Weekend Website #88: Drive a Ship

02 Mar

Every Friday, I’ll send you a wonderful website (or more) that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of your students as they are of mine.

drive a ship

Use Google Earth to drive a ship




3rd grade+


Geography, strategy, problem solving, more


The fascinating geniuses at Planet in Action use Google Earth to power some of the greatest toys I’ve seen around the internet. When you visit their site, you can:

  • Drive a ship. You can select the Queen Mary or a container ship or several other options and drive them throughout the globe. You can even set it to drive while you sleep so you can see how far it got when you awake in the morning.
  • Drive the A-Team van. It’s right out of the movie and the same promo they offered on their website prior to the movie’s release (because the PIA guys programmed it)
  • Explore six different areas, from the Swiss Alps to Hollywood to EuroDisney to Mt. St. Helens and more. It’s a low-altitude fly-over that’s more exciting than even Google Earth’s Flight Simulator. It’s Open Source, so it’s free.
  • Build a business as a helicopter pilot
  • Moon Lander game–Climb aboard and take control of the “Eagle” and see if you can match Neil Armstrong’s flying skills.

If you’re creating a library of virtual tours for your school, be sure to visit this site.

Dinther Product Design (creators of Planet in Action) is a small Australian-based company that started by creating simulations for game companies and grew from there. Today, according to their website, they can’t even share details of some of their projects.

One of the favorites of my students is Ships. It gives them an opportunity to stand at the helm of the ship of their choice and guide it through the world’s oceans. The third graders like barreling it over land, while the fifth graders work to see if they can avoid land, other ships, buoys–that stuff they’re supposed to avoid. Either way, it’s become a favorite destination when I give them free time. In my estimation, this program teaches them a lot about driving, the ocean, problem-solving and strategic thinking as they have to plan ahead to get their ship where they want it to go.

Sim Tower used to be their favorite. Now it’s Ship. As a teacher, I’m thrilled to see them study the dials and make decisions based on available information.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman.  She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersIMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, will be out this summer. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.


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  1. special education teacherNo Gravatar

    March 9, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m making my way to the top as well. I absolutely liked reading everything that is posted on your website.Keep the tips coming. I enjoyed it!

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