If you gave your students a map or globe, would they be able to quickly point out the country of India? Before we can really dive into the history of ancient India, understanding the geography of this location is important. We can build some spatial perspective by using a virtual field trip to discover and explore the geographic location of India as well as geographic features of importance. Using a combination of Google Earth™ exploration, informational text, video content, and response questions, virtual field trips provide an interactive and engaging way to bring social studies to life.
Virtually Traveling from our School to India
I like to begin each virtual field trip at our school. I use Google Earth™ to type in the address of our school. From there, we "travel" around the globe to India. I prefer to start each virtual field trip at our school because this is a location that all of my students can relate. Even though many students are learning from home right now, not all students have a permanent home or address. Starting our virtual trip from school is a more inclusive way to begin our learning.
Understanding the Geography of India
I remember being really confused about the difference between Asia, South Asia, the subcontinent of India, and the country of India. I believe it is important to build an understanding of these concepts. In this virtual field trip activity, these concepts are explained and time for map skills practice is included through tracing and drag & drop activities.
The Ganges River Importance & The Indus
In this virtual field trip, students will travel to the Ganges River and the Indus River. In addition to learning about the geographic location of these rivers, how they flow, and where they empty, students will gain an understanding of the river's importance. The Indus provided agricultural benefits, and since time immemorial the Ganges River has been known as a holy river. Tying in these aspects are important to understanding ancient India.
The Himalaya Mountains
Besides hosting Mount Everest--the tallest mountain in the world, the Himalaya mountains carry ancient Indian stories of significance. Touching on one story in particular of the river god and goddess and the race to the bottom of the mountain, our students can grasp the significance of the mountains besides just offering a physical boundary of protection.
The Indian Ocean, City of Lothal & Monsoon Winds
In learning about the geography of India, it is important to note the use of maritime trade. One major port in the Indus Valley civilization was Lothal. In this virtual field trip, students view what is considered one of the oldest docks in the world using the 360-degree view features in Google Earth.
Monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean play a big role in the climate of India. In this virtual field trip, students will watch a short video that explains the dangerous monsoon winds, but also its importance to farming.
Low Prep & Ready to Go
While this might seem like an extensive activity for students, the entire lesson is set up in Google Slides and is structured. There are clickable links that take students directly to the video, or to each location in Google Earth. All of the informational text is included, and editable response questions are set up throughout the activity. This lesson can be assigned in Google Classroom. It can be conducted as a teacher-led activity, or would also work well as an independent activity too. If you need a quick sub plan, this is an easy to prep option.
Want to check out all of the lesson details or read more about teaching ancient India with remote learning? Check out the links below.