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10 Ways to Use Google My Maps in the Classroom!

This post first appeared on edtechteacher.org
Google My Maps offers teachers and students across disciplines an ability to bring map-making into the classroom. For an in-depth look at how to create a Google My Map, please check out my previous post: Bring Map Making to Any Classroom using Google My Maps. If you are ready to discover how maps can assist in expanding learning for your students, then read on!

1) Teachers can expand a map activity outside their classroom walls.

  • My Maps allows users to import data into a map from a Google Sheet, KML file, or CSV file. Teachers can use a Google Form to collect data and then import the Form’s data into a new My Map. Teachers and students can share their form via social media and ask for information from people anywhere in the world!
Presentation Attendee Locations – In this example, I have imported data from a Google Form I shared out during a conference presentation.

2) Students can create a worldwide weather map to show earth’s weather patterns.  

  • Students can look up current weather information from specific locations across the world. They can then add those locations to their map, add the respective weather data, and create a worldwide weather map.
High Temperatures Map – In this example, the map has a collection of high temperatures from across the world for students to explore.

3) Students can look up local newspaper headlines around the world and add them to a collaborative Google Map on current events. 

  • By collecting newspaper headlines from a variety of places, students will see how various events are covered in different locations. Students can also see how the news cycle is far different in other countries than in the United States as they compare and contrast it with their own.
Newspaper Headlines – In this map, students have collected various news headlines from multiple newspapers in the United States.

4) Students can screencast their maps using a Google Chrome extension, such as Screencastify.

  • Students can use a screencast tool to capture their map and talk through the map’s markers. Students can become virtual tour guides and provide a virtual field trip.  

5) Students can open their custom map in Google Maps and use Street View to get an actual camera view of their marker.

  • After publishing their map, students can open the map in Google Maps and have access to Street View. Students can then explore the actual image of the area they are working on and not simply the location of the marker.  

6) Students can plot the movements of historic campaigns and how they impacted each region encountered.

  • History teachers can have students find the path armies took during times of war, and document how battles and stops along the way affected the area. Students can find most battlefield locations using Wikipedia.
Sherman’s March to the Sea – In this teacher-created example, the points on the map identify the various engagements undertook by Sherman’s army. Students are able to visualize the route Sherman’s army took en route to Savanna.

7) Teachers (or students) can create latitude and longitude scavenger hunts, prompting students to discover why certain places on the map are important.

  • Students can enter Latitude and Longitude points into the search bar in My Maps. Doing so allows students to locate specific points on a map and analyze the importance of the area.

8) Students can follow and track the route of explorers as they made their journeys.

  • In a social studies classroom studying the Age of Exploration, teachers can have students track the routes of explorers as they journeyed from Europe across the world. Students can mark each stop they make with a description and analysis of the location.
European Exploration Map – Found in the Google Maps Gallery – This is a great example of the potential Google My Maps has and showcases the power of sharing maps through the Maps Gallery.

9) Students can track the movements of major characters in a novel.

  • Students reading a book with characters moving throughout a non-fiction location can track their stops and document what is taking place during the journey. For example, students can document the stops of the Joad’s in Grapes of Wrath as they journey from Oklahoma to California along Route 66.
        The Grapes of Wrath – Rt. 66 Journey In this great map by Grant Sento, he uses My Maps to outline the trip of the Joad family from Oklahoma to California and all their stops in between.

10) Students can contribute their map to the Google Maps Gallery for anyone to find and use.

  • When students finish building their custom My Map, they have the ability to publish their map in the Google Maps Gallery. The gallery showcases maps created on any number of topics, from Pokemon Go gym locations to tracking Lewis and Clark’s expedition across North America. Having students publish their maps to this gallery gives them the chance to contribute to a wider audience, and potentially help someone looking for the specific information that they created in their map.
There are many more than ten ways to use Google My Maps in your classroom and I hope that this list gives you some ideas to kick off map making with your students!  If you have other ideas, share them with me on Twitter. I’d love to know how you are using Google My Maps!


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