I really like to use this site at school for a number of reasons. First of all, I no longer have a globe in my classroom so when I talk about the Arctic and Antarctica, which we have been studying, I have no visual to use with my students. I have a world map, which is flat, hence an additional problem. With Google Earth I can show them the whole world and then focus in on a particular area.
So for this assignment I located our school on Google Earth. I can start with the world, show the United States, show our location in Michigan and then focus in on Holly. Since we work a lot on our community at the lower elementary level I can expose them to where we live but can also scan out and we can look at where things are relative to where we live on the planet. I did try this out this past week with my classroom and the children thought it was pretty cool, especially when I showed them our local McDonalds! (too funny!)
This week I also read my students a book I purchased from the Lynda Locke the author of Thomas the Cat's Adventures. The story starts with Thomas as a small kitten in Canada and then follows him as he moves with his family to Mexico and the friends he meets along the way. I was then able to use Google Earth to show my students where Thomas lived in Canada and then move on to Isla Mujeres Mexico where I was able to get to street level and show them exactly where he lives. I was also able to drive around the island at street level to show them what the rest of the island looks like. Even my para professionals were impressed! Pretty cool!