Two sample problems are included that demonstrate how Google Earth can present estimation problems involving area. Estimation is a necessary skill to learn when dealing with large values, in this case, large areas of land.
The Parking Lot problem is the more straight-forward math type of problem where students will estimate the number of cars that can park at a stadium parking lot. Using a sample, the students will project the results to a larger population. By calculating the parking lot revenue for an event, the students will see the real world application of the problem.
The second problem involves a section of the Amazon rainforest, and utilizes one of Google Earth’s layers: the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The students will compare two UNEP images that demonstrate the deforestation taking place in the Amazon. This estimation activity connects students to a global issue. Activities like this can be done with several of the Google Earth layers, such as GoodPlanet, National Snow and Ice Data Center, or UNICEF, and could be used in Science or Social Studies classrooms. Students need to see that mathematics extend beyond their classroom into other subject areas and can be used to understand real world problems.