps to my middle school social studies classes, one student went home and immediately traced out the 50 states!
Wow, I wish I had that kind of time and energy!
MyMaps has been well received as a useful tool in my social studies classroom for increasing our understanding of geographic factors on historical events. As you have probably gathered, I could go on and on about MyMaps… but this post focuses on using these awesome Geo tools in a little different way supported by Google’s Applied Digital Skills program.
This school year I have been using Google’s Applied Digital Skills program to teach my Social Studies students. I began with the If-Then Adventure Story Lesson and remixed it with a geeky-process of creating our own app about the Ellis Island Immigration Process. Next, I taught students about researching with trusted content by using the Research and Develop a Topic Lesson.
When my classes studied World War 1, I used the Guide to an Area Lesson to pre-teach the content. Rather than guide a random area of interest, this lesson was remixed to support research and a geographic understanding of Places and Events that were significant to our study of World War 1. We used Lesson 1 and Lesson 4 to gather data in a spreadsheet (Lesson 1) and import the data into a Google MyMap (Lesson 4). Lesson 2 and 3 are great but time was an issue and I needed to modify the accordingly.
Here are the particular steps I gave my students to adopt the Applied Digital Skills Lesson as a relevant resource in my classroom.
To begin have students…
- Go to the Applied Digital Skills website.
- Log in
- Select “I am a Student”
- Enter this course code: __________
- Begin the “Guide to an Area Lesson”
Students completed Videos 1 and 2 and when they got to video 3 they modified their spreadsheet using my notes.
Video 3 NOTES
- TITLE your Spreadsheet: “Guide to an Area: World War 1 Places and Events”
- Column Headings: Location/Event Name, Address, Description, Category, Date, Source 1, Source 2, Google Maps URL
- YOU NEED to identify information for the locations/events provided in class, with a MINIMUM OF ONE EVENT PER YEAR FROM 1914-1919. Use your Prentice Hall: America History of Our Nation (textbook) pages 706-711, the map on page 719, and page 724. For example, page 707 starts with the “Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.”
- Continue to find detail about each location through a Google Search. Keep track of your sources in the Sources columns. Every event must have two sources.
- Continue to Lesson 4 in Applied Digital Skills.
Completed steps for Video 3 look something like this:
I had to have conversations with my students about spreadsheet cells and how text is “hidden” when not wrapped. Students then followed the steps in Lesson 4 about how to “Make a Custom Map” which explained the process of importing the spreadsheet into Google MyMaps.