Monday, 17 July 2017

OCR Geography StoryMap

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Around the World in 80 Days

A few days ago, Mark Beaumont visited the Reform Club. He was paying homage to Phileas Fogg: the hero of Jules Verne's 'Around the World in 80 Days'.
The reason was that after his earlier record breaking circumnavigation by bike, Mark headed off earlier today on an attempt to go around the world in 80 days.


I will be introducing the journey to our students tomorrow, so that they can hopefully follow the journey over the summer, and there will be some rewards for those who show some evidence of this on their return in September, by which time Mark will hopefully be well on his way... what an epic journey and physical and mental effort lies ahead of him...

To follow the journey, see Mark Beaumont on Facebook, or follow @MrMarkBeaumont on Twitter.

The main website for the journey is at Artemis World Cycle.
Here's the route:
Images: Copyright Mark Beaumont on Facebook/Twitter / The Guardian

For teachers wanting to introduce students to the journey, Mark has teamed up with Twinkl Resources, who have created a series of resources. These are a mixture of FREE and subscriber only, and are attractively presented and linked to some useful curriculum areas.

Mark is raising money for Orkid Studio.


Orkidstudio works to benefit communities through innovative architecture, construction and social enterprise.

We believe that creativity has the power to inspire and instil pride within people regardless of race, nationality or circumstance and we use architecture, design and enterprise as tools for relieving poverty and transforming lives.

Our build projects focus on the process of design and construction rather than just the final product. We believe this process is a powerful tool for affecting social change and empowering people through the sharing of skills and knowledge on site.

With a strong belief in the power of enterprise to affect social change, we work on projects and with partners that support and drive the local economy. We engage local resources and women in construction to create high quality built spaces that promote health, education and equality.

Mark's hoping to raise £10 for every mile that he cycles.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Rain Gauge Data

Live rain gauge data is something that is now collected, across a network which includes around 1000 automatic rain gauges. These don't need to be checked by observers, which used to happen each morning at the same time in hundreds of locations across the UK. The tipping bucket and similar designs can measure intensity as well as amounts, and don't just have a 24 hour total.
DEFRA have now made the data available as an API (as part of the Open Data initiative)

This has now been added to the vital GaugeMap resource. This is already an excellent resource for Geographers as it features live rive gauge measurements, which can also be turned into widgets.
At the bottom of the left hand column, there is now the option to add the rainfall layer.

This shows the gauges, click on a gauge to get the results, which could be for the day, week or month or year.
My nearest rain gauge appears to be Castle Acre.

Should be a great resource for those teaching about weather.
Watch out for a suitable weather forecast involving a front or mid-latitude depression crossing the country, and identify a line of rain gauges that the front should pass over during the day, and then watch the rainfall totals changing as the front moves across...




Thursday, 15 December 2016

New Nick Crane Story Map for UK Landscapes

ESRI have been working to produce a StoryMap, using the Cascade template, which has been designed to go along with the new book by RGS President Nicholas Crane.
The book tells the story of the British Landscape, and how it came into being.
Click the tabs at the top of the map to find out more about a range of topics:
  • Edge Land
  • Climate Change
  • Island
  • Altered Earth
  • Fields
  • Forts 
  • Towns
  • End of Wilderness
  • Street Plan
  • Heat Island
  • Into Space
As Nicholas says at the start of the book, to care about a place you have to know its story.
This would be great for GCSE Geographers needing to know more about the distinctive landscape of the UK.



Sunday, 11 September 2016

New Discover the World video resource on the Eyjafjallajokull eruption

Good to see Simon Ross, co-author of the OCR 'A' and 'B' textbooks from Hodder presenting this new video case study by Discover the World.

Monday, 5 September 2016

New British Red Cross resource now published

A new resource that I wrote for the British Red Cross has now been published, and placed online for download. It's taken almost a year from the original start of the project, which John Lyon asked me to do before he retired from the GA. During that time it has grown and become a major resource.

It's 130 pages long, and packed with ideas for teaching about natural hazards and humanitarian aid.

Free to download from the British Red Cross website.

“We urge all geography teachers to download this free resource and encourage young people to think about the humanitarian impact of natural disasters. This invaluable resource pack has been created with the technical input from the British Red Cross combined with the expertise of GA teacher consultants.”
Rebecca Kitchen, Secondary Curriculum Leader at the Geographical Association

Introduction and curriculum links

Learn about how the resource has been designed to support your teaching and how the content maps to the geography curriculum for KS3, GCSE and A Level.

Session 1: Natural disasters

Session 1 is an introduction to the Natural disasters: earthquakes resource. It sets the scene by introducing the topic of natural disasters alongside general ideas of risk and hazard.
  • What do we mean by natural hazards and disasters and how can they be classified?
  • Which natural hazards are the most common?
  • What impacts will different natural disasters have on individuals and communities?

Session 2: Earthquakes

After a general introduction to natural hazards and disasters, this session moves on to look more specifically at earthquakes, with a focus on tectonic hazards.
  • Where do earthquakes happen, and why?
  • What were the causes of the Nepal earthquake?
  • How can people who live in areas prone to natural hazards prepare themselves for future events?
  • Could the Nepal earthquake have been predicted?

Session 3: The impact of a natural disaster

Session 3 focuses on the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster like an earthquake and the work of local and international Red Cross teams to support people affected.
  • What was the immediate impact of the Nepal earthquake?
  • What was the immediate humanitarian response to the earthquake?
  • How were local and international communities involved in this response?

Session 4: Recovery and resilience

After a natural disaster the Red Cross supports the people affected as they start to recover and rebuild their lives.
  • What are the longer term impacts of a natural disaster and how do people recover?
  • How resilient were individuals and communities in Nepal to the earthquake?
  • How can communities increase their resilience – what about the school community? What might make a community more or less resilient?
  • What lessons can be learned from each event so citizens are better prepared for them in future?

Friday, 12 August 2016

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Crystal Serenity - the Arctic as a fragile environment

This post has been in draft for a couple of months, and the story has evolved since it was first announced. This would now be a useful idea for exploring fragile cold environments.

I'm going to try to develop this as an evolved case study piece, but ran out of time… will come back to this I think

I've just read a Jonathan Franzen piece on Antarctica in the Times which was excellent and worth hunting out...

The Crystal Serenity is a large cruise ship, which is going to boldly go on a voyage this summer, setting off in August 2016… and it's one that all geographers should be fascinated by. The ship is going to sail around the north of Canada, and go through what would have been referred to in the past as the Northwest Passage.
The ship's website has a range of detail on the voyage, which includes the itinerary and the route that the ship is going to take. I won't put it here due to copyright, but it's well worth hunting out and taking a look.

The voyage is rather expensive too (at over $20 000 per person), as all Polar voyages are, and apparently all the places have been booked.

This has attracted a lot of interest given the size of the ship, and also the nature of the voyage, which is a commercial voyage through an area which is being changed by human activity, and the ship may well cause other interruptions to daily life for people who live in the area.

The ship will be accompanied on the voyage by the BAS ship Sir Ernest Shackleton.
This has a heavily armoured hull which can withstand ice, and will also be able to have a
range of additional equipment and potentially help with an evacuation if there is a problem with the cruise ship. There has been some criticism of a scientific ship being used in this way.
There is a Canadian radio show here which includes a useful 30 minute report on the proposed voyage, although it won't be there for ever.

The Guardian has published an article on the voyage, which provides some useful additional information.

However, Klaus Dodds, who specialises in geopolitics has pointed out that there are lots of different perspectives at play in the Arctic, and this is just one of them. This is excellent on how Nunavut and Cambridge Bay is preparing for the visit.

And via Twitter, I came across a useful few tweets with ideas that are relevant, including from people living in the area.

A Pew Trust research report also contains some very useful diagrams and data on the growing changes in the Arctic.

There's a splendid infographic on this National Post article.

And finally, there was a report published recently on the sustainability credentials of cruise holidays, and the impact of these large ships on the sea through which they sail.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

New 'A' level book gone to print

Not GCSE I know, but this is where you go next...

After two years and thousands of hours of effort, the 'A' level textbook for the new AQA specification has now gone to print. It will be published by Cambridge University Press. This is great news, as it means that the book will now be out several weeks before other similar books, and also ahead of the end of the summer break, so teachers will be able to have access to it in the crucial few weeks before the start of the new academic year.

I was the series editor for the book, and also the associated materials. You can see the names of the author team on the cover image below - a great team, helped by a large team from CUP.


You can find out more about the book (and order your copies) here.