Seems like a no brainer right? Earth, science, they just go together. But Google Earth is way more than a glorified stand alone Google Map. There are so many cool and easy things to explore.
In Google Earth there are layers. Each of these layers are interesting facts, locations or events plotted on the globe. There are some pretty standard ones; roads, buildings, terrain. But there are some interesting ones that can support what you are doing in the science classroom. Here are just a few:
Cousteau Ocean World-These are points all over the globe that provide information about different marine life in their natural environment. Discover the manatees off the coast of Florida, an octopus off the coast of France, or swimming elephants in Malaysia. (Ok, those aren't marine animals but still pretty cool. Each location has a short video and links to read more about it.
State Of The Ocean-This is a very cool layer that has lots of sub layers to examine. One of the important things science teachers have to stress is why need to protect our oceans. Within this layer you can get almost up to the minute ocean observations from buoys all over the world, monitor ocean surface temperature, look at dead zones in the ocean and tons more. This layer is a great way to get kids talking about ocean protection and global climate change.
There are tons of other layers to explore. You can even turn off all the layers and just explore the ocean floor and examine continental divides, climb to the top of Mt. Everest or look at the rain forests in Brazil. If you are feeling really adventurous you can turn on the Flight Simulator and talk about the principals of flight. Oh and when you get really good, you can take the flight simulator underwater, across the ocean floor. (You can learn more about Flight Simulator here.)
Google Earth is a great program with really endless possibility for any classroom. Check out these layers and tours. And be sure to head over to Richard Byrne's blog Free Tech 4 Teachers to pick up his awesome Google Earth Guide.
How do you use Google Earth with your kids? Done something awesome? Share it in the comments!