An Intro to Google Earth Scavenger Hunt

By: Kaila Miller



Students will use Google Earth to answer a series of questions. These questions will allow students to explore Google Earth and many of the different features it offers.

Keywords: Google Earth, Scavenger hunt


Students will fulfill the following three objectives:
-exposure to Google Earth and the information available through it.
-learn trivial facts about the United States through Google Earth
-explore and share the knowledge available through Google Earth.


Standard 1: Understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technology to report information. (SS.7.G.1)
Standard 2: Understand physical and cultural characteristics of places. (SS.7.G.2)
Standard 6: Use Global Information Systems (GIS) or other technology to view maps of current information about the United States. (SS.7.G.6)


Academic Preparation

Each student (or group of students) will need access to a computer that has the Google Earth software installed. The software is free and easy to download.


1. Open Google Earth and zoom in on the United States so the whole country fills up the screen.
2. Provide students with these directions before having them work on their on.
"On the left hand side of the screen are drop down menus titled 'Layers.' Scroll down on the options to find the 'Ocean' category and expand it (press the plus sign on the right of 'Ocean'). On the expanded menu, check the box next the 'Shipwrecks.' Answer the question on the worksheet. **Hint: To find out more about each shipwreck check the 'Wikipedia' box under the 'More' Menu. Pick your shipwreck and click on the appropriate Wiki link. **
Under the 'Gallery' menu, (after you expand it just like you did for 'Ocean') click the box next to 'Volcanoes'.
Answer the question.
Under the 'More' category, click the box titles 'Parks/Recreation.' Answer the question."
The questions are as follows:
1. Find a shipwreck and an interesting fact about a shipwreck in the Great Lakes.
2. How many volcanoes are there in the State of Oregon (according to Google Earth)?
3. Find a National Park of Wildlife Reserve near you!


To Check for students' understanding of Google Earth students will have to create their own trivia question that can be found using another layer of Google Earth. They cannot use the same layers they have used in the assignment, and will have to come up with instructions on how to find the layer and the answer to their question.

Extensions and Adaptations

Extensions: If students are learning about other topics, like weather and climate, they can answer different questions concerning those topics and specific layers on Google Earth.
Adaptations: If it is not possible to get a computer lab for the entire class, then there must be a plan B.
-If there are at least two or three computers in the classroom, divide the students into groups and have them work on the computers one group at a time.
-If there are no computers in the classroom, take screen shots of Google Earth for question 2 and 3, and for question 1 either change it completely or show the students shipwrecks that are away from the coastlines.
Students with disabilities:
Group work is an option for this exercise. If a student can not use a keyboard, for example, they can be in a group with students who can use a keyboard and they can work together.

Estimated Lesson Duration

1hr 00min