Google Moon Exploration: Teachers’ Guide & Lesson Plan
Prepared by Sara Neville, undergraduate researcher, Penn State Brandywine
Focus Questions: Who has explored the moon? What kind of studies have been done? How can we understand the moon based on what we know of the earth?
Standards: Found on pgs. 3-4 of this document
Lesson Overview: Students will explore the moon using Google Earth to learn about Apollo 11, artifacts put on the moon by other countries, and the meteor crater and Biosphere 2, both in Arizona.
Connection to Curriculum: Earth and space science, U.S. and world history, geography, technology
connection from computer to projection screen at the front of the room
worksheets for students
Time Needed: 1 class period in the computer lab, plus a ten minute introduction at the end of class the day before the activity
Introducing the Lesson:
The day before students are taken to the computer lab, introduce students to the Google Earth interface (ideally by projecting it on a screen at the front of the classroom), by demonstrating how to navigate the program.
Ask if students have used Google Earth. Ask if students knew about Google Moon, Google Sky, and/or Google Mars.
Have students take notes on the demonstration to solidify their knowledge.
Demonstrate how to switch from Google Earth to Google Moon (click on the orange planet icon at the top of the program, choose Google Moon from the drop-down list).
Demonstrate zooming in and zooming out, using the compass at the top right of the screen.
Demonstrate the search tool (type in desired location in the search bar, hit enter, and destination is found).
Demonstrate the ruler tool (a good tutorial found here: http://ridgeviewms.org/young/files/2009/04/google-earth-ruler-tool.mp4; although the entire video is good, skip to 1:30).
Demonstrate what the “Layers” are, where they are found, and how to activate and de-activate them (by checking or un-checking them on the left-hand menu in Google Earth).
Developing the Lesson:
Take students to the computer lab. Students can either work in teams of 2 (at one computer, to minimize distraction) or individually depending on the availability of computers.
Before beginning, give students time to explore in Google Earth/Google Moon. After a few minutes of play, students are more focused on the activity at hand.
Distribute worksheets and have students open up Google Moon.
Guide students through which layers to check off to start the activity (Moon Gallery > Apollo Missions > Apollo 11, found on the left-hand side menu).
Complete the first question as a class. Ask questions to prompt exploratory thinking:
- Where can I find the answer to this question?
- What key words am I looking for?
- What kind of answer do I expect to find?
Encourage students to finish as much as they can, but not to speed through the exploration.
Concluding the Lesson:
With a few minutes left in class, ask students to finish up the question they are on and bring attention to front. Guide a short discussion on what they learned either about the moon, different explorations, the meteor crater, Biosphere 2, or Google Earth.
If students do not finish:
- Have them complete the worksheet for homework
- Take a second class period (or half of a class period) in the computer lab
- Grade what they have completed and take class participation/focus into account
IMPORTANT! Regarding distance questions: For some reason the measurements are not consistent on different machines: half of the computers will show one number while the other half will show another number. This activity was tested in two different classrooms and the same issue surfaced. The inconsistencies are unfortunate, but regardless, the ruler tool helps students understand spatial relationships.
National Geography Standards for Grades 9-12
The World in Spatial Terms
1. How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
3. How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface.
The Environment and Society
13. How human actions modify the physical environment.
The Uses of Geography
18. How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.
Source: National Geography Standards, Geography Education Standards Project. 1994. Geography for Life: The National Geography Standards. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society Committee on Research and Exploration.
National Science Standards for Grades 5-12
Science as Inquiry
Understandings about scientific inquiry (p. 148, 176; grades 5-12)
Earth and Space Science
Earth in the solar system (p. 160; grades 5-8)
Science and Technology
Understandings about science and technology (p. 166, 192; grades 5-12)
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Science and technology in society (p. 169; grades 5-8)
Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges (p. 199; grades 9-12)
History and Nature of Science
Science as a human endeavor (p. 201; grades 9-12)
Source. National Research Council (NRC). 1996. National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
National Technology Standards
1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
Students apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
Students interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Students locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize , and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
d. Students process data and report results.
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
Students collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
Students understand and use technology systems.
Students select and use applications effectively and productively.
Source: International Society for Technology in Education. 2007. National educational technology standards (NETS-S) and performance indicators for students.
International Society for Technology in Education. 2007. National educational technology standards (NETS-S) and performance indicators for students.
National Geography Standards, Geography Education Standards Project. 1994. Geography for Life: The National Geography Standards. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society Committee on Research and Exploration.
National Research Council (NRC). 1996. National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Lesson completed July 2010