My first instructional goal was to use available experts to develop a virtual tour of area national parks and historical places. I want my students to have respect for the environment and our past. I want them to know the cultural connections we have locally. I live in Appomattox, VA, an important place in our country’s history. Surprisingly, most people have never heard of it or know its significance. Appomattox was the place where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Civil War General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant (real name Hiram Ulysses Grant) to end the Civil War, the one that took place here in the United States. Appomattox is where our country was reunited.
I found out that the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox (this is a new museum, again surprising I know) was having a teacher field day fair with many local national parks and historical sites’ experts on hand and giving away free goodies. Wow! I was excited about free stuff. I never have the opportunity to take my students on a field trip because I am an art teacher and have a full day’s schedule with all grade levels. My interest was high because I had a personal interest in outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, canoeing and participating in these activities with my son. As a teacher, I could finally take my students on a field trip, teach them about Howard Gardner’s (2008) respectful and ethical minds and have an amazing idea for my Google Earth project.
The experts from the parks and sites provided me with wonderful information. They are knowledgeable, giving, and talented. They provided me with kid friendly resources from sites like http://www.inaturalist.org/ and cool eco art and science projects from the James River State Park. The community of Farmville has High Bridge State Park with access for walking, hiking, biking, and bringing pets and children. They also have the Moton School Museum which has historical significance in Civil Rights. Not long ago Farmville’s county, Prince Edward blocked desegregation in the schools. In 1959, they closed all public schools and did not reopen until 1964. Private opportunities were offered for whites but not blacks. It is important to understand our history so we do not repeat injustices and find out the results of the dissolution of free, public education. It is important to value and relate to other people.
To be ethical, one must model good work and be a responsible citizen of the world. One of the projects shown to me was explaining fertilizer run- off to kids and many of the parks have animal and plant educations so we may protect and respect the environment we all share –the Earth. Google Earth has so many tools to explore respect and ethics but it is also accessible and fun for kids of all ages.
Everybody gets to go on the field trip Google Earth Style. Must must have Google Earth on your computer to play this download.
References:Gardner, H. (2008). Five minds for the future. Boston, MA: Harvard Business.
References for Google Earth Field Trip