21st Century Integration Model

Title: Mapping Where Time Begins
Subject: Social Studies
Grade Level: 6 through 8
See My Trip from Cincinnati Greenwich, a Google Earth saved file.
See Mapping Cities Chart, an example
of student project.

Lesson Summary

It is important for students to acquire the skills necessary to navigate their way around a map. This classic lesson teaches map skills such as latitude, longitude, key, and more in seven activities. Another way to step up the lesson is to include an activity integrating the free software Google Earth. Google Earth is an interactive map of the world made with satellite imagery. Students will travel the 3 dimensional world in groups, determining coordinates of cities, figuring distance between them, and answering other questions pertaining to learning these skills. Have them start at a predetermined point and travel the world collecting information, applying map skills, and finally ending in Greenwich, England.

Original Lesson Plan

Original Objectives

  • To learn how to use a grid system on a world map.
  • To use the latitude part of the global grid system to find places on the world map.
  • To use the longitude part of the global grid system to find places on the world map.
  • To use the global grid system of latitude and longitude to find specific locations on a world map.
  • To identify map projections and features, map scales and distances, and polar maps.
  • To identify and use the legend and map symbols.
  • To identify the meaning of type on any map.

21st Century Skills Integration Objective(s)

Students will demonstrate global awareness by using their map skills to find their way to Greenwich, England. Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills by identifying an important aspect of each city. Students will demonstrate ICT literacy and collaboration.


  1. Before Lesson: Download and install Google Earth.
  2. During Lesson: Launch the program and instruct the students on the basics of how to manipulate the Google Earth map. Make sure that under "View," toolbar and grid are both checked. You should be able to see the lines of latitude and longitude as well as a button at the top that looks like a ruler. With this they can determine coordinates and distances all over the world.
  3. Break students into groups and have them begin by identifying their home town with a push pin on the top toolbar. This will provide them with the longitude and latitude of their hometown. They may provide optional information in this dialogue box. After plotting the coordinates of their hometown and one important feature on their chart they will be asked to determine the distance between their hometown and a city of importance on the way to Greenwich. In order to determine this distance they will need to check the box next to "populated places" within the view section. Ask them to choose one of these locations and use the ruler tool to determine the distance. They will place a push pin at this location and all subsequent ones.
  4. Students will continue with this exercise until reaching their destination, Greenwich, England. At this point they will be asked to determine the total distance between their hometown and Greenwich using the "path" tool and each city visited in the above section.
  5. Have students determine why Greenwich, England is important in the context of map skills and document it on their chart.


Assess student work based on the accuracy of their Mapping Charts.