Real World Math: Using Google Earth in the Math Curriculum

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 by kjarrett 2 Comments

realworldmathGood morning everyone, With the recent release of Google Earth 5, which now includes the ocean, sky and Mars, I thought it was a good time to pass along this terrific resource that I heard about from Richard Byrne (webmaster of via Twitter. Real World Math: Using Google Earth in the Classroom is a terrific, visually stunning website by Thomas J. Petra that is rich with ideas and well-thought-out lessons in the following categories (quoting directly from the site):

  • Concept lessons will use Google Earth to present math topics, such as rates or scientific notation in unique ways.
  • Project-Based Learning activities will include lessons that will require the collaborative efforts of students in pairs or groups.  These lessons may be of a longer duration and require additional outsource materials.
  • Measurement lessons will make extensive use of the ruler tool in Google Earth to accomplish problem solving activities.
  • Exploratory lessons will follow non-traditional math topics such as fractals, topology, or modern geometry.

The projects and math involved here (at least for the several I viewed) are decidedly middle school (possibly upper elementary/G&T) and higher, so keep that in mind, but the lessons are extremely well written, his support files (including .KMZs of course) are excellent, and he’s got links to both NCTM and NETSS standards. How can you go wrong? If you are a math teacher and you’ve been thinking about using Google Earth, this site provides an excellent starting point. Hope this helps! -kj-