Mission 005 — Latitude and Longitude

Mission 005

Need a fun, cross curricular way to introduce Latitude and Longitude to your students?  Here’s a Math/Social Studies Lesson using spies, secret codes, and google earth.  What can be better than that?

It addresses Math SOL 4.15, 5.14 and Global Studies SOL GS.1.

First, make sure students understand how to use Google Earth to find specific points on Earth using latitude and longitude.  You will want to make sure that the status bar in google earth is showing (View>Status Bar) so that you can clearly see the latitude and location of your point on the globe. You will also want to cut off all layers except those that show countries.

If you are using the Google Earth App on an iPad (or iPod), make sure to change a few settings.
Check out How to Change Settings in Google Earth by Tina Coffey on Snapguide.http://images.snapguide.com/static/js/embed/script.min.js

Students also need some background in finding patterns in a series of numbers.  It may also help if they’ve done a bit of code breaking before (although it’s not necessary).  Then, present groups of students with their secret envelope and access to Google Earth, and sit back to see what they can figure out!

Here’s are the documents to create your own Mission packets:
Mission 005 – Latitude and Longitude

I’m working on a follow up STEM activity that has students designing their own codes.  I’ll add it when I’m done.


First Grade Needs and Wants

Students in Mrs. Atkin’s and Mrs. Glowenski’s classes created Needs and Wants Posters using Pic Collage on the iPads.  They used the camera feature to take pictures of items around their classroom.  Many students found creative ways to represent concepts, especially wants.  I love that most any age can use Pic Collage.  It is definitely one of my favorite apps. Check out a few examples of the First Graders’ work below:

Who’s New at the GeoZoo?

Students in Mrs. Sharp’s 5th Grade class created creatures using their geometry skills to populate “The Geo-zoo.”  Mrs. Sharp had done the activity years before using paper and shapes, but wanted to engage her students by using the iPads.  We quickly were able to transfer the activity to a digital one.

Last Year’s Paper Version

Digital Version

Thanks to the iPad apps Geoboard, Pic Collage, and Dropbox, students were able to complete a project based activity (that normally was done as a homework project) within one class period.  By the end of class time, Mrs. Sharp had a great understanding of her students’ strengths with Math SOL 5.13 (The student, using plane figures (square, rectangle, triangle, parallelogram, rhombus, and trapezoid), will develop definitions of these plane figures; and investigate and describe the results of combining and subdividing plane figures.)

Check out the process below:

The best part was that the students were completely engaged and absolutely loved their creations!  Many even posted them on their blogs :

Rock Star Laser Robot by Double O Cleo

The Triangle Vampire from by Minecraft02

Tari the Tri-con by I Love Lax

The Tri-Liger by Iron Claw

Here are few examples of their awesome work:

If you are interested in doing a similar activity with your class, here is our STEM (Children’s Engineering) design brief and a couple versions of rubrics.

Design Brief

Rubric 1

Rubric 2

Let me know how it goes! And…if you are at one of my schools, I’d love to come in to help! Ask me! 🙂


Learning about Rosa Parks with iPads

This past week, fourth graders at in Mrs. Mulvaney’s, Mrs. Downey’s, and Mrs. Wallace’s reading class have  been learning about Rosa Parks while reading the book, Rosa Parks Freedom Rider by Keith Brandt and Joanne Mattern.

To augment what they were learning in the book, they also practiced research skills to learn more about her. They used Mobicip, Popplet, and Videolicious to create videos about the facts they learned.

The project started with Mobicip. Because Safari is not filtered very much in our school system, we have opted to use Mobicip instead. Mobicip looks a lot like Safari (with tabs and a search box) and allows students to save images in the same way. Students practiced finding relevant websites to find facts about Rosa Parks and saved copyright friendly pictures of her to the iPad Camera roll.

Once students had saved pictures and done their research, they used Popplet to create a concept map. This concept map wouldserve as a storyboard for their Videolicious videos.
Finally, students partnered up. One student opened up the popplet they had created on one iPad and the other student opened up Videolicious on the other ipad. The students choose the pictures they wanted for their video. Then, the second student videoed the first student while he or she used their popplet as a guide.



It was great fun and the students learned a lot…and it was very easy. It was nice to be able to research, brainstorm, and create all on the iPad right in the classroom.

This project also made it easy to see where there were gabs in the knowledge of students, which teachers then could address.

Take a look at a few of their final projects!

Rosa Parks Example 1
Rosa Parks Example 2