Sunday, 29 October 2017

A new GCSE fieldwork option: the Geography Fieldwork Academy

Image: Alan Parkinson : Southwold from the Pier

One of our favourite places as a family is Southwold, on the Suffolk coast. This is just over an hour from home, and always a lovely day, with good food, fine Adnams ale, a quirky Under the Pier show, and a wander into town for retail therapy and the lighthouse.

The Geography Fieldwork Academy is a new opportunity for those needing to offer fieldwork for all age groups, and is based in Southwold, operating out of various buildings in the town, and offering a number of options for Geography fieldwork in an attractive location with no shortage of tourists and locals to interview, or coastal processes to measure. It was started in July by Chris Webster, a local geography teacher who has had a lot of experience in supporting colleagues with their fieldwork provision, and has now taken the plunge, and created this new venture. He has had a lot of support from local businesses and relevant organisations such as the Environment Agency. A pool of tutors is developing with plenty of experience in teaching and examining.

Here's the description from their new website. Check out the sections in bold in particular. I think these are excellent aspirations for fieldwork providers. The courses have been trialled and run over the last few months, and it sounds like they are adaptable to individual schools' needs, particular with respect to the NEA. They are also using some cutting edge GIS tools, which is great to see.

A successful field course requires lots of thought and logistical planning. Where will we go? How will we get there? Where will we park? Where can the students go to the toilet? What if it rains? Where will we hide if that black cloud turns out to be thunder and lightning!? That’s before you have even considered what issues you will investigate; how will students collect their data, have you got all the necessary equipment? Will the methods used generate appropriate data which can be interpreted and presented? And... does the investigation link with the new curriculum!! Above all, you hope that your fieldtrip is educational and engaging for your students!!
The Geography Fieldwork Academy is here to help. We have spent months developing high quality field courses for KS3, GCSE, AS and for the new NEA at A-level. We have linked all field courses to the new curriculum and can tailor each to specific exam boards. We have worked with local partners to develop unique courses which break from the norm, including our sustainable energy course with Adnams brewery. We have worked with the Environment Agency to build an archive of secondary data and we will demonstrate modern GIS packages such as ArcGis and Datashine.
We provide follow-up assessments at KS3, detailed A3 summary organiser sheets for all GCSE courses and at A-level our student log-in area enables students to customise their own data collection methods and fieldwork booklets before your field course.
Finally, our vision is to make high quality fieldwork affordable. With courses starting from as little as £8!! Your students will benefit from courses delivered by tutors who are not only active Geography teachers, but in many instances, Geography examiners.
This looks like offering an affordable fieldwork option in a lovely location which is relatively easy to get to from across East Anglia, and Essex and Suffolk in particular. I'm considering the options for taking my own students there, as it's accessible from Ely. Southwold is a compact and safe place to take students, and the local community looks like it's really supportive.

I wish Chris and the gang all the very best for their new endeavour...

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Suffolk may not have the same number of waterfalls as Iceland, but the fish and chips are cheaper...

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Hurricane Harvey

Starting the year with a brand new case study....
Plenty of resources shared over the last few days... and for the next few weeks to come no doubt.

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