The geckos of Grade 5C explored the different explorers and their expedition routes in their first unit of Inquiry – ‘Explorations’. While exploring the expedition routes of early explorers, the students did extensive research to understand the tools used by them to navigate. During one of the learning engagements, students shared their reflection on the earliest navigation methods which involved observing landmarks, watching the direction of the sun and stars or watching constellations to mark their position or determine directions. In order to understand the expedition routes of the explorers, we looked for online ‘Atlas’ and many other tools for map pointing. However, the biggest challenge was to do an online map pointing where the students could identify and show the expedition routes of their explorers physically.
As we delved into the inquiry, the idea of using Google Maps occurred and we started exploring its different features. No wonder, Google Maps has changed the way we navigate around the world! With its various features, one has the option of identifying different locations, using the marker option, one can locate a place and using the draw a line option one can draw routes and even measure distances between different locations. As a teacher, Google Maps helped in showing to the learners physically the expedition routes of the early explorers through the medium of online classes. Though initially being sceptical about the fact that whether the students will get a hang of map pointing using Google Maps, it was an absolute surprise to find out that the students came up with their own explorations of Google Maps. They showed a lot of interest in Google Maps and Google Earth and took the class for a virtual tour of deep seas, location of different explorers, 2D and 3D views of the places. The geckos exuberantly showed the 3D view of The Gaudium school campus as well. Needless to say, the learners really enjoyed this online map pointing activity.
The activity though initially seemed challenging to do online was even more interesting and unique. It fascinated the geckos and kindled the interest in the Unit of Inquiry. We cannot agree more with the quote mentioned below:
Exploration is curiosity put into action. – Don Walsh