Students Use Google Earth to Pitch an Idea for an Agribusiness as Part of Their Year-Long Ambassador Projects
By Stacey Roshan, Director of Innovation and Educational Technology
In 9th grade Human Geography, students work on a series of ambassador projects throughout the year. This year-long assignment requires students to investigate and apply human geography concepts from each unit of study in a “real world” context. For each of these projects, students serve as a representative of their selected country, preparing a variety of presentations to share with their peers.
Ben Mosteller, Kim Worthy, and Robbie Wellington carefully integrate these ambassador projects into the curriculum, emphasizing student creativity through authentic learning tasks while also focusing on research and writing skills. Students engage in exciting projects and are able to creatively demonstrate their understandings by making videos, flyers, persuasive speeches, interactive maps, and more. Additionally, for each assignment, students learn and apply new research and writing skills. They engage in ongoing self-assessment and receive feedback throughout the year to improve these skills.
This year, the students’ final ambassador project focused on rural and urban land use. They were tasked with pitching an idea for an agribusiness and argue why it should be located in their ambassador country (examples of current agribusinesses are Starbucks, Tysons, and Monsanto/Bayer). BITlab coordinator Matt Zigler suggested the idea of using Google Earth, in which students could highlight both the rural and the urban landscapes in their country and explain why it was the best place for the new business. They were responsible for coming up with the most appropriate agribusiness based on the types of agriculture in their country (cattle/beef, coffee, wheat, corn, chicken, sugar, etc.).
To present their research and arguments, students used Google Earth to create a powerful, visual presentation of their findings. Within Google Earth, they were asked to zoom in to specific areas they were talking about, highlight areas of the country on the 3D map, and add their own written text to explain and defend their arguments.
To help orient students, Matt Zigler created a series of tutorials. After the research phase of the project, students launched into Google Earth to begin building their presentations.
Some specific requirements of this project –
- Begin with a full country overview, with agricultural land outlined and the top 3 cities (in terms of population) noted with a pin.
- Include information about urban and agricultural land use percentages; top 3 types of agriculture used (and if they are commercial or subsistence); population in top 3 cities that you pinned
- Zoom in to one area of rural land use (and put a boundary around it). This is the general area where the agricultural aspect of your business will be produced.
- Include information about the type(s) of agriculture specialized in this area, the size of the land to be used, amount of money this crop already produces in the region, etc.
- Zoom in to show the specific area where the agricultural aspect of your agribusiness will take place.
- Include information about the agricultural aspect of the business, why this area suitable for this product, etc.
- Show the boundaries of a city in your country where your company’s headquarters will be located.
- Include information about urbanization rate for the country, key industries in the city, population in the city limits vs. population in the metropolitan area
- Zoom in to a specific landmark in the city identified in Slide 4 that is popular for tourists.
- Include information about the landmark, how/when/why it’s there, and why it is culturally significant.
- Zoom to the area of the city where the headquarters of your proposed agribusiness will be located. Designate it with a pin.
- Include information about what types of buildings will be used for the headquarters, why this area the best location for the business headquarters, etc
- Zoomed out to see your whole country, with markers on where the farm(s) will go and where the headquarters will be located.
- Provide a final, persuasive summary of the business, where the different stages of production will be located and why this business will do so well in your country.
Students did fantastic work on this project! Exemplars can be found here:
- Canada by Shara Z.
- Italy by Joshua B.
- South Korea by Nathan C.
- India by Gurdas K.
- Ukraine by Layla M.
- Belize by Jordan W.
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