Lesson Plan

Gaining Perspective and Learning to Zoom

Students manipulate tech tools to deepen their understanding of perspective and distance.
Margaret A P.
Director of STEAM Innovation
The Agnes Irwin School
Rosemont, PA
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My Grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to...

  • Understand the difference between near and far
  • Explain a "bird's eye" view 
  • Take clear photographs of the same image, displaying different levels of distance/closeness 
  • Manipulate Google Maps to zoom in and out and navigate between locations
  • Discuss the different components of housing and living in different parts of the world 
  • Create an ebook with photos they took from different perspectives and narration explaining their work 
English Language Arts
using supporting evidence
Social Studies
cultural understanding
global awareness
Grades 1 - 2
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Read the book "Zoom"

Read/show the book Zoom to the class

Go slowly through each page so the students can have time to look closely at each illustration (you could even invite students to record their observations on paper)


Student Instructions

As I read this book, look closely at the book and make sure you have have your brain ready to make some observations 

2 Use the "See, Think, Wonder" Protocol with Zoom

Create a chart with the class and ask students to share comments and ideas in response to the See, Think, Wonder protocol.

Students can record their ideas on sticky notes and all add them to the class chart or you can write them for the students on the chart as they raise their hands with suggestions. 

Student Instructions

What do you see?

What do you think about that?

What does it make you wonder?

3 Zooming on the Map

Use the Google Maps app to allow students to practice zooming in and out, either with the +/- buttons on the computer or "pinch and zoom" on a tablet. 

Help students make the connection with what they are doing and what happened on the pages of the book Zoom. 

Discuss how things on the map change as you zoom in and out (e.g., more details and labels appear as you zoom in, more countries and continents appear as you zoom out).

Define a "bird's eye view" for students ("elevated view of an object from above, with a perspective as though the observer were a bird, often used in the making of blueprints, floor plans and maps. It can be an aerial photograph, but also a drawing." - Wikipedia) and ask them to imagine what their own house might look like if they were a bird, flying overhead. 

Student Instructions

Use Google Maps to visit the Seven Wonders of the World (or any locations connected to the curriculum, recent class books, or other relevant addresses). 

How can we find those places in Google Maps? 

How can we get closer? What do we call getting closer on a digital map?

How does the view change as you zoom in and out?  

What would your house look like if you were a bird, flying over it? 

4 Zooming in and out to Discover New Places

Break students up into four small groups and assign them each a different location in the app to explore. 

Do a quick demo for the whole class of how to zoom in and out, using the circles in the app, to discover new parts of the home and how different items function. 

Give students specific questions to answer as they explore the app.

Encourage students to use different tools and items to see how they work (e.g., cooking a meal, shearing the sheep, etc). 

Have the groups do a jigsaw activity where one person from each group gets together and shares what they learned and discovered. Then have a whole-class discussion about what students observed and learned and what questions they want to research next. 

Student Instructions

Explore the outside of your home, what do you notice? What looks similar and different to where you live? How do things outside the house work? 

What do you notice about the electricity outside the house? About the water? 

As you go inside the app, what do you notice first? Find out which areas of the house allow you to zoom in and write down what changes when you zoom into those areas. 

What tools and items can you use in the house? What surprised you about them? What might be different about this house compared to yours? Why? 

What questions can we ask to learn more about this place in the world? What questions do we want to explore to understand more about their culture?

5 Returning to Google Maps

Return to Google Maps and ask students to visit the countries in the Home app. 

Ask them to zoom in to different cities and neighborhoods and record their observations. 

Engage students in a discussion about the connections between the app and Google Maps. Then talk more about zooming and different perspectives. 

Student Instructions

Visit one of the four locations from the Homes app.

Zoom in to different cities and then into neighborhoods and houses. Do they look like what you saw in the Homes app? What is different, what is the same? 

How does zooming allow you to see different perspectives inside that country? 

What did you learn while zooming in and out there? When could it be helpful to zoom in and out? 

6 Create your own Zoom ebook!

Book Creator

Have students choose a place at school (e.g., playground, cafeteria, hallway, etc) where they can take some photos from different perspectives. Ask each student to choose their own object that is within their reach. 

Talk to students about how to take clear photos at different perspectives (e.g., wait for it to focus, check your lighting) and have them practice around the classroom. 

Model taking three photos of one object at three different distances: far, close, and very close. 

Ask students to take three of their own pictures of the object they chose. Have students work in pairs to review each other's photographs and decide if they are good photos or if they should take them again. 

Have students add the photos to Book Creator and put a title page before their work. Then ask them to insert an audio recording on each page explaining their process for making the book and taking the photos as well as what they have learned about zooming in/out, bird's eye view, etc. 

Then share the book with another class(es) and invite students to teach that class about using maps and zooming in on them to learn more about specific places and the ways people live. 

7 Extension Activity: Read "Re-Zoom"

Read "Re-Zoom" and have a discussion with students about the different between that book and "Zoom." What connections can they make?