Thursday, February 13, 2014

BSS 9 ... Urban patterns analysis with Google Earth

Mr Youssef 's Brazilian Social Studies 9 class is learning about the first urban society that was developed in the Portuguese America. For this purpose, students have to analyze the urban characteristics of the main 17th Century cities of Minas Gerais, in order to identify whether the Portuguese colonists forced a urban pattern. The students have been on a school trip to those cities earlier in the year, so this activity is a follow up of the trip.

Google Earth was chosen as a means to support such urban analysis, looking at different types of buildings and urban characteristics, including street design. In class, students learned the rationale behind their Google Earth activity looking through the SAMR model lens, as shown below. The class activity was at the Modification level.

At this level, students could use a Google Map to individually draw/highlight street patterns and buildings. Substitution happens through a transfer from a paper map to an online map.

Using Google Earth to go on Street View to visualize urban characteristics and refresh the memory of the school trip is a way to enter the Augmentation level. And so is the use of images, text and links to explain and illustrate pinned locations.
Augmentation element: Visualization to connect with school trip.

Augmentation element: Adding explanation, links and images.


In Mr Youssefs’ class, students worked in groups, cooperating to identify the urban characteristics of their chosen city, and later sharing with the whole class for comparison and analysis.

Collaborative City Urbanism 

Sharing with whole class for comparison with other cities

A Redefinition level could involve using those Google Earth maps to support a video conference with an Urbanism specialist to discuss students' analysis. Students who live in those cities could also be contacted to add their view of how they see their own city urbanism and any heritage from the Portuguese. Based on such feedback, students could review their interpretation of their maps and perhaps better highlight important characteristics.