tutor2u Geography

Climate Change by Numbers

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's time to hit the record button, as on Monday at 9pm ,on BBC 4 there is a one off programme looking at the climate change debate in a new way. The show is called Climate Change by Numbers and is looking at the fact that despite the fact we have more information about climate change than ever before the public are increasingly unsure they understand what is happening. The focus of the programme are three key numbers, 0.85 degrees (the amount the world has warmed since 1880), 95% the degree of certainty that scientist have that at least half the recent warming is man made, 1 trillion tonnes which is the amount of carbon we can afford to burn in order to avoid dangerous levels of climate change.  

Kibera: converting a slum of despair into a community of hope through ASH schemes.

Monday, February 23, 2015

When you don’t own the land on which your self-built house is built there’s always the threat that you will come home one day to find a bulldozer has trashed your neighbourhood. You have no legal rights; it’s a constant worry; it’s a disincentive to try to improve your community. But the residents of Kibera – one of the largest slums in Africa (situated in Nairobi, Kenya) – can start to believe that things will get better as the government invests in ASH schemes. Aided Self-Help programmes are designed to improve basic amenities in neighbourhoods and involve the residents in their own community’s future.


read more...»

World’s largest offshore wind farm gets Green Light for North Sea

Friday, February 20, 2015

What could become the world’s largest offshore wind farm was given the go-ahead this week by the UK government. Situated 77-130 km off the Yorkshire coast, the Dogger Bank wind farm project received the approval of the Secretary of State for Energy and the Environment. The plan for up to 400 offshore wind turbines has been proposed by ‘Forewind’ – a consortium company of four major energy businesses: SSE (Scottish and Southern Energy), Norwegian Statoil and Statkraft and Germany’s RWE.


read more...»

River over time

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

This is a great time lapse video showing how a river's course changes over time. It clearly shows how meanders migrates and how oxbow lakes are formed. http://m.imgur.com/gallery/nXcBlqV

This would make a great starter activity by showing pupils the first picture and getting them to predict how it might change. If you have the time print the opening picture on A3 paper and laminate it (do enough for one between two) and then give pupils dry wipe pens to draw on how they think the river will change. Once pupils have made their predictions show them the video to see if they were right. 

New discovery made about the Earth’s inner core

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Check out the journal "Nature Geoscience" for an interesting article about the true composition of the inner core.

read more...»

Mmm Chocolate!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
read more...»

First straw houses go on sale in the UK

Monday, February 09, 2015

Flimsy? Fire-hazard? Gimmick? None of these, as the first straw-bale houses go on sale in the UK. Highly compressed straw has long been considered as a building material; its insulating properties are better than brick and breeze block; it’s relatively cheap; and it’s very green – building homes from biomass with the CO2 locked in.

read more...»

Exam Techniques: Revision - migrating revision to your long-term memory through ‘spacing’ it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

One of the 4 key elements to succeeding in exams and turning your effort and your intelligence into marks on the board is Effective Revision. Making sure revision lasts is a science as well as an art.

  • Know your stuff. There is no easy way or short-cut for this one. You have to revise, revise at length, and revise effectively. Too many students spend hours ‘revising’ – but it’s ineffective; it’s not going into the long-term memory. The rate of ‘forgetting’ once you’ve revised some information is surprisingly rapid. After 24 hours you are likely to retain no more than 35%of the information you revised the previous evening.

read more...»

Great G&T Geography resources

Monday, February 02, 2015

I came across the video attached.  The pupils loved seeing this and thinking about how different cities compared with others.  The site also has many other videos and reading material to stretch the most able.

read more...»

Ebola virus is mutating

Researchers have suggested that the Ebola virus has mutated, making it more contagious.  Could a pandemic be on the cards?

read more...»

Lesson planning

Saturday, January 24, 2015

how can we create student led lessons? 

read more...»

Teaching about crime

Great websites regarding the teaching of the Geography of crime.

read more...»

The Geography of disease - Malaria’s resistance to drugs

Despite many Scientific improvements and a reduction in Malaria deaths across the World, a new drug resistant strain of the Malaria parasite has been found and this is concerning.

 Anopheles mosquito

read more...»

Great Geography songs to teach various topics

Great songs to use to bring different topics alive!

read more...»

Human development

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Looking into inequality and development across the world? If so the United Nations  Human Development Index mapping resource is a fantastic tool to compare countries. 

Click on the image below to open up map and analyse individual countries based on income, life expectancy,years of schooling, gender equality etc. 

UN hdi

The UK's individual scores are contained in the following link UK HDI

A touch of frost : that’ll be the anticyclone that’s come to stay for a bit.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Last night was the chilliest in many parts of Britain for over three years. What were the conditions that brought it about - and why could it persist for much of the rest of the week? A High Pressure airmass has settled over Britain, and it means the cold snap is set to continue for a few days - and nights - yet.


read more...»

Great low pressure video

Thursday, January 15, 2015

This an brilliant video from the Met Office showing last night's low pressure system advancing across the UK. 

Free A1 Tourism Poster

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Discover the World have produced a free A1 tourism poster on the positive and negative impacts of tourism http://www.livingplanetblog.co.uk/2015/01/complimentary-a1-classroom-italy-poster-the-impacts-of-tourism.html. The poster uses the bay of Naples as a case study and is a great way of updating your classroom displays. It also looks like they will be adding more geography resources focusing on Italy and China later in the month so keep your eyes peeled. 

Preparing exam groups

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Looking for some quick tips on how to best prepare exam groups for upcoming exams?

read more...»

Marking strategies in Geography

Engaging pupils in the marking process reduces the time spent by the teacher.

read more...»

What caused the Big Freeze?

Thursday, January 08, 2015

After many years of Scientists stating that a huge comet or asteroid started the big freeze, there are now many doubts.

read more...»

Fossil fuel reserves must remain untapped to lessen global warming

Scientists have stated that in order to reduce global warming and prevent an increase of 2 degrees or more, we must leave many of our fossil fuel reserves untapped.

read more...»

Into the Volcano

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Tomorrow evening at 8pm on BBC 2 a new two part series begins, Kate Humble: Into the Volcano. The episodes will be focussing on looking at Iava bombs and lava lakes for evidence of an imminent eruption of two of the world's most active volcanoes in Vanuatu. Hopefully this will contain some great geography.

recycling christams trees as flood defences

Thursday, January 01, 2015

This article from the BBC shows how old Christmas trees are being used to reduce both river and coastal flooding http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30615156.

In rivers the old Christmas trees are being attached to the bank to flow the flow and reduce bank erosion too. At the coast the old trees are being buried to stabilise sand dunes which are excellent natural coastal protection from flooding. This is a really interesting and memorable case study. 

How much do you know about the weather?

The BBC have produced a short online quiz which would make a great starter activity to introduce the weather topic http://play.bbc.co.uk/play/pen/gvv585v3qc. It covers a range of weather phenomenon and would generate a lot of discussion and debate.

Fighting for Our Subject: Improving Uptake for GCSE Geography

Sunday, December 21, 2014

With competition between subjects increasing in school,  it's important to show our students how important, realistic and current a Geography qualification is.

read more...»

The Impacts of Dams - Case Study of the River Nile

As many new dams are planned to be built along the River Nile, many people are fighting back against them.

read more...»

What Happens When You Walk on Lava?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I love a wow moment in a geography lesson, as these always seem to stick in pupils' minds. 

read more...»

What makes a good map?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My cousin is currently skiing in Japan and he has sent me a copy of the piste map for the resort he is staying in because, unusually, it has contour lines on it. This is extremely useful information to have on a ski map so that you can know the gradient all the way along a run before you attempt it. If all ski resorts had this information on their piste maps I would have avoided that doomed feeling you get when you ski round a corner to face a ridiculously steep slope and there is no other way down!

This got me thinking about teaching a lesson on what makes a good map. So over the holidays I am going to be busy collecting a range of maps from country parks, the Tube, ski resorts, theme parks, atlas maps, and an OS map. I will give groups of pupils a map fro them to look at and discuss what is good and bad about it and whether it is fit for purpose. Then I am going to give them the outline map of our school and ask them to improve it.


Monday, December 15, 2014

A fantastic end of term game for students. Geoguessr gives students a location from Google earth and students need to use the visual clues from the location to try pinpoint where in the world the place is. Students and teachers can also set up their own quizzes using Geosettr

Here's one I made to try out.  Geoguessr quiz


Monday, December 08, 2014

This Christmas I'm buying myself a present of several sets of these recordable answer buzzers.

Buzzers are a great way of creating more excitement in a class room quiz but these are more versatile than others sets I've seen. Due to the fact that these are recordable I can create different sounds for each buzzer meaning I can use more than one set at a time and therefore have more teams.

I can also create plenary sorting games with them by recording the name of each category on each buzzer. For example if I was revising plate tectonics I would give each team a buzzer pre-recorded with one of the plate boundaries (conservative, constructive, destructive or collision) and then read out a list of plate boundary characteristics. If the team think the characteristic describes their plate boundary they press their buzzer.

There are lots of possibilities to use these in your lessons.

Marking- smarter and easier for the teacher.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

marking- let's speed it up. Let's get pupils working harder than teachers and constantly responding to feedback. Build those learning conversations.

read more...»

The ongoing issues of living near an active volcano.

It has been 17 years since the Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted on Montserrat and whilst the volcano still shows signs of erupting, few people are aware of the ongoing anguish facing the people still living there.

read more...»

UK migration theme continued

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Today we continue to look at the theme of migration and the UK. Click on the below image to bring up the interactive timeline on British Immigration from 1964 to 2013. Students can choose different population groupings to look at including all citizens, EU citizens and Non-EU citizens. Where are immigrants coming from? Where are British citizens emigrating to? Can students identify times of high immigration? Was the economy growing and what was the unemployment rate during different migration years. Again another fantastic resource for Geography and economic students looking at the issue of migration. 

long term migration to UK

World Cities: magnets for the young – but seen to repel young families?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A recent study has shown how cities such as London, a World City in terms of financial, commercial and cultural importance, can be attractive for young migrants looking for their first steps on the career ladder. But spiraling housing costs and long commutes to work are causing those who may be ready to start a family or simply want an improved quality of life to look at alternative, cheaper cities for home-making.

read more...»

Migration UK infographic

Immigration is a really hot topic at the moment. The below Infographic from the Office of National Statistics shows in thousands the Non-UK born census population of England and Wales. At present  13% (7.5 million) of the population of England and Wales are Non-UK born. The top ten countries in 2011 make up 3.4 million or 45% of the total immigrant population with all other countries account for 4.1 million or 55%.

As we can see for every decade until 2011 Ireland was the birthplace of most resident Non-UK born people. Given the close economic, historical and social ties this is unsurprising. In 2011 India had the highest Non-UK born residency with 674,000, Poland was second with 579,000, Pakistan Third with 482,000 and Ireland fourth with 407,000. A good starter activity is to give the students the names of the top ten countries and see if they can place them in order from the most non-UK born residents to the least in England and Wales. 

 This could lead into a class discussion around the reasons for migration and the pros and cons of migration. 

In thousands the Non-UK born populations of England and Wales

Clean Water - Dispensed from an ATM!

Monday, December 01, 2014

How to regulate the distribution of safe drinking water? Authorities in one part of India have come up with an ingenuous solution - a water ATM!

read more...»

World Bank Video on A Future of Floods and Droughts as Climate Changes

This new video from the World Bank outlines a pretty bleak future for many parts of the world as climate change continues to take effect. It's only short - and probably the better for that! Uncomfortable viewing, but packed with some useful insights and predictions.

read more...»

Obesity and Malnutrition: Why Both Are Rising

A fascinating, short video here from The Economist which explores why levels of malnutrition have not fallen as much as the proportion of people in extreme poverty, and whether there is a link to rising levels of obesity in both developed and developing countries.

Mexico is referred to as an example. in just one generation, Mexico has gone from widespread hunger to the highest obesity rate in the world.

Eliminating malnutrition doesn't seem to rate highly as a priority amongst governments. It is claimed that only 1% of international aid goes toward nutrition programmes. Time for a change to that?

read more...»

Extreme Weather and Cities - How Can Cities Recover from Shocks?

How resilient are cities to major shocks such as extreme weather events? This short FT video explores how major cities in the US have become much more resilient to shocks and can even become stronger for their experiences!

One key element of increased resilience seems to be collaboration - city planners working together to share best practice.

read more...»

“Car free” Sundays in London

Sunday, November 30, 2014

After experiencing a "car free" environment in Jakarta, Indonesia, Boris Johnson recognises the benefits of such a strategy happening in London, where CO2 emissions and issues with free-flowing transport are an issue.

read more...»

Lesson observations and inspirational strategies

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Being a head of department means I get to see some outstanding lesson observations every cycle, I am amazed at the creativity of lesson activities and the way that students engage with the lesson. OFSTED rated our secondary school as OUTSTANDING across all 4 areas in 2013, this prompted the transition of lesson observations and teaching to the idea of 'inspirational-strategies'. 

read more...»

USA’s air quality

For many years the USA has been seen as the black sheep of the World with regards to its lack of focus on reducing atmospheric emissions.  Whilst many developed nations have tried to abide by strict pollution controls and have focused their policies on the research and implementation of "green technology" the USA has lagged behind, as it strived to increase its wealth.  The USA has now finally been told that it needs to change!

read more...»

The importance of Geography

In an ever changing World, Geography has become the most significant subject around.  In many occupations Geography provides the knowledge and skills to enable these jobs to be a success.

I show the attached video to my classes when they are making their option choices and also to my year 10 & 11 when looking at the possible A-level options.  Pupils need Geography to have a context; a reality, so that they see there is some point to studying the subject.

read more...»

Understanding Ebola

Thursday, November 27, 2014

For teachers and students covering the Geography of disease it is worthwhile to take this course developed by Alison.com.

Understanding Ebola

Other interesting resources include:

This video from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

health maps of outbreak

bbc maps, history and advice


Weather Channels

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Met office YouTube channel provides an array of videos to enhance leaning and understanding of the myriad of weather topics. Recent weather events, extreme weather events, climate change and how to measure weather are all covered and regularly updated. Definitely worth subscribing to this channel. 

Met office weather


Protecting the Great Barrier Reef

Monday, November 24, 2014

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure on earth made by living creatures and the world’s most extensive coral-reef ecosystem. But, the GBR is under threat. Will 2015 be the year when it finally gets the protection it needs from predators, pollution, climate change and coal dredging? 

read more...»

Population Pyramids - The Changing Profile of the World’s Population

A superb short video here from The Economist which describes the changing shape of the world's population pyramid. 

read more...»

Wild Weather

On Monday 1st December at 9pm a new three part weather documentary starts on BBC 1. The series is presented by Richard Hammond and the first episode covers wind, the second is about water and the final one is about temperature. The Open University has produced a poster in conjunction with the series and it's free to order here. There are also some really good,simple weather experiments pupils could do at home or in the classroom http://www.open.edu/openlearn/wildweather

Unhealthy oceans

As we use the oceans as a waste site for our growing industrial and commercial waste, impacts on wildlife are becoming increasingly common.

read more...»

Starter Activity: Development Spin

Friday, November 21, 2014

This is a high impact starter for introducing development. 

read more...»

Wildlife Tourism – has to be a good thing for developing countries, right? Wrong. It’ll end in tears

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The cattle-tending Masai of the Serengeti plains of Tanzania are under notice to abandon their traditional nomadic lands to make way for tourism. And tourism that shoots the wildlife with something more deadly than cameras. Trophy-hunting – once the pastime of wealthy Americans and Europeans is back on the agenda for the oil-rich super-wealthy of the twenty-first century.

read more...»

A Year in the Life of Earth’s CO2

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An ultra-high-resolution NASA computer model has given scientists a stunning new look at how carbon dioxide in the atmosphere travels around the globe.

read more...»

Geography of disease

Monday, November 17, 2014

With Ebola being a major talking point in the news at the moment pupils are fascinated by this issue.  Discussions surrounding  diseases is a great way to focus on the wider geographical impact.

read more...»

migration patterns worldwide

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A very topical subject at present is how people move into and from countries. Some great resources for teachers to show how migration patterns vary across the globe are as follows|:

  1. People moving This visualizes the number of people migrating in and out of  individual countries. 

    People Moving

  2. The International Organisation for Migration map shows emigration and immigration to and from countries around the world.

International Organisation for Migration Map

3. Finally the global migration flow map shows how migrations occur on a regional basis. Which regions have the most inward migration and which regions have the most leaving. Click on the image below to visit the interactive chart. 

global migration info

How many Britons does it take to make a sandwich? Not applicable - we need Hungarians to do it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This article in the Daily Mail followed the headline on Monday (10/11/14) that the sandwich supplier to M&S and Tesco had to look to Eastern Europe for workers to staff a new factory. And the reason, apparently, is that British workers are “too lazy”. Of course there is more to it than that but the combination of UK workers' reluctance to do low-paid manual labour and the higher wages Eastern Europeans can expect compared to those in their home countries has lead to the situation that commands such headlines. 

This article is essential reading for any geographers studying migration. Also, this short report from Channel 4 news is a certain worth watching.

Tube tongues: mapping languages at London tube stops

This interactive map showing the most common second languages spoken at London tube stations is fascinating and provides a wealth of information to explore. It was created by Oliver O’Brien who is a researcher in geovisualisation and web mapping at University College London’s geography department. The links with different school geography courses at GCSE and AS/A2 level are many and this map will encourage enquiry amongst students.

read more...»

The Geography Teacher Linkedin Discussion Group

Monday, November 10, 2014

Our Geography teacher LinkedIn discussion group is now 'live'!

The aim of the group is to allow Geography teachers to engage, connect and share ideas, best practice, concerns, teaching tips and other teacher related issues with each other.

The Geography Teacher LinkedIn group is carefully monitored and managed so that it remains solely for the use of teachers. You can join the group here

Global Development Game

Friday, November 07, 2014

The Global development Game created by the Guardian is a fantastic fun resource for students of Geography and Economics. Ideal for students who have completed the Development Topic in either subject. 

Click on the map of Africa below to try out the game. 

global development game

Carbon Capture: phasing out fossil fuels whilst burying the evidence

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The recent report on the world’s climate scenario presented a hard-hitting warning that if the nations of the world don’t act swiftly to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, then “severe, pervasive and irreversible damage” can be expected from incontrovertible climate change. The report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) hit headlines around the world. The message: reduce fossil-fuel reliance to less than that from renewables by 2050, and completely by 2100.

read more...»

2100 - no more fossil fuels

Monday, November 03, 2014

Our planet is 4.5 billion years old and so the year 2100 is just a geological blink of an eye away. Yet the Intergovernmental panel on climate change believes that our reliance on fossil fuels, that is the burning of coal, oil and gas should all but be phased out by this date.

read more...»

How the Global Population Is Changing

Sunday, November 02, 2014

This 90 second videographic from The Economist is a neat way of illustrating some key changes in global population - namely median age and population size and growth.

read more...»

Extreme Weather - Drought in São Paulo

The rainy season can’t some soon enough for the inhabitants of São Paulo, but this might only bring short-term relief.

read more...»

Extreme Weather - Drought in California

California is in the grip of a three-year drought that is causing widespread damage in the most populous state in the US. 

read more...»

Rip currents - Australia’s deadliest natural hazard

Friday, October 31, 2014

As a keen open water swimmer I am more than aware of the dangers that rip currents pose. Rip currents are very strong, narrow channels that can pull swimmers, canoeists, kayakers and surfers away from the shore.

Research on Australia has also revealed that these dangerous ocean currents are the nations deadliest natural hazard - ahead of floods and bushfires.

This short video from the BBC (which can be accessed here) explains why.

Ocean Acidification: Dipping a toe in changing waters.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The chief UK scientist was reported, this week, expressing serious concern about the the impacts of climate change and carbon emissions on the state of the planet's oceans. Whilst increased air temperatures have generated most discussion, there are significant changes occurring in the seas which, covering 70% of the planet, could be having a widespread impact on complex marine ecosystems that we're only just starting to explore.

read more...»

Around the world in 360 degrees - 3 year ‘selfie’

Thursday, October 23, 2014

After graduating from college, Alex Chacon sold everything he owned and traveled around the world. Armed with a GoPro, he documented his adventure in a unique way with 360 degree turns in different locations.

The result is simply stunning


Less Arctic Ice; More Antarctic Ice - What’s Cooking?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Climate change scientists have been puzzling over what is happening at the opposite Poles of the earth. Whilst there has been a recognisable medium-term contraction of summer Arctic sea-ice at the North Pole, the South Pole has been experiencing an increase in sea-ice to record levels this year. 

Attempting to explain this apparent contradiction is guiding climate experts to a deeper understanding of the factors involved in climate change processes and impacts

read more...»

Anatomy of an Earthquake

This fascinating six-minute video from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) guides us through what happens when a seismic hazard deep beneath the Earth's surface meets a vulnerable population above.

read more...»

Population pyramids past present and future

Friday, October 17, 2014

Population structures are graphical representations of the population of countries. These structures/pyramids change subject to time and the conditions in a country. The following resources help us to understand how they change.

The below Ted-Ed Talk compares the Population structures of three countries Rwanda, Canada and Japan and how current population trends can predict future populations. 

The following sciencemag resource allows you to chose any two countries in the world and shows the changes in population structure from 1970 to 2050. Population structure changes

The last useful resource for showing how population structures are ever-changing is the World Population Pyramid which shows the entire worlds population and how its structure has shifted through time and how it will change into the future. 

Technology and Development - Mongolian Herders

A hat-tip to Graham Watson who spotted this terrific short video from the World Bank which illustrates quite beautifully how technology can aid development.

In 2005, less than 30% of soum centers (villages) in rural Mongolia had reliable telecommunications. By 2013, 100% has access to modern phone and Internet services. Take a look at how the lives of Mongolian herders have been changed by this. 

read more...»

World population simulation

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

A phenomenal resource and must use for the population topic is this world population simulator

Individual statistics for each country can be found by hovering over the country in question. Students can quickly figure out for themselves which areas of the world are adding to world population growth at the fastest and slowest rates. Students can see how rapidly world population increases over the course of a class. The developers have also produced a real time map of births and deaths for the United States and a google chrome extension for easy launch within the classroom. I found this resource in an article at theatlantic.com.

From Factory Floor to Your Wardrobe - The Journey of Your Jeans

Monday, September 22, 2014

This is a great video to illustrate the role of supply chains in supporting a truly global product like a pair of jeans. 

How far does a typical pair of jeans travel before it ends up in your closet -- and at what cost? Reuters tracks the garment supply chain, from factories in Bangladesh to retailers near you.

read more...»

Scottish Independence?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A nice activity for tomorrow is to distribute the blank map below and ask students to fill in all the countries and to circle the United Kingdom, Britain and the British Isles.

uk-blank.gif (750×956)

read more...»

Three’s a crowd? Not on the high street. A look at clustering in UK towns and cities.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Settlement geography is a popular topic at GCSE and it invariably requires an understanding of land use. Furthermore, this part of the topic is often the focus of field work investigations. One interesting feature of many high streets in UK towns and cities is clustering whereby shops or services of similar function are found side-by-side or in close proximity to one another. You may be able to illustrate this phenomenon easily in your local area (and if you can take a group out to see it firsthand then even better) but if you are in the classroom Google Street View is a useful tool.

read more...»

California drought visualized

Sunday, September 07, 2014

California is currently experiencing the worst drought in its history. 

This is covered by Tutorschoolfrench with images from Le Monde in France of the drought that has gripped California for the past three years.This is a nice crossover for Geography and French students. They can learn some key French phrases as well as understand the drought.

Slider images showing the impact of the drought are also available on Buzzfeed

Volcano blows its top

Below is a spectacular video captured by tourists  of a volcanic eruption in Papua New Guinea. Holidaymakers in a nearby boat filmed the explosive eruption of Mount Tavurvur on the 29th of August.

Before and after images of the extent of the ashfall are available on the NASA website. Pictures and videos of the eruption are available here Washington Post.

While further details of the Tavurvur volcano and other live volcanoes can be found at:

Volcano live

Designing the ideal geographer!

Monday, September 01, 2014

This is an ideal starter activity for an introductory Geography lesson for Year 10 as they embark on their GCSEs, or even for Year 12 at the very beginning of the AS course. Like so many of the best ideas, it is incredibly simple. Give each student a plain piece of paper and ask them to design the "Ideal Geographer". They should draw an annotated sketch of what they imagine would make the most effective student of the subject: imagination is key and they can/should push the boundaries of reality! By doing this and encouraging feed back you can facilitate an important discussion and students can begin to develop ideas about what it means to "think like a geographer".

For example, their geographer may have the following "adaptations" or devices:

- a range of lenses from wide angle to macro so that issues can be viewed from a variety of scales

- an in-built sound recorder for recording sound-scapes and people's opinions

- a device that turns from a propeller to a drill so they can get above and below ground

- a finger tip made of pH paper to test soils, water etc. 

- a language chip in the brain so they can communicate with people from all over the world

- a time-travel device to assess how things have changed in the past and how they may change in the future

You get the idea... I am sure your students will come up with some weird and wonderful features. So long as they can justify their ideas and the reasons are firmly rooted in Geography, anything goes!

Geography thunks get you thinking

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm trying to get my students to think more deeply about topics, and develop their explanation skills this year. I've been inspired by Ian Gilbert's "The Little Book of Thunks" to come up with some questions that would make good starters or plenaries, and or form a thought provoking classroom display.

1. If geography didn't exist where would we be? 

read more...»

Climb every mountain

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To celebrate geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison climbing the equivalent height of Everest using steps in London's tallest buildings Ordnance Survey has created the step mountain calculator. This tool allows you to type in the number of steps you have climbed and it will calculate the equivalent height in famous buildings and mountains. Using this tool you could create an excellent Geography and P.E cross curricular challenge as pupils could compete as individuals or teams to assail a particular mountain or building over a period of time of your choosing. The calculator website also gives the scale they have used to calculate the number of steps that is equivalent to a particular height and this could be used for pupils to complete some map and numeracy work of their own. Pupils could use your local OS map to find the spot height of a local hill or mountain and then calculate how many steps would be required to climb it.

80 maps that explain the world

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Maps are a powerful tool for teaching about the world. The Washington Post has published eighty maps (in two posts) that might change our perspective and understanding of the world. Some carefully selected maps from this selection would make an interesting first geography lesson of the year. The maps could stimulate some interesting conversations on what is geography. Pupils could also rank the maps according to various categories, such as most interesting, most surprising, most useful etc. You could also give pupils some of the maps without titles and or keys to see if they can work out what the map shows. This lesson could also lead nicely onto a homework task where pupils find interesting maps of the UK or their local area.

A selection of the maps would also make a high impact and thought provoking display to fill some bare classroom walls at the start of the year and in preparation for the open evening season.

Volcano heat melts roads

Friday, August 01, 2014

The picture below is of one of the roads in Yellowstone National Park melting as a result of a volcanic hotspot. It would make a great starter for a lesson on predicting volcanic activity or super volcanoes. Not only could you ask pupils about what they think is happening in the picture but also get them to imagine they are in charge of the park and what they would do as a result of this event, evacuate or simply repair the road? Why? It could lead into a good discussion on predicting tectonic hazards too.

Geography of events on Twitter #TDF #BRAv#GER

Wednesday, July 09, 2014
  • Teachers can follow @TwitterData on Twitter to see events that are being tweeted about and the locations from which these events are being sent.

  • This can be brought into a fun classroom activity. Teachers can give the date of an event and the location of most tweets and students have to guess the event. 
  • For example on The 6th of July what event had Sheffield/York lighting up in terms of Tweets?
read more...»

What is Geography and why does it matter anyway? Summer reading for Year 12s

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Teachers use this post exam period for their Year 12 sets in various ways; many decide to begin the A2 course with a view to picking up where they left off once term begins again in September. Some will set written work to do over the summer break but whatever you decide to do, encouraging your students to read around the subject is a good idea. The book Why Geography Matters More Than Ever by Harm de Blij (2012, OUP USA) is an excellent book to recommend to anyone studying Geography in the Sixth Form; it is certainly one for your school library.


read more...»

Now, before and after

One important higher level skill in Geography is for pupils to apply their understanding of processes to describe and explain how places change over time. To encourage pupils to apply their understanding try this task. Firstly show pupils a picture of a scene today (like the one shown below) and ask them to describe it.

Then ask pupils to hypothesise what this place might have looked like five years ago and to explain why they think this.

Finally pose ask pupils to predict how this place might be different in one hundred years time. What is possible and what is probable?

This is a really versatile technique that can be applied to a range of topics, using different time scales to suit. It also provides a great way of extending the more able pupils that you teach by adding even more factors for them to consider. For example how might this place be different in one hundred years time if global warming continues?

Create a fake SMS conversation

Using the new tool from classtools.net you can create fake SMS conversations like the one below. Teachers could create them as starter or plenary activities, asking pupils to add more comments to the conversation. Alternatively, as it is extremely easy to use and conversations can be saved, pupils could create their own. It is a great way of engaging pupils and could be used for a variety of topics.

Drawing the structure of the earth - numeracy and geography

Thursday, June 12, 2014

If you are trying to incorporate more numeracy and problem solving into Geography lessons then this task could be the answer. Knowing the structure of the earth is vital for pupils to understand the theory of plate tectonics but instead of getting them to copy a diagram from a textbook how about getting them to construct their own scale diagram using the instructions shown below. This activity encourages pair work as well as refreshing pupils minds about how scale works.

Behind the scenes of the World Cup

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The World Cup has brought Brazil to everyone's attention and is a great excuse to teach about this diverse country. The BBC has produced some great resources about Brazil's favelas with maps, photos and case studies about some of the residents http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-27635554

Explorable income Inequality

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Some countries are much more unequal than others with regards to income levels between the rich and poor. 

100 years of income inequality from 29 countries has been mapped and is available in the following interactive tool created by Carnegie Mellon University. 

Explorable Income Inequality

This is a useful resource for Geography and Economics teachers and students to explore income inequalities within countries. The tool includes what proportion of all income that flows to the top 1% and 10%. The top 1% and 10% incomes can also be compared to the bottom 90%. For example in graph 1 below we can see the income of the top 1% in the UK is equivalent to the income of greater than 19 people from the remaining 90%. 

Graph 1

We can also compare income between countries. For example I  compared the United States, France and the United Kingdom. We can see from graph 2 that the United States is most unequally distributed, as the top 10% hold a disproportionately high share of incomes at almost 50%. Incomes of the wealthiest 10% in the UK and USA are rising over time compared to the rest of the population. in 2011 the top 10% shared 39% of the income in the UK.  While France's top earners have a much lower share of income and hence there is much less income inequality.  

Graph 2

London Mapped: from hedgehogs to homelessness

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

London is a city of great inequalities and that is why a team at Oxford University has developed the website LondonMapper.org.uk. It is an amazing and growing website including a range of maps showing each borough as a different size depending on its differing values for a range of data sets. Some of the maps that you can look at include, obesity, carbon emissions, homelessness, house prices, crime and hedgehog sightings. These maps are a wonderful visual resource which is continuing to grow.

Worldwide online quizzes

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Geographical Association has some great online quizzes for your students. They can test their knowledge on cities, oceans, map skills, countries to name a few topics. Once they have completed a quiz there are downloadable certificates featuring their scores to be printed out.


Young Geographer of the Year Competition

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Royal Geographical Society had launched their Young Geographer of the Year Competition. Aimed at 9-18 year olds this year's question is 'How can geography help you?'. This would be great to run as an in school competition with the winners being entered for the national competition. It would be a good way to get pupils to see the value of Geography. For more details see http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/Competitions.


Responding to Emergencies

Friday, May 09, 2014

CAFOD have produced some useful new resources on how they respond to emergencies http://www.cafod.org.uk/Education/Secondary-schools/Emergencies. There is an introductory film as well as up to date information on the latest emergencies around the world. I particularly like the board game they have created on how to protect a community threatened by a flood. In addition there are resources on Typhoon Haiyan, the Syrian Crisis and rebuilding after the Haiti Earthquake.

Human Geography GCSE Dominoes

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The dominoes activity is often used for revising geographical terminology but when using the game for GCSE revision it can also be used to test case study detail. 

Here are some for human geography topics: 

Population change: POPULATION_DOMINOS.doc

Changing urban environments: URBAN_DOMINOS.doc 


Feel free to adapt and use!

You can subtly differentiate as you distribute the cards and, if you've got a small set, some students can be given two. I often time them to see how long it takes from start to finish then get them to swap cards around and repeat to see if they can get a quicker time. It's always a popular activity and can be a real confidence booster. Quality of communication is key: both speaking clearly and listening carefully.

Developing links in exam answers

With the GCSE exams rapidly approaching I have been focussing on exam technique with my year 11's. One thing that they seem to struggle with is understanding how to achieve well on the higher mark, longer answer, questions. So we have been talking about developing links and expanding answers. Here is a worksheet I produced to encourage them to create detailed explanations. This technique could easily be applied to any topic.

Powerful visual of Typhoon Haiyan

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Very powerful video put together by The Telegraph showing the immediate impact of November 2013's Typhoon side by side with images 6 months on. The video highlights the enduring human spirit and how people struggle to rebuild following such a devastating natural disaster.

The article accompanying the video is available here The Telegraph: Haiyan

TeachUNICEF resources

UNICEF's American website has hundreds of resources and lesson plans for Geography teachers and students to use teachUNICEF. Global issues such as economic development, climate change, humanitarian disasters, gender inequality as well as many others are explored. The site can be searched by topic, by grade level and by media type. 

Topics can be narrowed to student age level. teachUNICEFage

Media types include written articles and lesson plans, audio and video lessons. teachUNICEF media

The site also has its own YouTube page youtubeunicef

World Infographic

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Superb Infographic by London Designer Jack Hagley on the World of 100 people to be found at www.jackhagley.com. Covers population, development and human factors in one neat chart. Followers of this blog might look back to a previous post Minature World which deals with the same theme.

Where have you been a tourist?

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Guardian's website  has a really nice tool that allows you to create a personalised map of where you have been a tourist. It even includes a function that allows to record how many times you have visited a place. This would make a good homework task for pupils, or even a whole class map would make an interesting discussion.

Fracking - 5 minute debate

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I am teaching a lesson on fracking this week and in planning for it I discovered the Guardian's five minute debate videos. The website has an excellent five minute video debate on the pro's and con's of fracking which I think will make a great plenary combined with a vote at the end of the lesson.

Other geography related topics on the website include nuclear power, migration in developing countries and the impact of cycling on traffic in the UK. These could be used as starters or plenaries, or as inspiration for pupils to create their own five minute debates.

read more...»

Enter your Email

Latest resources Resource categories Blog RSS feed Blog RSS Feed