Immersive, Virtual Reality Study of Nations Engages 6th Graders

Teams of Collegiate School 6th Grade students in Mike Ferry's social studies class are answering the question How would you help a country with a low gross domestic product per capita improve its economy and standard of living? Students select a country to research and then leverage DollarStreetCultureGrams, the CIA World Factbook and Google Earth Virtual Reality to explore and understand each country’s people, culture, natural resources, geography and climate.
While immersed in Google Earth Virtual Reality, students experience digital replicas of these countries and fly over or walk down streets, meander through national parks and mountain ranges or investigate airports and city neighborhoods, thus creating a deeper understanding of the infrastructure and geography of these locations.  

The study enables students to engage in a wider world from the confines of a classroom. The exercise simultaneously boosts creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and research skills. At the conclusion of their studies, the students submit their recommendations for each country, providing ideas for how the native populations of the low-GDP countries can improve their GDP.