Google Maps and Google Earth are two of my favorite tools to introduce to teachers. I love it when people go from thinking of Google Maps as only a social studies tool to thinking about using it in other subject areas. One of my favorite resources to show to teachers is Tom Barrett’s Maths Maps. Maths Maps are elementary / primary school mathematics lessons that require students to use Google Maps to solve the problems posed to them.
To complete the activities in Maths Maps your students have to use what is now referred to as “Classic” Google Maps (the older version, not the new beta version). In Classic Google Maps there is the option to measure distances between objects and around objects in a wide variety of units. For example, you can measure distances in rods, furlongs, miles, kilometers, Olympic swimming pool lengths, and more than 50 other units. Some Google Apps for Edu users may have already been switched over to the new version of Google Maps. If you use an “@gmail” address to sign into your Google account, you have been switched over to the new version of Google Maps. If you want to use the measuring tools to complete the lessons in Maths Maps, you have to force Google Maps back to “classic maps.” Below I’ve included directions for doing that and directions for using the measuring tools in Classic Google Maps. (Click the images to view them in full size).