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Google Earth


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


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, History, Geography

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - South, South and Central America, Africa, Asia, Alabama

Changing Forests

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  • This Google Earth voyage takes students on an interactive trip of forests around the world, showcasing the impacts of human activity throughout the years.
  • The resource provides information on deforestation, land use change, mitigation efforts, and supplemental links for further learning.
  • Students will learn about changing forests in Bolivia, Tanzania, Brazil, Indonesia, China, and Alabama.
Teaching Tips


  • Many of the stops on the voyage provide time-lapse Google Earth footage of forests throughout the world.
  • Each of the stops on the voyage is accompanied by photographs and written descriptions of the location.

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, and biodiversity.


  • Social studies teachers could use this resource as a cooperative learning activity with pairs of students observing and writing about each location.
  • Elementary classes can use the resource as a class and students could use a graphic organizer to record the name of the location, where it is located, what is happening to the forest, and why.
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. This resource is 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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