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Database Provider


Google Earth


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, History, Geography

Resource Type

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 15 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - West, Asia, Middle East


YouTube Video

Our Cities | Timelapse in Google Earth

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  • This video shows several cities around the world in a time lapse from 1984 to 2020, giving before and after views of urban sprawl at the end. 
  • Students will learn about increasing city populations, urban sprawl, predictions for the future of cities, and the impact of cities on the environment. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video is short and to the point; students will quickly understand the concepts presented. 
  • The visuals are profound and impactful, they are paired with written facts and information. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • There is no audio, so students who process written words slowly may need to pause to read the factual text presented. 


  • This resource would work well in a science class while discussing the climate impacts of cities, urban heat-islands, sustainability, and global population, or in a math class to analyze the growth in urban areas and chart or graph it. 
  • History classes could discuss why humans are migrating into cities today and what is different now, compared to other times in history.
  • As a class, you can chart questions and realizations students have after watching. What predictions do they have for cities moving forward? What implications do they think urban sprawl has on climate change?
Scientist Notes
Urban populations have greatly influenced the world population. This time lapse by Google Earth is an indication of population growth and its impact on urbanization and increasing CO2 levels. Thus, the resource will guide students to articulate and visualize these changes in urban spaces within a variable time span from 1984-2020. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
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