on education

thoughts from a graduate student at the university of mary washington

mini projects, take two. week ten.

March21

The first project that I chose to do was the Google Trek activity. I got off to a bit of a rough start with this one, and it took me about 5 days to get it figured out and done. That being said, now that I understand it and can figure out what I’m doing, it’s not so bad. I decided to make my Google Trek on the 7 Wonders of the World. Oh, except this list kind of changed through history, and plus we needed 8 place markers, so, I put 8 of them. I decided that I wanted my students to start to understand how architecture can tell us about culture, money, religion, etc. Multiple literacies, and all of that.

You can find my Google Trek here. 

I find it interesting that I choose content that’s way above an elementary school kid’s head, even though that’s my endorsement area. Anyone else caught on to this?! Once upon a time, I really wanted to teach high school social studies. And then I student taught in high school social studies, and I decided immediately that it wasn’t for me. So, I’m kind of jumping at the chance to create these lessons because I haven’t in a while. Anyway. I can see Google Trek being useful in an elementary classroom as well, just not this particular trek. Dr. Seuss style, right? Oh, the places you’ll go! 

Yeah. So.

The next project I really struggled with. Not even the actual project, but the choosing of which project to do! I kept going back and forth, and I just wasn’t sure. I really wanted to try the fusion tables, but I just could not wrap my brain around it, and I was coming off of 5 solid days of trying to figure out the trek activity. I ultimately decided on the Timeline project. I chose time toast because I liked the set-up and ease of use. I also like the display of the entire timeline instead of clicking through each individual event. The content standard I chose was understanding the key events of the Civil War. I left out a lot of the battles. As a history nerd, I can tell you… these just don’t matter. Memorizing that junk doesn’t help anybody with anything unless you aim to be a subject matter expert. I think that trying to get your students to memorize battle after battle and fact after fact only dissuades them from learning about the history of this country. Make it interesting and relevant, and keep it light. If you engage them in the right way, they’ll read all about those battles anyway and pull out the information that matters. Understanding the events that led to a national war are much more important. Anyway.

You can see my timeline here.

I think that with some practice and instruction, my students could make a google trek of their own, and they can definitely use this timeline tool to help them review or better understand events spatially. Good stuff.

posted under INDT 501
4 Comments to

“mini projects, take two. week ten.”

  1. Avatar March 22nd, 2013 at 3:45 am jdosch Says:

    Angela- I feel your pain about being hung-up this week! It took me forever to figure out how I was going to format my mini-projects this week. I kept going back and forth on which two projects I would chose and then how to go about getting them done, I was a mess! Finally, I had to sit myself down and get it done!

    I think it’s great that you decided on content that is for the secondary level. You are keeping your skills fresh! I’m working on my endorsement for secondary English and I often find myself leaning towards using more elementary and middle school level texts for the projects in this course! I think that’s mostly because the higher level reading has SO much information that sometimes I spend quite a bit of time on these projects.

    Great job on your week 2 projects! I like that you simplified the key points of the Civil War. Sometimes all of the dates can be overwhelming and students start to tune out the information. I also really liked that you included questions in your My Maps quest. This is great for prompting the students and having a reminder right there for you, if you were presenting the material to the class.


  2. Avatar March 24th, 2013 at 4:21 pm Kim Says:

    Hi Angela,

    I had a similar time with the mini-projects. At times it appeared to be somewhat overwhelming with all the possibilities. I agree with you the trek would be a good tool for elementary school as well as middle, and high school. Seems like going back and forth on the projects this week was a common occurence as I did the same. I also liked the civil war time line. This too, I see having application across a broad range of students as it would be easy to change the content as required. Great job on the mini-projects!

    Thanks, Kim


  3. Avatar March 24th, 2013 at 8:19 pm cwalker2309 Says:

    great projects! I thought of using the wonders of the world for my Google Trek but decided on a different subject. I agree with your thoughts about the timeline tool. It is good for having students pick out the important information on a subject which is an important skill to have!


  4. Avatar March 25th, 2013 at 6:18 pm acrerie Says:

    I love the idea of the 8 wonders of the world for a Google Trek! And I couldn’t agree with you more about the pointlessness of memorizing facts; that’s why timelines are such a great tool, because then you can see big events and trends over time. Chronological awareness is arguably the most important aspect of history class. Really nice post!


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