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.
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.
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.
- 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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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...»
In today's China, over half of the 1.3bn population already live in cities, with millions more expected to join them soon as the Chinese government pursues its policy of mass urbanisation.
A consequence of urbanisation is that China's traditional agrarian sector is not able to feed the domestic population. With less land, increasingly scarce or polluted water and fewer rural workers, the issue of food scarcity is an important threat to China's economic transformation.
One response for China is to increase the amount of imported food. Another is to invest in bigger "commercial" farms. But, as this FT video explains, in the short-term, the pressure remains on traditional farming methods.read more...»
The following maps would be great starter activities for tourism. Firstly ask students to guess what they think would be the countries most visited by tourists and then show them this map to see if they were right.
This could be followed by getting pupils to guess what the most popular tourist attractions are in the world and then compare them to the map below. Lots of opportunities for further analysis and discussion I think.read more...»
There has been a lot over coverage in recent days about the smog caused by a mixture of air pollution and the arrival of dust from the Sahara Desert. This is an excellent news item to highlight links between several geographical themes, including human and physical topics. Pupils could use this material in AS/A2 essays relating to meteorology, health issues, urbanisation and sustainability. The maps below show the air quality index on 2nd and 3rd April and corresponding health advice to those "at risk" as well the general population.
The Specialist Travel Consultancy have created a 'Destination Inspiration' map and have about 200 to give away FOR FREE.
They are ideal for KS3 and beyond and full of interesting facts, quizzes and inspiring ideas for educational adventures around the world.
For more details and to find out how to order yours visit: http://www.thestc.co.uk/blog/article/a2-free-educational-resource-travel-map
The Specialist Travel Consultancy have created a 'Destination Inspiration' map and have about 200 to give away FOR FREE.
They are ideal for KS3 and beyond and full of interesting facts, quizzes and inspiring ideas for educational adventures around the world.
For more details and to find out how to order yours visit: http://www.thestc.co.uk/blog/article/a2-free-educational-resource-travel-map
Those studying weather and climate will be familiar with synoptic charts. Students of AQA's A2 Geography course need to know how to interpret synoptic charts for the Unit 4A paper even if they do not study meteorology as a topic. I have found this video very useful in helping to explain the fundamentals of synoptic charts including isobars, air pressure, air masses, fronts and wind speed and direction.
Other videos can be found here including...read more...»
These are excellent resources written and designed by Rick Cope (ex-Head of Geography at Backwell School and former director of Castle Head Field Centre in the Lake District) released every couple of months. The most recent is a great tool for studying Keyhaven Marshes (a case study often used in coastal and ecology topics).
A must for all Geography teachers is the National Geographic's 101 video library.
These videos explain a wide variety of natural phenomenon. Extreme weather events, tectonic and mass movement processes are explained.
This week I'm using landslides 101 as a guide to mass movement processes. landslides 101
Questioning can be an excellent way of differentiating and checking progress in a lesson. I have used the image below to help me to frame questions more effectively. As you move to the right and the bottom the types of questions are more challenging and encourage pupils to think more deeply.
I have also shown this image to pupils when asking them to come up with their own questions as a starter or plenary activity.
A WOW Geography interactive from the Guardian exploring the positive and negative impacts of smartphones.
Students can analyse the different components that make up of their phone, where they come from and see the impact on our environment from mining for the precious metals that make up a smartphone.
On the other hand how the positive improvements in food production, responding to disasters and health are outlined. This is a resource that just keeps giving and covers a broad range of Geographical topics from sustainability, economic Geography, inequality and exploitation.
A must for all Geography teachers and students.
This week I have been looking at iPad and mobile phone apps to enhance fieldwork. Here are some of the best.
This free app allows to take and annotate photos and then share them with others.read more...»
These maps of wind speed are great. You can scroll across the world to see wind speeds in any part of the world. This would be a good starter for a lesson on weather and really interesting to look at when a hurricane occurs. http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-0.45,51.78,2224
As option time approaches it's always helpful to have some promotional materials to hand. These are a couple of really useful videos to show both pupils and parents.
The NY times has put together an excellent map resource to help us understand the Geography of Ukraine and the current crisis in the region.
The maps show the areas of Ukraine which are in favor of the incursion by Russia. They also show the percentage of native Ukrainian speakers as apposed to Russian speakers. While the economic importance of Ukraine is also visualized through the map of the gas pipelines passing from Russia through Ukraine to Europe.
Similarly the BBC has produced an excellent analysis of the Geography of the region.
Nice idea to get students to develop their own maps of the region using the National Geographic's MapMaker Interactive.
We all know that Geography is about a lot more than flags, maps and capital cities. However knowledge of where countries are is important for everyone who is interested about the world; for geographers it is fundamental.
Brainscape is an excellent web tool which allows users to test their knowledge and improve this over a short period of time. Using the tool on Windows allows free but limited content. The free iPad app also offers the following content: African countries, Asian countries and currencies of the world. Other regions can be purchased.
There have been many stories about sinkholes opening up recently in the UK and elsewhere, swallowing cars and creating scenes worthy of a sci-fi blockbuster. However, geographers know that these features can be formed through natural processes (such as those occurring in karst landscapes) but their dramatic appearance can also be triggered by human activity. The photograph below is from 2010 and shows a 200ft sink hole that appeared in Guatemala City, killing at least one man when it caused a three-storey building to collapse. Thankfully, those that have appeared in recent months closer to home have not resulted in any deaths but these eerie features have been appearing more frequently of late. The reasons behind this are concerned with both human and physical Geography.
The video below shows footage from both the UK and around the world and gives an overview of the causes of ground collapse.read more...»
Our GCSE Geography teacher team are hard at work creating a comprehensive series of MCQ-based revision quiz to support students. As soon as each revision quiz is ready, we'll add the topic to the list below.read more...»
This GCSE revision quiz tests your knowledge and understanding of the topic of Alaskan Oil. Each time you take the revision quiz on Alaskan Oil 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on Aid. Each time you take the revision quiz on Aid 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on droughts. Each time you take the revision quiz on droughts 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on Brazil. Each time you take the revision quiz on Brazil 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on the USA. Each time you take the revision quiz on the USA 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on Bangladesh. Each time you take the revision quiz on Bangladesh 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on rocks and landscape. Each time you take the revision quiz on rocks and landscape 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on water. Each time you take the revision quiz on water 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on transport. Each time you take the revision quiz on transport 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on tourism. Each time you take the revision quiz on tourism 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
Test your knowledge and understanding of the topic of resources with this GCSE Geography revision quiz. Each time you take the revision quiz on resources 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on map skills. Each time you take the revision quiz on map skills 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz tests your knowledge and understanding of the topic of industry. Each time you take the revision quiz on industry 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz tests your knowledge and understanding of the topic of globalisation. Each time you take the revision quiz on globalisation 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on development. Each time you take the revision quiz on development, 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE revision quiz is on climate and weather. Each time you take the revision quiz on climate and weather, 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
How much do you know about volcanoes? Each time you take the revision quiz on volcanoes, 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
Here is an online quiz which tests knowledge of the basics of earthquakes. Each time you take the revision quiz on earthquakes, 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
The basics of ecosystems are the subject of this 10-question revision quiz. Each time you take the revision quiz on ecosystems, 10 questions are drawn from our database on the topic - so you get a new quiz every time!
This GCSE geography quiz looks at the topic of rivers. Each time you take the quiz, ten questions are drawn from our database - so you get a different revision quiz each time to help test your knowledge and understanding of rivers
This revision quiz looks at the topic of coasts. Each time you take the quiz, ten questions are drawn from our database on coasts - so you get a different revision quiz each time to help test your knowledge and understanding of coasts.
This GCSE revision quiz looks at deserts and tundra. Each time you take the quiz, ten questions are drawn from our database on deserts and tundra - so you get a different revision quiz each time to help test your knowledge and understanding of deserts and tundra.
This revision quiz covers the topic of farming. Each time you take the quiz, ten questions are drawn from our database on farming - so you get a different revision quiz each time to help test your knowledge and understanding of farming.
This GCSE geography quiz looks at the topic of renewable energy. Each time you take the quiz, ten questions are drawn from our database on renewable energy - so you get a different revision quiz each time to help test your knowledge and understanding of renewable energy.
This GCSE revision quiz tests knowledge and understanding of glaciation. Each time you take the quiz, ten questions are drawn from our database on glaciation - so you get a different revision quiz each time.
Winchester has frequently suffered the impacts of flooding in the past. The historic city on the banks of the River Itchen has therefore been preparing for the worst after the recent prolonged heavy rainfall. Firstly, with help from the Environment Agency, fire fighters and the Navy, a 70ft flood protection barrier has been set up to protect an important area of the city centre which includes a primary school and the city's art college. They have also brought in high volume water pumps to move the flood waters away from vulnerable buildings.
In addition though an innovative idea is being trialled to divert water away from the river Itchen itself. Sixty one tonne bags of gravel are being dumped in the river Itchen to slow the flow of the river and divert it into a large holding pond which has been created across an area of water meadows to the north of the city. This should reduce the water levels in the city centre. Depending on the success of the project it could be something that could be used in other places to prevent flood damage in the future.
There is a really useful item on this on tonight's One Show on BBC One (17/02/2014), which will hopefully been on iplayer too shortly.
Try www.triptico.co.uk for a simple, free, desktop application that allows you to create interactive resources for your classroom. It includes an order sorter; timers and countdowns; group and question selectors; and a useful voting system that turns pupil responses into a pie chart.
Below is a mind map created with the iOS app SimpleMind+
This is a free app which allows the user very easily to create a mind map which can be colour coded and manipulated as it is constructed. It has obvious potential for revision but also as a starter to a new topic to assess prior knowledge. The fact that the boxes can be moved around means it is fluid and flexible so students can change their minds or adapt their ideas as they go along.
This would be really effective if students could use a tablet each or in pairs as when projected onto a whiteboard the text is very small. However, students can construct as a class and receive a print out of the finished article - either via Simplemind if you purchase the full version or by taking a screen shot of the iPad.
This free resource is certainly worth exploring.
"The isle of Wonder" video from the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony gives students a fantastic overview of the river Thames from its source to the Thames Barrier.
The importance of the Thames Barrier to the City of London cannot be understated considering the recent tidal surges and flooding.
So what is the Thames Barrier and how does it protect Londoners?read more...»
Only two months ago, the front pages of many British newspapers displayed shocking headlines predicting a huge wave of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria following the easing of EU border controls. It was predicted that the migrants would be from the very poorest areas and that they would be ready, with packed bags, to flee to the UK on the stroke of midnight on 31st December 2013 to take advantage of our benefits system, health service and housing. The “flood” of poor Eastern Europeans failed to materialise – but the movement of highly skilled medics to the UK and other EU nations is proving critical for the Romanian health service.read more...»
This GCSE revision quiz is on the topic of tropical storms. Each time you take the quiz, our database selects 10 questions at random on the topic - so you can take this revision quiz more than once to check your knowledge and understanding!
In this GCSE revision quiz we explore the topic of wildfire. Each time you take the quiz, our database selects 10 questions at random on the topic - so you can take this revision quiz more than once to check your knowledge and understanding!
This GCSE revision quiz is on the topic of coniferous forests. Each time you take the quiz, our database selects 10 questions at random on the topic - so you can take this revision quiz more than once to check your knowledge and understanding!
The powerful storms that hit the UK this week show us how vulnerable our coastline is to the powerful forces of the sea.
Destructive waves hammered the coast of Devon and Cornwall. This force caused the spectacular collapse of the sea wall as well as the undercutting of the railway line and nearby road as shown in the video below. This powerful force of water is known as Hydraulic action. The collapsed material may now smash against the cliff face wearing it down through a process known as Abrasion.
Pic: Collapsed sea wall and exposed railway
This is a starter that I use to explain what an urban model is. I make a paper aeroplane and ask the pupils to tell me what it is. They all call out that it is a paper aeroplane. I then ask them what are the differences between the paper aeroplane and a real aeroplane. They come up with a huge number of differences on size, scale, features etc. So I then say to them that it is interesting that despite all the differences they still all recognised it was a plane. I then tell them it is a model - a smaller, simpler version of what it represents, exactly the same as an urban land use model.
In the news today a sinkhole has swallowed a car in Buckinghamshire.
This image would provide a great starter for a lesson on the causes and effects of Sinkholes.read more...»
The recent floods have provided some excellent case studies for the causes and effects of flooding. To complement that the BBC have produced a really useful web page about how flooding can be prevented. It includes some clear maps and diagrams as well as good examples. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25929644
It's that time of year again when we turn our minds to revision. A good way to revise key terms is by using domino cards. Just cut up the cards and get pupils to arrange them in the correct order. The same template can be used for any topic.
40 more maps that explain the World is an awesome Geography resource compiled by the Washington Post. Students and teachers alike can use this resource to get a visual understanding of the world around them. It's helpful to dip in and out of this resource and use the maps to teach and learn about a vast array of geographical subject areas such as inequality, colonialism, culture and climate change.
Map No. 1: Where the world's people live, by economic status
Map no. 40: The world seen from space: 12-month time-lapse
Studying the positive and negative impacts of an ageing population is an important part of the population topics at both GCSE and A Level. A report by the Royal Voluntary Service has highlighted the significant role played by the over 60s in the UK's voluntary sector.
Exam questions often ask students to consider the economic, social and political consequences of the increasing proportion of the elderly in a country's population and this article provides recent factual detail that can be used in putting forward the economic and social advantages of such an age structure. According to a recent report the over 60s contribute the equivalent of £10 billion to the economy through unpaid work each year which is in addition to the £40 billion contributed through taxes and spending of the "silver" section of society.
A great way to introduce Globalization and how interdependent we are with people and places is to explore the below interactive from the Guardian.
The interactive shows all commercial flights in the world skies over the past 24 hours.
In a new report Oxfam says that half of the world's wealth is owned by eighth five people, who could fit on a double decker bus. The world's richest eighty five people have a combined wealth of £1 trillion, which is the same as the poorest 3.5billion people on the planet. Unfortunately this appears to reflect the growing divide between rich and poor.
"Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table," said Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam's executive director.
The image below would make a great starter to a lesson on global inequalities and what we can do about it.
A positive view on the economic effects of migration here from the Reuters UK Economics correspondent.
Edward Hadas argues that migration to rich countries has little long-term effect on wages, unemployment or state finances. At worst, it exposes defective economic structures. At best, it distributes capital to poor countries.
Of course, that's not an argument you here from most politicians in the UK!read more...»
Tonight's Countryfile on BBC one had a really clear explanation of why Britain's winter weather and climate is like it is. John Hammond the BBC weather presenter showed why places of similar latitude have a very different climate to us here in Britain. You can see the episode on BBC iplayer and the clip is about ten minutes in and lasts about five minutes.
Timothy Beardson argues in this interview with Reuters that demography is the biggest challenge faced by China.read more...»
A good way for teachers to help year 7 students understand their living world is by getting them to create their own soil profile using this link. Tasty Soil
The best thing about this activity for the students is that they get to eat their freshly constructed soil profile.
This is an excellent website http://explore.glacierworks.org/ that allows you and your class to explore the mountains of the Himalayas. It is a multimedia resource with maps, panoramic photos and videos.
Visitors to the site can take a virtual trek to the Everest Base Camp, visiting many well known places along the way like Lukla, Namche Bazaar and Gorak Shep.
It would provide an excellent introduction to glacial retreat and climate change.
Good resource from the Environment Agency on how they gather the information on rain patterns and put out flood warnings to communities.
Nice idea for teachers to get students to produce their own Prezi on the flooding that has hit the United Kingdom.
An excellent way to introduce weather and weather forecasting is to watch the below videos from the BBC.
The first video explains the key terms involved in a weather forecast.
Students can also use the MET Office website which provides a wide range of weather information including key weather terms http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/teachers/in... and weather examples http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/education/wow/resources. A fantastic resource to show real time global wind patterns is http://earth.nullschool.net/.The teacher can now get students to act as Weathermen/women and explain different weather maps.
This second video gives a nice visual presentation of the changeable weather over the United Kingdom.
The final video helps students to understand why there is so much rain in the UK.
The topic of weather is always good to introduce during times of extreme weather conditions such as the floods in Britain or the polar vortex in the United States.
A thought-provoking and heart-breaking piece here from The Independent which reports on effective orphanisation of millions of children in China.read more...»
This is an idea for a starter to introduce the topic of food supply. It particularly appeals to visual learners.
I use an apple to represent the earth. I then cut the apple into quarters and put three quarters to one side, these represent the oceans of our world. The quarter that is left I slice in half. I put one of these halves to one side. This represents the areas of the earth where people are unable to live or work on. The poles, deserts and very mountainous regions. An eighth is what is left this represents the area where humans live. I then slice that section into four sections and up aside three of them. These sections represent the places where the soil is too poor to farm - where it is too rocky, wet, cold or steep to produce food. They also represent urban areas, where we choose other land uses. The final 1/32 that is left is the farmable area of the earth on which humans are totally dependent.
Once I have completed the demonstration pupils can draw a diagram or pie chart to show the results. This is a great way of numeracy in a lesson too.
In a winter of seemingly permanent extreme weather, the very cold weather in North America looks like it is going to take the prize for extreme weather of 2014.
Temperatures across the United States have plunged to their lowest levels for 20 years, as almost half of the population (around 115 million people or so) have found themselves trapped under what is known as a "polar vortex".
The life-threatening polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale cyclone. They are usually found around either the north or south poles – it is rare for them to swing as far as to affect densely-inhabited areas.
In many parts of the US, it has not been this cold for almost two decades. Because of that, medical experts are reminding people that frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly at -15 to -30F (-26 to -34.4C), and that it is vital to be dressed properly for the temperatures.
This short video from Channel 4 explains what a polar vortex is.read more...»
Mind maps are a great way of linking ideas. They are a useful tool for visual learners and are brilliant for revision too. Recently I have been using them to show progress in a lesson. Pupils draw a mind map at the start of a lesson to show what they already know and then at the end of the lesson pupils add what they now know in a different colour.
To help revise contours I have created this starter. I collected sixteen pictures of famous peoples faces from magazines, and drew contour maps from the on acetate sheets. I cut out all the pictures and contour maps and gave one to each pupil as they entered the classroom. I then asked all the pupils to find their corresponding famous face photo or contour map. This was a lively activity that got everyone working together when I told them I was timing each class and there would be a prize for the fastest group.
This is a topical theme that could be explored when term starts to get pupils thinking about sustainability, waste and recycling.
This month we have experienced some extreme weather here in the UK. In fact my local weather station data shows that December has been the wettest month for three years. This got me thinking about other weather records and I found some here. Extreme weather is a great topic for grabbing pupils' attention. With this in mind and using the data from the linked website I decided to create a starter activity where pupils match the data to the weather event. Some of them are more difficult than others, as I would never have imagined that the worlds largest snowflake would have a diameter of 38 centimetres!
I have been trying to create better differentiation in my lessons. As a result I have put together some word mats for each KS3 topic. They will be A3 sized and
laminated. The intention is that these will be out on the desk from the start of each lesson and will help all pupils learn the meanings and spellings of key
words. I have tried to use different colours to make them easier to read and the pictures will help both visual learners and the lowest ability pupils. This is an example of one I am using with year 9.
Wednesday 11th of December is World Mountain Day. Teachers can approach this topic in terms of the Human importance of mountains.
Ask students to come up with reasons as to why mountains matter. Next show the students the video below which explains some of the reasons.Mountain formation can now be discussed. The Himalayas for example are formed as India smashes into Eurasia causing the land to crumble and uplift. This uplift and crumble is still ongoing today as shown in the next video.
Now show students the images A & B below. Which mountains are the Pennines and which are the Himalayas. What are the physical differences between these mountains. Can they explain which mountains are older and why?
A final mountain teaser.
Can any of the students name the famous mountain found on this popular Swiss chocolate?
The formation of this Mountain can be studied later under the topic of Glaciation.
Last week the east coast of the UK was battered by the biggest storm surge in 60 years. There was a lot of coverage before, during and after the event and much talk of the “perfect storm” – almost literally in this case – which made for such high waves.
In order to understand the cause of the surge, students should watch this clip from the BBC.read more...»
This week I have been teaching contours by getting pupils to create a knuckle mountain range.
First I ask pupils to make a fist and set it down on the table, like they are knocking on it.
Then get them to contour the knuckle mountain with felt tip pen circles. Get them to try to keep every part of each circle the same distance from the table (in other words, flat).
They can then add a triangulation point to the main summit and draw blue rivers in the finger "valleys".
When pupils put their hand flat they have a contour map and when they make a fist they have a mountain range.
A few weeks ago, I met up with a friend of mine whom I used to teach with in one of my previous schools and he reminded me of something we used to do in our Geography lessons, the 'Random Raffle'. This is another strategy along the lines of my Bingo Questioning strategy (which can be found here) to enable more effective questioning and helps ensure all students have an equal chance of being asked a question.
Random Raffle is probably one of the simplest things you can do, but often, the simple strategies can be the most effective. Random Raffle simply involves the use of raffle tickets in lessons. These can be bought at various places for next to nothing and there are loads of different ways in which they can be used.
At the start of the lesson students select a raffle ticket from a container near the front of the class. The teacher can then select a raffle ticket and the person who has that ticket answers a question on the topic. This allows the teacher to match the question to the students ability rather than than the traditional, hands up.
Raffle tickets can also be used to randomly select groups for any group work activities. Another use is pick out 2 or 3 tickets and the students who have those tickets come to the front and provide a short summary of the lesson.
This animation examines how we manage or are incapable of managing our global supply of fish stocks.
It highlights how fragile our food supply is in the face of huge human demand.
After watching the video students can analyse the policies implemented by Governments to prevent and limit Overfishing. For example how effective have policies such as the European Unions Total Allowable Catch in regenerating fish stocks.