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Home /  Courses And Programs / Intro to the Global Design Lab: Virtual Exploration & Design for a Sustainable World

During this trying time, UC San Diego Extension remains committed to helping you achieve your goals. In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have moved this summer’s Sally Ride Science Junior Academy workshops online. These online STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) workshops for students entering 4th-12th grade will be conducted through virtual class meetings using the Zoom conferencing system and the learning platform Canvas.

Use Virtual Exploration to Inspire Sustainable Design


Get a global introduction to sustainable design by using Google Maps and Google Earth as tools for virtual exploration. Analyze sites of past settlements and come up with your own design for a sustainable dwelling or community of the future.

Students will gain a deeper understanding of geography, world history and sustainable design as they explore world regions. We will examine historical sites and consider why those sites were successful. After analyzing several case studies, students will learn basic concepts of sustainable design and then sketch a house of the future for a specific site using their new perspective. They will present their sustainable designs to classmates and explain their justifications for specific elements. The class is aimed at students interested in maps, geography, history, natural environments, and sustainable architecture and design.

What You Will Learn

  • Gain experience in posing meaningful research questions
  • Learn how to explore Earth’s surface for research purposes using Google Earth and Google Maps
  • Gain an understanding of how to create well-designed homes and public spaces for the future using sustainable
    methods through research and site analysis
  • Learn how to find and use global census reports and United Nations data in their research
  • Analyze a geographic area and examine features that promote healthy human habitat
  • Develop an understanding of how to gather reputable data from the internet
  • Demonstrate advanced oral and written communication skills through effective presentation of research results

Note: During the first week of Junior Academy, this class is shortened to four days because of the Fourth of July holiday. A five-day version of the class, Virtual Exploration and Design for a Sustainable World, is offered later in the academy.

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy website here.

Course Number: GEOG-90001
Credit: 0.00 unit(s)