With distance learning underway for the remainder of the year, it may seem daunting to figure out how to provide meaningful content digitally in all subject areas. Research already indicates that social studies education is marginalized when class is in session, so I wanted to provide an easy way for educators to incorporate social studies digitally during this time. In listening to all of you on social media, it became clear that there was definite interest in a virtual field trip to the 7 natural wonders of the world. I originally was just focusing on creating a field trip for upper elementary and middle school, but you all shared with me that a lower elementary version would be greatly appreciated. So, I am happy to share with you this wonderful labor of love.
What is a virtual field trip?
A virtual field trip is an opportunity for students to learn about and virtually experience a significant geographic location. In this case, students will gain key understanding about the 7 natural wonders of the world through informational text, short video clips, and 360 degree views using Google Earth.
What are the 7 natural wonders of the world?
Seven Natural Wonders is an organization that was created with the mission of protecting and promoting the natural wonders of the world. In this virtual field trip, students will learn about and virtually explore the following:
Mount Everest, Nepal
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Northern Lights, Alaska
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Victoria Falls, Africa
What will students learn?
Students will learn key facts and features of each location. Students will look at the history and original inhabitants, will learn about wildlife, man-made features, and will learn about the impacts of climate change, among other things.
What is the difference between the Grades 2-3 and the Grades 5-8 version?
In the upper elementary or middle school version, each location includes a one page reading passage to build background knowledge. The question sheets go more in-depth and have higher level thinking questions. In the lower elementary version, visuals and informational text are integrated into the slides. There are fewer weblinks, but I carefully chose each video and 360 degree view. In the lower elementary version, each natural wonder includes just two short answer questions for students to "show what they know."
Is this activity standards-based?
Yep. I have aligned both versions to the Washington State Social Studies Learning Standards. The Grades 5-8 version is also Common Core aligned. You can view the list of standards for Grades 5-8 in the description, here. If you are curious the specific standards for Grades 2-3, check them out here.
How do my students complete this activity?
These virtual field trips are Google Compatible. I have included a specific access link that allows you to share the Google Slides with your students through Google Classroom. Students will complete these digitally. Students can type onto the pages, and submit their work without needing to print out anything. Your students will need internet access to complete this assignment. Google Earth can be accessed through Chrome or through the app on a tablet or phone. The 360 degree views are accessible through both a desktop, phone, or tablet.
Interested in checking out these and my other virtual field trips?
Visit the top 5 most visited National Parks.
Here's what educators are saying about my virtual field trips:
"This resource was very helpful for distance learning. A fun virtual field trip for the kiddos that are stuck at home. Thank you!!!!!" --Santia Costa
"This resource was very well received by my students and their parents. It was fun and easy for them to work through. Absolutely worth the download." --Taryn F.