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  • justine441

World Explorer

Fantastic work last week from Toby.

School sent home a jigsaw of the world. It just so happened that Toby was already doing a jigsaw about the solar system and he was wearing a solar system t-shirt! So we starred discussing planets and matching them. We watched a couple of YouTube films on the solar system. We then discussed how we live on Earth and the world map was Earth.

We then moved to Google Earth which was simply the best way to show Toby Earth in the same distant way as it appears on his solar system jigsaw.

I then zoomed into our house. I think that really blew his mind! We zoomed out again and found school and then did the same for grandad’s house.

We then matched the profile of the countries on the jigsaw with the shape on the world from a distance.

I then asked Toby which country to explore. He chose the USA. So thinking on my feet, I zoomed into Disneyworld and showed Toby some photos of him when we visited. We wrote a sentence about it. I then chose to write about the UK and then Lapland (we had to fudge this slightly further north to explain as there’s no snow on Google Earth!) Finally Toby chose Africa, so we zoomed right in and found first some lions, and then some elephants.

I don’t think you can do much better at geography than that!

We moved back to Google Earth and to our house. I showed Toby how to walk along the roads. He was fascinated. He walked to school and home again. Then he started walking another familiar route. He was absolutely engrossed. But what a fantastic way to find out that Toby had a sense of direction and his locality. Great for personal safety,

We had done so much that we hadn’t even started on the work from school. So we started that on Friday. School had supplied us with a UK jigsaw and work on the 4 countries. And I guess this is where ‘typical’ school work struggles. It was suddenly meaningless with flags and symbols.

However we had a map of the UK with place names to stick on. This was fabulous because with the help of Google Earth, Toby carefully typed in the placenames. Each took ages as he had to convert lower case to upper case, then find the letter and accurately hit it, and then find where he was to do the next letter. Great typing practice in a real life way. He can’t stand usual typing practice. Towards the end I showed him the predictive text section too as this is the future of writing for him. Each time Google Earth zoomed in and located the place for him. Simply fabulous work.

Finally we painted a wooden solar system which had been a Christmas present.

I think this has been one of the best pieces of work ever. But I was able to adapt and run with the topic from the ideas that school sent home. I could flip the subject round so that it made sense for Toby by starting with the jigsaws he’s familiar with to give them meaning.

For me growing up the world being round and where we lived being part of a whole world was fairly abstract, but Google Earth made this a tangible lesson for Toby.

Meanwhile walking through Google Earth is Toby’s new hobby! He’s literally obsessed with it! Originally Posted on 4.7.2021

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