This is the 3rd and final post in a short series about a project I did with my 5th graders this year. While I won’t rehash all of the particular details of the project, the end goal was to have the students produce a useable product within Google Earth, using the resources made available through Google’s popular virtual globe software. To catch up on all of the details you can read the preceding posts linked below:
All of the fancy educational jargon and objectives behind this dream vacation planning project were fairly straight forward. I wanted the project to serve as a productivity piece, a communication tool, and a research experience. Google Earth allowed us to research various vacation spots around the globe, finding hotels, restaurants, attractions, and more. The students then created placemarks filled with all of the information they gathered including how much a night in a hotel might cost at their destination and how much air fare might be. Also included in the placemarks was a lot of information about the various sites and attractions that vacationing families might enjoy. I then had them save all of their placemarks as KMZ files (the special type of file that Google Earth uses). I collected all of these placemarks and turned them into one HUGE Google Earth file, and posted it to the Internet for them to enjoy at home, where they could show it off to parents, continue to work on it, or even “remix” the placemarks and create new files with only their favorite vacations from all of fifth grade.
In all I had nearly 200 5th graders working alone or in small groups, so there are literally dozens of vacations to look through. For all of my readers in Virginia, Vermont, and Alaska (hint, hint, you know who you are), my students would love to know what students in other states think of their work. Granted, it is their first effort, and the first time I’ve done this project, so expect it to improve for next year (source citations, and more pricing information for tight budgets), but please consider each and every one of these vacations as mini-plans or inspirations for real life family vacations. Download Google Earth if you don’t have it already, download the file below, and enjoy!