Buzzing about sustainability…..

9 12 2013

How do you integrate any information, concepts, issues or values surrounding sustainability within geography teaching and fieldwork at your centre?????

As we are going to hear lots more concerning this subject at conference (2013) it would be great to start thinking and talking about how we are embedding sustainability into our geography teaching and fieldwork. This may be a useful platform for sharing these ideas.

Is sustainability an important link in any of your core days? Is sea-level rise considered when at the coast? Is over-population discussed when completing urban fieldwork? Do we link flooding case studies with warming oceans?

Here are a few things that have been done at RyC that I know of. What else are people doing??! Please share!

  •   A field sketch of the future: Students sketch a hypothetical view into the future at different timescales (10yrs, 100yrs, 1000yrs etc) then share with each other.
  • Litter picks and environmental art at the beach: collecting certain types of plastic (e.g. bottle tops). A-level students have got quite competitive with this.
  • Mini-white board plenaries: “how will this place be different in 100/1000 years?”
  • Using ‘’ with groups to simulate sea-level rise.
  • Filming a ‘news report from the future’ – short documentary film from the year 3000



A buzz from Dan at Rhyd y creuau: Scaffold to make effective videos

19 08 2013

We have used videos quite a lot over the last few years to assess students learning and review key content. From mini documentaries to describe and explain clips. This marking scaffold allows students to design and construct a good video that stays on topic and covers all the right ground. The document can be found through the following link on my public dropbox folder.

A Buzz from Tom Stamp at Dale/Orielton

19 08 2013


This is a little site that may be of use to folk.


A buzz from Jason Lock at Juniper – Natural England Interactive map

25 07 2013

Natural England have updated their interactive map

 Obviously only useful for English centres. There is master map data for the rest of the UK however. It is very data heavy and slow.

A buzz from Dan House at Nettlecombe – BBC weather: features and analysis

25 07 2013

We have increasingly been using the BBC weather home page “Features and Analysis” videos as brief 2-3 minute look at what is going on with world weather today regardless of what is being studied on most geog courses. They update it daily and there always seems to be something extreme going on somewhere in the world.

Geography themed jokes…….

24 07 2013

Q:What do you call the little rivers that flow into the Nile?

Q:How do you get two whales in a car?
A:Down the M4 and across the Severn Bridge!”

Q:What’s big, white, furry and always points North?
A:A Polar Bearing.

Q:What city always cheats at exams?

Q:Why does the abominable snowman know all the map symbols?
A:Because he’s a legend.

Q: What do you call three ‘corries’ back to back?

A: An omnibus

Q:What do penguins wear on their heads?
A:Ice caps.

Q:Where do fish keep their money?
A:In riverbanks.

Q:How do trees get on the internet?
A:By log-in.

Q: How can you catch a fish using modern technology?

A: You could use the traditional approach and get it on the line or embrace the future and get it on the net.

Knock, knock

who’s there?
Alaska who?
Alaska later, right now I’m trying to work out where I left her.


Knock, knock

who’s there?
Ammonia who?
Ammonia beginner but I love geography already.

Collation of previous geography buzz’s

24 07 2013

Urban model starter: I’ve attached a resource Claire made at our centre – she did a training day for the team on the background to human geography models used through most (if not all) specs.  It would make a good starter (picking out the relevant ones) as well as a good basis for a wall display.

Lizzie (BL)

Google Earth and Prezi: I have been playing around with prezi presentations after seeing them introduced at the conference last year and have found a way to embed prezi files into google earth. This would mean that you could fly around google earth and give short prezi presentations as you do so…….and the only thing you need open is google earth! (and a decent internet connection). I have attached an example kmz of a prezi on succession at Harlech. It’s quite a large prezi so takes a little while to load. I have also attached a word document with a print screen showing where to get this embed code from – just paste it into the properties box of a pin or polygon in GE. Interestingly you can do the same with videos from youtube and have movies attached to pins etc too. I would be interested to know if people have been using prezi and whether they think this is useful. If folks want access to the prezi I have an account at their website

(email:, Password: fscgeog)

Matt (RC)

Pre course liason: Kindrogan is beginning two residential packages named ‘sustainable challenge’ (geography) and biodivesity challenge (weak pun for ecology).  For both, we send out packs to the teachers with three deliverable sessions that are off-the-hook and ready for teachers to deliver in preparation for their visit.  If FSC folks want to get copies from us to develop for their own centres then they can grab them off of me.  The packs include the lesson plans, trump cards, G.E. Mystery tours, Venn diagram card sorts and the like.  Since it is in preparation to a place they’ve never visited, it doesn’t lean to heavily on a knowledge of Kindrogan (ie. any centre could adapt it for their own use).

Duncan (KD)

Website: This site allows you to search for any town to see examples of retail units that are available to rent.  Might be useful to folks looking at issues in the CBD.  It will only give you 15 examples of units that are vacant unless you subscribe but it does give students an idea of the cost of rental for some of the units that may be in their survey areas.

Jane (PM)

Tweeting: using tweets to inform students of extra information about fieldwork sites, ideas and geographical concepts. Tom generally tweets between sites when sat on the bus. Usually a rivers/coast day.

Stuff extra to the day or forgotten, eg.

“The material on slip off slope,site 3 is graded and Spearman’s Rank can be used to test the significance from river to bank”

“Anchor Groynes @ Amroth were repaired November 2010”

Also post addresses of links.

Tweet to current groups but still available to other groups.

Tom (OR)


1. – this allows the last 48 hours river levels to be plotted on a continually updating basis. shows mean levels, current levels, record highs etc. Great for any kind of rivers day, flood risk day.

2. – despite having comic sans on it, this is a fairly nice, straightforward and simple website. Under the KS4 link there is a flood level map and you can toggle between satellite/map but you also have the option to change the sea level by 1m intervals to see what would be flooded (coastal only).

 3. – this is from OS and allows you to get street view OS maps for free – as long as you select the agree to conditions button

4. – bit more high brow, but an awesome resource for a lot of the main rivers in england and wales. Can find out flow levels, geology, rainfall, land use, permeability of rock etc. How used: For edexcel coasts (and coastal management etc on other specs), we get students to look at the climate change bit themselves to work out areas of risk. Some are used to extract info for intro/follow up sessions and others are used “live” in class, such as the current river levels etc.

Ben (OR)

Classroom activities:  When using maps in the classroom to orientate students to the field location e.g. the river. We have an OS map section A3 size at the front of the class each group has a blank A3 page they decide which order they will go in. They send person 1 to the front to look at the map they have 3 mins to study it then return to the group and reproduce as much as they can remember after approx 5 mins person 2 goes up and tries to identify more detail to add to the map. So on until all team members have been. I find students are much more observant of features this way. I then give each group a copy of the map to look at and we identify the key features, land uses along the river we will be studying.

 Ready steady teach is good for any topic for assessing students understanding of a topic when they arrive or as a plenary to see how students learning has progressed. I use it more at the beginning of a topic as teachers always say they have studied the topic in school but it gives me an insight into how much they have picked up/understood.

Students work in groups each group is given a small pack containing pipe cleaners, buttons, lollypop sticks anything crafty. They have 5 mins to create a model to describe a key word/feature/concept from the topic. They then have 2 mins to decide how they are going to explain their model to the rest of the class. Go round to each group and have them describe what they have made and why it explains the key word/concept. I give each group a different word otherwise it gets repetitive.

Quick on the draw is good for exam question follow up. You have 1 set of questions at the front – if the exam question is quite large split it up into smaller sections.

Students work in groups they send one person to the front who reads and memorises the question then returns to the group and they answer the question on paper they then bring the answer to the front when they have finished answering and you check it – if there is enough detail they are given  the next question. It’s the first team to get through all the questions/tasks who wins.

If you do this with KS3 or 4 groups its worth thinking about how they move around the classroom I tend to use the ‘post it note of power’ – each team gets 1 post it note and only the person with the note is allowed to walk around the room. If they are having problems making decisions in their group or one person is being bossy rather than a good team leader I give out the ‘mighty ruler’ (30cm usually fine) to the person in the group who is contributing the least and they have to make all the decisions.

Fran (MP)

Smartphones: The ideas I went through were using Smartphone maps to improve a sense of place, encouraging students to research in the field using EA flood risk maps, crime maps, cliff retreat maps, you tube (to investigate the profile of a place). These ideas followed on from Daniels idea of higher level thinking in the field and don’t all need the GPS to be working on your phone. The thinking on this isn’t that they just look at the phone and research the field site but to use it to explain what is observed while in the field and ultimately help students with the justification of the fieldwork methodology. E.g. while standing on Guildford’s high street I would ask students to observe the crime levels on the I would then take them 100m onto north street and ask them to note the greater amount of crime. This would then lead into an investigation on crime likelihood between two parts of the town.

Jason (JH)

Smartphones: I have used my phone with groups in sand dunes to provide 10 fig OS references and also given it to groups to use the clinometers function to complete a beach profile – they found it much easier than using the clinometers.

Nick (NC)

Geomorphological mapping of glacial features using a GPS: To map the features, each group was given a Road Angel (a touch screen satnav adapted to use memory map) with the OS map of the area and stopping points with proximity alarms loaded on.  When the students reached these points, the alarms went off and they had a task to do (which came up on the marker).  They could also use the Road Angels to mark on the location of different features they were recognizing.  These points could then be uploaded to the computer and put onto Google Earth for them to present their findings.

Tors (CH)

Tourism conflicts: What sort of place is this? sound mapping, trailing hands in the water, laying back and looking at the sky, describing the view in 5 words and magic spots. The purpose create a deeper understanding of potential conflicts and users of a honeypot site

Sarah (CH)

Flooding resource: this rather addictive website which shows sea level rise across the globe:

Sarah (CH)

Highstreet stalking: students observed peoples shopping habits to see whether they prefer local shops or national chain shops. Their movements around the town were mapped and a character profile was created. Showed good results with a clear split between shoppers who mainly used chain stores and those who used more local stores for food shopping

Helena (FM)

Photograph summary competition: students take photographs to summarise the need of rebranding in a town and then submit their best into a competition back at the centre

Rachael (FM)

Pre course liason: students to research geo-tagging photographs pre course for homework

Nick (NC)

Geotagging with a smartphone: a handout to take students through using a Blackberry Bold to geotag photographs

Jason (JH)

Sensory mapping: the interpretation of the school journey based on travel mode mapped by students

Jason (JH)

Landscpae descrptions: Students pair up and then one of the has to describe the landscape we have just walked through in detail to their partner. They then get marked by the partner

Nick (NC)

The animator and the annotator: fieldsketching in reverse. Students stand back to back in pairs one describes the view the other sketches

Anna (SL)

Google charts: copy and paste the url address of your graphs into google earth

Matt (RC)

Pre-course liason: an opportunity for pre course discussion with school groups

Dan (NC)

Google Earth training manual: a manual for trainee and new tutors or those new to GE.

Dan (NC)

Quik maps manual: a manual to introduce students and teachers to simple GIS via the internet.

Jason (JH)

AS river collation sheet:

1. Including located box and whisker diagrams and pie charts

2. is a spearman’s rank page where you can pick your independent and dependant variable

3. Google Earth graph page

Daniel (RC)