Social Studies

Learning Activity: Circumnavigation of Sir Francis Drake

Start with a flyover of Drake's voyage.  Download the .zip file containing this tour (download it here). Double clicking on the .zip file will extract the file.  Open the doc.kml file into Google Earth by double clicking on it.  You will arrive in the Drake folder.  Begin the tour at the first placemark.  The placemarks include links to the record of the voyage from a crew member on the ship.  Note: the United Kingdom's active history website includes this activity as well as five additional complete lessons around Drake's voyage, and even provides with student worksheets.  Many lessons utilize primary source documents and illustrations.  One project asks students to gather evidence on whether Drake was a hero or a villain to form their own conclusion.

Learning Activity: Create Flyover of Sir Francis Drake's Voyage

In this well organized lesson, students use the raw data from a sailor on Drake's ship to construct their own Google Earth Flyover which traces Drake's voyage. This lesson includes everything students need to create the tour and provide opportunities for extension activities as students add information (primary source from the sailor's journal) or multimedia into their placemarks. Longitude and Latitude reference points are used to plot the voyage.  Students will be proud of the project they create.

Other Lessons Plans from the Active History Site
1. Structured Questions about Drake's Circumnavigation
Students answer a series of questions based around a viewing of the Google Earth Flyover.
2. Living Graph of Drake's Circumnavigation
Students complete a "danger graph" charting key points in the journey.
3. Sir Francis Drake: Hero or Villain?
Students gather evidence for both sides of the case, then reach their own conclusion.
4. Working with Primary Sources: Text Account
Students use the primary source account of Francis Petty to build up a picture of Drake's piracy, the appearance and customs of the natives and the goods he obtained at various points on the journey.
5. Working with Primary Sources: Pictorial Account
Students examine four illustrations from a 1626 book about Drake's voyage, and try to deduce which part of the journey is described by each. Pairs of students could work on this, sitting "back to back": one student could describe the picture in front of them, whilst their partner (using the Petty Account) could try to match this to the correct event.

Learning Activity: What Do Maps Tell Us?

How has our view of the world changed over the years?  What were the misconceptions?  In the Layers window, open Gallery by clicking on the + symbol and then check on the Rumsey Historical Maps.  David Rumsey is a map historian who has optimized over 100 maps from his collection and made them available as layers in Google Earth.  To truly see the power of these map layers, you need to adjust the transparency by dragging the transparency slider under the Places window.  This allows easy comparison between the old and the new.  When you check on Rumsey Historical Maps, the Map Finder will be checked - causing compass roses show up all over the world.  Click on a compass rose to learn more about a particular map. To install a map as a layer, simply click on the map and it’s automatically loaded into your Temporary Places folder.  Items in this folder may be saved when exiting Google Earth, or you may save these map layers into a folder (see directions under the Placemarks section.)  For more information: The David Rumsey Collection

Learning Activity: Solar Job Growth

Solar energy has long been touted as a clean alternative to traditional electricity generation, but building a clean energy economy will also create jobs. Thanks to federal and state policies to support renewable energy, it's estimated that the solar industry will create hundreds of thousands of green jobs in coming years.
Based on a study by Navigant Consulting Inc., and with the help of and Google Earth Outreach, the Solar Energy Research & Education Foundation (SEREF) have developed a U.S. solar jobs map in Google Earth  Solar Job Growth

Additional Resources

Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.kmz
Historical Rome layer.kmz  
Shackleton South Pole Expedition.kmz
Interactive Quiz on Africa.kml – from My Wonderful World – a Google Earth and Geography Awareness Week 2006 For more information about the quiz visit Interactive Quiz on Africa

Michigan Content Expectations for Social Studies
Grades K-8.pdf
High School.pdf