Google Earth Scavenger Hunt

This is the last week of school for me, and I wanted to give the 3rd graders an engaging challenge. Since many teachers are fond of scavenger hunts at the end of the year (search throughout the classroom/school/latest copy of Scholastic News for Kids), I decided that it might be fun for them to search the world for famous landmarks and places.

So I opened up a word document, fired up Google Earth, and created a simple 8 question scavenger hunt. I didn’t want to make it too difficult since it was meant to be more of an entertaining tour around the world, rather than a brain-busting puzzle. Most of the clues are homophones that are borderline corny (Get an eyeful of this tower in Paris, France), but like I said, these are 3rd graders. I put all of the clues in a table so I could squish them small enough to fit two scavenger hunt sheets on one piece of paper (always trying to save the school district a few dollars), and then came around with a marker to check off each landmark as they found it. While many of the clues were absurdly easy to find (Mt. Rushmore, the White House, Great Wall of China), a few clues had the kids stumped (Great Pyramids, Mackinac Island), so they happily used up a good 30 minutes traveling around the globe.

For those that found all 8 locations before time was up I made up a Google Earth “Geo-Explorer” badge over at, and printed off a bunch of copies. Much to my surprise, many of them taped their badge to their shirts and promptly started helping other students find the harder locations. Many others simple ignored the badge, which was fine by me as I was more interested in seeing how they were searching in Google Earth. Some would type in words directly from the clues, while others would try to figure the clues out, and search for a general location first (like flying to Washington D.C.), and then looking for the specific landmark (the White House). I’ve made note of it for next year when introducing the different ways to search for places using Google Earth.

If you’re looking for something to do these last few days of school, feel free to download and print off the attached copy of my Google Earth Scavenger Hunt. It would work well for 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade.

Google Earth Scavenger Hunt Worksheet


  1. I also have to say, great idea, and I can see doing the same thing on a State, and city level.
    Perhaps you’re planning a “US” scavenger hunt for when school starts up???

    AND……..11 comments???? Now see if you can get these folks to POST!!!!!

  2. My kids are just going into 5th and 6th but it is still agreat idea for them. I was just thinking if it would be relevant to teach my 10 year old about the parts in a PC. I was a Master CNE and an MCSE and I built hundreds and hundreds of servers. I figured it would be a waste of time because PC’s are so much a commodity now. But Google Earth and information scavenging on the internet is really a worthy thing to teach kids.

  3. I was really interested in reading about your Google Earth scavenger hunt. This is a good way to help the students learn where important landmarks are, or even introduce how to use a map. I know your students loved working with something new and using a scavenger hunt to find the different places. This can be used as a tool to show different places while studying current events, or geography. Having different means of visuals, auditory tools, and hands-on activities broadens the students sense of whatever is being studied. Thank you so much for sharing this unique educational tool.

  4. Great Idea – I will be using this…but asking my middle school students key in the geographic coordinates for that location once they find it. Go to Tools> Grid to turn that feature on. I get more and more out of this program…and tell other teachers it is all about the layers!
    thanks again!

  5. Thank you – the scavenger hunt looks great – I’ll try it out this week. The badge-making site is fun, too!

    1. Lieve Ineke, Ed, Don, Michael en rest van de bemanning.Het eetsre gedeelte, de aanloop, zit erop.Ed zal wel zeggen dat jullie nu ingeslingerd zijn.Jullie weten nu ook wat een zee en een oceaan is en ook wat die met je lichaam kan doen.Jullie avonturen lezen we elke keer weer met veel belangstelling.Dat zal nu wel even iets rustiger worden als jullie aan de grote overtocht beginnen naar de Caraefben.Geniet nog even lekker van de Canarische eilanden en ook met de rest van jullie familie.We wensen jullie een goede en veilige overtocht.We horen weer van jullie vanuit Martinique?(of ergens anders)Henk en Agnes.

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