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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


Students in Virtual Exploration and Design for a Sustainable World will:

  • 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

Return to the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy website here.

Note: Upon successful enrollment of a section, students will receive a confirmation email from our Student Services team. This email will include a link to an authorization form that is required to be completed within 72-hours of enrollment. 

In response to COVID-19 health guidelines, we have restructured our in-person Junior Academy workshops as online courses. Contact us at if you have questions.

Course Number: GEOG-90004
Credit: 1.50 unit(s)

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