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Google Earth


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, History, Geography, Justice, Climate Action

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Article

Regional Focus


Changing Forests

  • This resource takes students on an interactive trip of forests around the world, showcasing the effects of human activity throughout the years.
  • The resource also provides information on deforestation, mitigation efforts, and supplemental links for further learning.
Teaching Tips


  • Provides time-lapsed footage of forests throughout the world.
  • Links to supplemental resources to deepen learning are provided.
  • Visuals and written descriptions for each location.
  • Good for students with multiple learning styles.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be comfortable with technology and navigating Google Earth.
  • Younger students can be guided through the trip as a whole class activity.
  • Students should be familiar with vocabulary words like deforestation, fossil fuels, palm oil, biodiversity.


  • Can be used as a whole class activity with discussion questions.
  • Use as a cooperative learning activity where you pair students to observe and write about a location on the interactive.
  • Use to generate and test hypotheses on human activity, and the links between deforestation and climate change.
Scientist Notes
Students can explore this resource to visualize and gain knowledge on changes in forest cover as a result of deforestation and continued farm extensification. The resource shows changing forests over a 35-year span (1985-2020) and datasets generated from google earth are accurate. Recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
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