Using Google Maps for ESOL / ESL / IELTS

If you’re ever in need of directions or need to know where the nearest pizza shop is, then you don’t need to look further than Google Maps. It’s a map of the entire world which can be viewed either as a traditional road map, a satellite snapshot or a hybrid of the two. There is also the new streetview which lets you zoom right into the street for a close up view of what it looks like at ground level.  Not only that but it’s a great resource for ESOL / ESL/ IELTS students at whatever level.


I used this with a group of Pre- Intermediate learners (B1 / Entry 3) in a room where students had access to a computer each. There was also an Interactive Whiteboard that I used to display examples and Google Maps.

1. Ask students these questions and spark up genuine conversation with them about where they live and the area they live in. There might be some really bad (or good) areas around where you live which you could discuss as a group : ‘Where do you live?’ ‘Where’s that near? ‘Is it a good area?’ ‘ ‘Do you like living there?

2.   Show google maps and the functionality on the whiteboard. Explain how students can use the search box to find streets, the zoom features, the buttons at the top to switch between satelitte and map. Ask someone to offer their street and then find it using the search box. Zoom in on where they live if they are happy with this.

3. Pass out the work sheet and have students search through google maps to find the answers – some of the answers they might need to look on the map for. My worksheet is only a suggestion, you might like to change it with places of interest in your country and area.

Street Name Town Postcode Extra Question:
Tiger Lane.     What’s the name of the big park near here?
Gawber Road.     What’s opposite this road?
Jack Straw’s Lane     Which streets come off this?
Downing Street London   Who lives in this street?
Daisy Street Glasgow    

Click here for the full worksheet

4. Encourage students to help each other and discuss anything of interest they have found. Don’t leave them alone to do – this might allow them chance to catch up on their email – worse, it might make them think you don’t care what they’re doing. Circulate round the room look at what they are doing, offering advise or help.

5. When students have finished, make sure they turn off their computer screens so they listen to you and each other, before running through the answers together.

For more on this and other lessons visit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s