2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 192-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


GUERTIN, Laura A. and NEVILLE, Sara, Earth Science, Penn State Brandywine, 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Media, PA 19063, guertin@psu.edu

Google Earth utilizes satellite imagery for virtual tours across the globe, from your front door to the ocean floor. Educators in grades K-12 integrate the static words found in books with the geographic locations and images available through Google Earth. Google Lit Trips are journeys from pieces of literature created by teachers and/or students in Google Earth. Place marks are set at locations where events occur from the story, and text, images, and/or hyperlinks appear in the pop-up window at each mark. The place marks are linked with the pathway tool, allowing the participant to travel on the same journey as the character(s) in the book.

Google Lit Trips are traditionally created for classic pieces of literature. However, the same concept can be applied to books that are nonfiction focusing on geoscience content. We are designing modified versions of Google Lit Trips based on books such as John McPhee’s The Control of Nature, David Montgomery’s Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, and Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. These books were selected for development as they were part of a common read for the summer 8-12 teacher program Teaching Earth System Science. The teachers enjoyed the books but were unable to purchase copies for their classrooms. By creating a Google Lit Trip for each book, complete with critical thinking questions and exercises, we are able to provide an introduction to and a visual journey of the Earth science concepts addressed in these narratives.

Another use of Google Earth is for university students to create their own ancestral journey. In Spring 2009, students in an introductory-level historical geology course participated in the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project. Students swabbed the inside of their cheeks and sent DNA in for testing. Through genetic mapping, the students learned their early migratory pathways going back to Africa 60,000 years ago. Each student created their own ancestral journey with this data in Google Earth.

Google Earth is commonly used in the geosciences for virtual fieldtrips to observe landforms and geologic features. However, Google Earth can be applied to geology through journeys contained in nonfiction literature. These Google Earth projects allow books to be accessible and available to a wide audience.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 192--Booth# 361
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach (Posters)
Oregon Convention Center: Hall A
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 499

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