Google Maps and Street View Basic Lesson Plan for K-12



  • Use Google Maps to explore geography, terrain, cities, towns, and photographs from the street (and even snowmobile) view from around the globe.
  • Students take photos using only a Web browser and computer (No camera!) to explore and document cultures around the world, including what they wear, drive, eat, buy, drive, landmarks, cultural icons, businesses, historic buildings, etc.
  • Parents, community members, and students who have lived around the world give visual tours of their home towns

Tools Needed: Web browser. High Speed Internet connection

New 3D views

Short Street View Overview

Teacher Prep

Google Maps is a Web site that uses the same information as Google Earth. Unlike Google Earth, Google Maps does not require downloading software. Google has worked out deals with the world’s governments and industries to access their map information for street, typography, weather, distance, and satellite photos into one interface on the Web.

Lets start with a peak at Street View, then we’ll get into all the aspects of Maps

Google has hired cars, people and even snowmobiles to drive around the world taking photos with special 360 degree cameras. They started with cities and are now into smaller and smaller towns. Here’s a Photo of Google Camera Car and Also See the Wikipedia entry on Street View for current mapped places,.

Whenever you’re in Google maps you can drag the “little man icon” above the zoom bar on the left over to any map. If streets turn blue, you can use street view. Your view will change to a photo from the street. Click the photo, then double click, drag, and use the arrow keys to explore.

Ok, now lets start to go through the various other parts of Google Maps

Go To:

  1. Type in “Brattleboro VT”
  2. Explore the tools you see on the screen by clicking on everything you can FEARLESSLY for a few minutes.
  3. Click on “Maps”, “Terrain” and “Satellite”
  4. Click on the left slider bar to zoom in and out. Click and drag the map
  5. Find some town landmarks, your house, school, work.
  6. Try “more” and all the buttons and imagine what government/business data sources Google is accessing
  7. Explore “by walking” “by car” near “directions”
  8. Do the “directions from you house to your school and notice it has the distance and you can drag the blue line to change the path and distance.

Lesson ideas

Foreigner Visit

Foreign parents/students/guests: Teacher uses a projector with Google Maps to “drive” while the guest talks to students about where they are from, went to school, lived, etc. while the teacher shows on the big screen. The teacher uses the projector because that way they can controls things while the guest talks and the guest doesn’t have to know how to use Google Maps at all.

After the short tour of the visitor’s home, students get their laptops out and find their home, and try and figure out when the photo was taken, how far they are from school exactly, etc.

Map Quest

Students use Street View to shoot photos as if they had traveled in person with a camera.


  • Show students Street View of something exciting like Tokyo Japan
  • Show students the cars that take the photos so they understand that the photos are not of everything, only where the cars have driven so far.

Teach them to take a screenshot of anything they see on their screen

  • PC: Windows 7, use the “Snipping Tool” which can be found in the  Start Menu/All Programs/Accessories. Or use the key “Print Screen”, then open the Accessory “Paint” and “Paste” then Save to hard drive.
  • MAC: Press Shift + Command and the number 4. The cursor changes to a cross. Drag the cross down and the left, let go, and the screenshot will be on your desktop.

Quest ideas

  1. Find famous landmarks and take photos
  2. Find your house and take a satellite photo
  3. What time of day and year the photo was taken, by the shadows and weather.
  4. How was are the satellite photos taken, who took it? Where did they take it from?
  5. What year? can you tell by any landmarks?
  6. Where’s north?

Other resources

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