What is a Google Lit Trip?

Google Lit Trips are the brainchild of Dr. Jerome Burg. He created and maintains the official Google Lit Trip website where you can find a wealth of downloadable Lit Trips and resources.

A Google Lit Trip is a method for linking literature to geography. Using a trade book that includes place-based content (from the earth, sky, or oceans), Lit Trips use Google Earth technology to illustrate those locations. Generally, Lit Trips include several placemarks corresponding with various locations cited in a single trade book. For instance, if reading George Stewart's Ordeal by Hunger, placemarks for part of the book may include Fort Bridger, the location of Hasting's note, where Luke Halloran dies, and where the "Dry Drive" begins and ends. As such, readers could follow the Donner Party historically as they read the book and geographically as they follow the route in the related Google Lit Trip.

In addition to including placemarks, Google Lit Trips provide educational resources related to each location in their respective books. For example, discussion questions may guide student thinking, links may point to primary source documents, images may illustrate concepts difficult to explain in prose, and videos may extend content knowledge related to the history or geography of the text. There may also be teacher resources (e.g., vocabulary words, historical overviews, suggested related instructional activities, links to additional resources) existing within placemarks.

Google Lit Trips provide wonderful resources for use in whole class environments for both lecture and discussion, in small group settings for discussion, and in individual settings in which students respond in writing or electronically (audio or text) to  discussion questions and other resources available in each placemark. Ideally, after an introduction to pre-existing Lit Trips, students will learn to design and create their own Lit Trips. The process of creating a Lit Trip increases their use of 21st Century Skills.

Google Lit Trip Samples

Teachers in the TAH: Slavery/Integrated Social Studies module created the below downloadable KMZ files.
Many more Lit Trips are available on the official Google Lit Trips site. There, they are separated by grade level: K-5, 6-8, 9-12, and higher education.

Code Starters

It is very easy to add text to placemarks within Google Lit Trips. Beyond simple text, however, you must have access to or knowledge of HTML codes. For this reason, it may be easiest to design your first Google Lit Trip using pre-existing code. For that reason, I've developed a resource from which you can copy and edit HTML code and then paste it directly into your placemark descriptions. These code options vary by the appearance you would like for your placemark description. Some are for student-created Google Lit Trips, and others are for teacher-created Trips. Choose the applicable coding from the options below.

Creating a Google Lit Trip

NCSS 2010 (Denver) Presentation Slides

Many resources, primarily print-based, are available on the official Google Lit Trip site. Dr. Burg published step-by-step instructions for many processes such as formatting placemarks and creating paths.

This video introduces one method of developing Google Lit Trips. It relies heavily on the HTML code available on this site.