Monday, 29 December 2008

Yr13 Resit Revision

If you have been checking your emails you will know about computer issues, etc. If not, apologies again for the delay, but the [redone] Energy and Life revision guide is now here - the password is Ben's geographical nickname!

The others will be going in the same folder as soon as they are done, which I am hoping will be Wednesday at the latest.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Oceans - The Arctic

I suspect that you were all too busy revising or writing coursework on Friday night (hmm...) to be watching the final programme in the excellent Oceans series, where the team went off to explore the Arctic. However, Friday's programme - and the rest of the series (the Southern Ocean one particularly is worth checking out) - is still available on iPlayer... Get watching!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Dress the Antarctic scientist...

Reminders about last week's lessons will be appearing over the weekend... As Yr13 were so upset that we didn't have time to play "Dress the Antarctic scientist" though, here it is:


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Tourism in Antarctica

Thanks to Anna who has just sent me this link to a news story about the increase in tourism in Antarctica.

You may well have seen the other day that another tourist cruise ship ran aground just off the Antarctic Peninsula. All the passengers were rescued, and it was thought that the ship was unlikely to sink, but it was leaking fuel... The picture below will take you to the BBC coverage of the story.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Je t'aime Park Hill...??

Year 13 will remember Park Hill Flats in Sheffield from their visit last year, and will be aware that the flats (which are listed buildings) are getting the Urban Splash treatment.

Thanks to Alan Parkinson who's just alerted me to Urban Splash's promotional video:

What do you think?! Worth having a look at some of Urban Splash's other videos on YouTube as well...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Yr13 - Tuesday

As I seem to have inadvertently caused some confusion about Tuesday...

I am going to Long Eaton School and need to be there by 1.00pm, and therefore need to leave school by 12.25 at the latest. You decided that you would prefer to spend p3 continuing with tourism work than on coursework. Therefore, p3 is tourism, and then I will be around for 10-15 minutes so that you have the opportunity, if you need it, to speak to me about coursework.

It is my intention, seeing as we missed revision last week, to be back for after school...

Most of you also need to make appointments to speak to me at some point during the week about your coursework - time is ticking away!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Ecotourism in the Napo region of Ecuador...

A brief discussion about ecotourism this morning after we'd finished watching Nick Middleton, focussing on the Napo region of Ecuador. Although we didn't have a lot of time, there was some good thinking going on about the possible consequences of the decisions you were making when we played the Ecotourism Game... Have another go, and see how you get on:

Human Activity in the Arctic

Yesterday we spent a good part of the lesson putting together a map of the Arctic, thinking not just about where places are, but also thinking about some of the key sites in terms of human activity, history, culture, resources, etc.

Between yesterday and today's lessons we managed eventually to watch Nick Middleton on his journey via Irkutsk and Yakutsk to Oymyakon - the coldest inhabited place on earth! There's an interview with Nick about his trip - including his encounter with the Walrus Club - on the National Geographic site here.

Geogtastic post about Oymyakon from last year here.

I've also just discovered some fantastic photos of the region, including Oymyakon, on the Cape to Cape site. Click on the picture below to go to the site (which is worth exploring more generally, as well as looking at the photos...).

Year 12 - Graphs

Lots of different types of graph to think about this morning - remember that although you will not be asked to draw a graph from scratch in an exam, you might well be asked to add points in to complete a graph (as you did in both your Rivers and Population Unit 2 questions on Monday), and you will almost certainly be asked to use a graph of some description in order to answer a question.

If you are able to recognise the different types of graph and get used to reading titles/captions carefully and looking at the axes labels properly, then those sorts of questions are a doddle.

Check back to your Skills Checklist in the Handbook for a reminder of the graphs you need to be able to work with.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Year 13 - Coursework

A reminder that I am not in school tomorrow. Both your lessons (p3 and p4) need to be spent working on your coursework. Miss Bradford will be available in H6 during p3, should you need help or advice, or to borrow books, etc.

The condition of you not having to come in p3, however, was that you would all speak to me or email me before Tuesday... And to date I have had emails from two of the people I should have heard from. I am therefore assuming that all is going swimmingly and you will have a pile of fantastic work for me to take in and look at when I see you on Wednesday morning.

Year 12

Some interesting reactions to the test this morning... Remember that in the actual exam you will only have population OR rivers questions, plus fieldwork questions. We will endeavour to have the papers back for you for Monday next week.

We also had a look at the causes of the 2004 flooding in Bangladesh (although the causes are very similar every time there is flooding in Bangladesh), and the impacts and responses. You will need to be able to talk about flooding in countries with different levels of development.

Also a bit disappointing that I have still only had two Boscastle movies...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

World Population

Interesting viewing for those of you in Yr12 who are looking at Population at the moment, and for those of you in Yr13 who are revising for GGA2 resits in January...

Thanks to Kenny O'Donnell.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

South Georgia

I mentioned South Georgia, and in particular the two fab webcams the other day... As well as penguin-watching, it is interesting to see how the view changes throughout the year.

Not many penguins about yet today, but plenty of seals - and a ship!

Looking a bit more carefully at the South Georgia website though, I've just discovered a set of Visitor Management Plans - these have routes for visitors to follow, give warnings for visitors about potential dangers, outline the known impacts of visitors on the flora and fauna, and describe the code of conduct for visitors. Click here to access the plans (links on the left-hand-side). Have a look at the Information for Visitors as well...

Thursday, 20 November 2008


A brief discussion about tourism in Antarctica - the "last great wilderness"... We will look at Antarctica and its legal status, etc. next week.

We then had a look at the US "wilderness areas" and focussed specifically on southern Utah and the impacts of off-roading (with some consideration of mountain biking for Eddie's benefit!).

Some interesting thoughts and ideas about what the value of these wilderness areas is, and whether it matters that they are being destroyed... You need (even if you thought the discussion was "too heated" for you Jak!) to think about these a little bit more and come to some conclusions - particularly considering the idea of sustainability...

The wilderness site I mentioned was - spend some time exploring as there is lots and lots of useful stuff on there.

Scintillating Statistics! And two important reminders...

A bit of an adventure across the road this morning for Year 12... The lesson was spent thinking about statistics - and specifically measures of central tendency.

You need to understand:
- mean, mode and median
- standard deviation
- range and interquartile range
- box-and-whisker plots

You will not be asked to calculate things like standard deviation or Spearman Rank from scratch in an exam, and nor are you expected to learn the formulae. You may, however, be given a partially completed calculation to work with, and it is important that you understand a) how the calculations work, and b) why they are useful from a geography point-of-view.

Remember that you have the "skills checklist" from the specification in the handbook I gave you at the beginning of the year.

Assessment Week
Please don't forget that next week is Year 12 Assessment Week, and so in your lesson on Monday you will be completing an exam question - under exam conditions. As it is not too long until your Unit 2 exam (12th January), we have decided that the most useful thing would be for you to do a skills-based paper. Your exam in January will be skills-based, but will use content from either the Population unit or the Rivers unit, and then there will be generic fieldwork questions. The paper you do on Monday will have some Rivers and some Population questions (skills-based) and some generic fieldwork questions.

Boscastle Movies
Need to be finished for Monday if they are not already!!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Given how busy you all are at the moment, I don't imagine that many of you will be watching BBC2 at the moment.

If you are, however, you will have seen sea dragons and fantastic sea stacks, and learnt lots about the Southern Ocean and ecosystem management (amongst many other interesting things...).

This was the second of the BBC's Oceans series, looking - unsurprisingly - at the world's oceans, and is well worth having a look at on iPlayer.

The website to accompany the series also has lots of useful and interesting information, images, video clips, etc. Click on the picture below to link to it:

The final programme of the series looks at the team's journey to the Arctic and as well as being worth watching just because it'll be excellent if the two programmes so far are anything to go by, it will be useful for you from a Cold Environments point-of-view and perhaps also from a Recreation and Tourism point-of-view.

The Tundra Biome and the Southern Ocean...

After an introduction from the Mighty Boosh and the wonderful BrainPOP video, we talked about the tundra biome - you have the powerpoint via email, but the key points were:

- types of tundra and global distribution
- low-energy biome and low NPP
- limited biodiversity (just for you Ben...)
- adaptations of plants and animals
- food web
- soil characteristics

For no particular reason other than that you seemed quite impressed with them this morning, a nice picture of a lemming (courtesy of Flickr user kgleditsch under CC):

The exam question that I gave you needs to be finished for Wednesday next week please.

The ecosystem of the Southern Ocean was the final thing that we looked at - rich ecoystem due to the cold water holding plenty of oxygen and carbon dioxide, turbulent waters ensuring a ready supply of nutrients, and long daylight hours for part of the year allowing for plenty of photosynthesis.

And for those of you who preferred chinstrap penguins to lemmings, a rather nice picture from Flickr user robnunn, again under CC:

Environmental Benefits of Tourism..

Quick reminder at the start of the lesson about the negative impacts of tourism on the environment.... We then went on to talk about the possible benefits of tourism for the environment - use of tourism revenue to: regenerate old and run-down sites; protect/conserve endangered species; develop new educational resources so that people learn about and come to appreciate the environment; implement cleaning/maintenance (eg beach cleaning on Copacabana Beach in Rio), etc.

We discussed the importance of proper planning and maangement of tourism, and the importance of all stakeholders/interest groups working together.

You then looked at conservation and management in the Peak District - that work for Thursday next week please. On the subject of conservation in the Peak District... I've not listed to all of them, but it might be worth you checking out the podcasts on the PDNP website of Geography students from Lady Manners School in Bakewell talking to representatives from the NPA about conserving the landscape whilst encouraging people to visit.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The River Severn - From Source to Sea

Interesting viewing for Yr12 who are currently studying rivers, and those of you in Yr13 who are resitting GGA1.

Thanks to Alan P, and to David Noble who created the videos.

Year 13 - Periglaciation... And a test...

Check back to the previous periglaciation post for links to a number of sites about periglacial environments and landforms...

This National Geographic article looks at permafrost and has some great images such as this one:

Some of you didn't do quite so badly as you thought in the test that followed... However, it was a reminder of the importance of revising as you go along and really making sure that you learn key terms - make yourself some cards with key terms and definitions on them and play snap... Or stick post-it notes around your room (or the whole house!)...

Year 12 - Boscastle and the UK Floods of 2007


A reminder about some of the Boscastle-related links that we looked at last week (and some that we didn't):

Comprehensive coverage of the flood including a timeline and meteorological data from

The findings of the Environment Agency's investigations into the flood.

GeoProjects KeyFile

And a Geogtastic6 post about Boscastle from last year.

UK Floods 2007

Some images showing the impacts of the flooding in Sheffield - thanks to Andy Pinks:

The main cause of the Boscastle flood was very heavy rainfall combined with the topography of the area causing a rapid increase in the discharge of the River Valency and the River Jordan... In the case of the floods that affected much of the UK in 2007, however, rainfall was higher than normal, but pluvial flooding - caused by surface runoff - is thought to have been a major element.

Thanks to GeoBlogs for this PowerPoint which looks at the causes, impacts and responses of the floods and some of the (very complex) issues involved:

High And Dry
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: geography flooding)
This report from the Association of British Insurers makes some interesting points about planning and preparation for similar floods in the future, and it's worth having a read of this Guardian article about the problems of predicting pluvial flooding.

The Environment Agency's pages about the UK floods make for interesting reading ("Currently, surface water flooding is not part of our remit. We are responsible for issuing warnings for flooding from rivers and the sea only...") - and they also contain a variety of useful links, including to the Pitt Review.

The BBC Panorama programme Keeping Britain Dry doesn't seem to be available any more, but you can read the transcript, together with a whole host of links to news articles, images and video clips.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Tourism in Jamaica

A good place for general information about Jamaica and Jamaican tourism is the Jamaican Tourist Board website. The Sandals website is also worth a look...
This website looks at community tourism in Jamaica, and the Treasure Beach site I mentioned this morning is here.
The news articles I gave you - as well as lots of other news articles - can be found easily with a Google News search for "tourism jamaica".


This is a "Wordle" of the current front page of Geogtastic6... (Interesting and surprising to see how little "geography" is!)
The idea is that you copy and paste your text into Wordle, and it creates a word cloud, with the size of the words proportional to the number of times they appear in the text.

If you have an electronic copy of your tourism essay, Wordle it and compare it to the one that I gave you this morning...

Copy and paste some of the news articles or weblinks that I've given you into Wordle and identify the key points/ideas...

Or just create some pretty key word clouds for revision!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Paradise almost lost?

A very interesting article from the Guardian here about the Maldives and the plan that their new president is making for their future...

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Global Glacier Changes

I've not quite managed to read all 45 pages yet, but the UNEP's Global Glacier Changes report looks like a really useful resource, both for Year 13 who are doing Cold Environments at the moment, and for Year 12 who will be starting Cold Environments after Christmas... Click on the picture to link to the report:

Thanks to Rebecca Anniss

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Machu Picchu... Year 13

Those of you who were here this morning started the lesson reading an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about Machu Picchu and why it is "magical"... The photos we looked at, including the one below, were from Flickr, but The Marvel of Machu Picchu is a rather nice slideshow on the Wall Street Journal site and is worth a look too.

Image: Flickr User szeke (CC)

And for the benefit of any Year 12s reading this, a nice Machu Picchu llama!

Image: Flickr User Pacific Yooper (CC)

If you want to have another look at the movie we watched that looked at the impacts of tourism on Machu Picchu and the surrounding area (or just listen to the panpipes again!) you can find it here.

Some possibly useful links (let me know if you find any more):

The UNESCO listing for Machu Picchu

The Machu Picchu Gateway

The Virtual Inca Trail

Article from National Geographic considering the threats to Machu Picchu, including from landslides - also talks about the cable car proposal

Sacred Land Film Project

For more general information about World Heritage, you can have a look at the UNESCO site, where there is an interactive map of the World Heritage Sites (these can also be viewed in Google Earth), a list of the criteria for selection, summary of the nomination process and some useful Frequently Asked Questions.

Don't forget that the questions on the sheet need to be completed for Thursday next week... I hope that those of you at Hagg Farm had a good time - make sure that you see me asap to collect sheets, etc. Also don't forget that those of you at Hagg Farm missed handing in your essay today - I would like that ASAP please! Or else...

Periglacial Landforms

Research yesterday into the main landforms and features that you are likely to find in a periglacial region...

Some sites that might be useful:

Although you might well find a selection of other strange things as well, searching Flickr for the names of the various landforms and features will likely produce some good photographs to give you a clearer idea of what the features look like. Although I've just searched it for "pingo" and not found anything, the Geography Teachers' Resources Group on Flickr that I mentioned might be useful as well.

Benidorm... Year 13

Tourism in Benidorm (an example of tourism in an MEDC) was the subject of Tuesday's lesson. After reading the Spanish Tourist Board's description of Benidorm and comparing it to our preconceptions, we looked at the location in Google Earth, talked about the climate and microclimate, and watched an interesting video from YouTube. (I can't link to the video because of some of the comments that have been posted but if you do a search for Benidorm - approach with caution - you will be able to find it quite easily, together with a selection of others...)

Image - Flickr User josago (CC)

We then looked a variety of news articles from earlier this year about the suggestion that the ideal ecotourism destination is not, in fact, a remote rural wilderness area, but a busy urban area such as Benidorm! GoSpain, New Scientist, BBC Magazine.

And then some more recent news articles that you weren't too keen on - the prospect of Benidorm as a World Heritage Site! Round Town News, Metro, The Telegraph, Wanderlust.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Year 12 River Dove Visit

Despite several of the party not being entirely "with it" at the start of the day, the Year 12 geographers had a good visit to the River Dove just before half-term. The morning was spent measuring a variety of channel characteristics at several different sites along the upper course of the River Dove. Google Maps is not cooperating at the moment, but hopefully will be able to add in a map showing the sites we visited here soon.

After lunch we arrived at Milldale, where we had a look round the National Trust Information Barn and then set off walking down Dovedale, stopping along the way to look at a variety of fantastic geological features and to think about how the river was continuing to change.

(I'll save the photos of the ice cream eating for school!)

The "mystery building" at Site 3 was a gauging station (yes, that was Wikipedia link...), and we saw another one near to the end of our walk at the bottom of Dovedale. A variety of data for the Hollinsclough gauging station (which is no longer in use), the Izaak Walton gauging station (and every other gauging station in the UK!) is available from the National Environment Research Council.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

UK Tourism and Coursework

Period 3 was spent looking at UK tourism case studies - remember you have a list of questions to base your work on, but should also include a map (or maps) and anything else that you think is useful or interesting (especially about tonnes of fish....). Don't forget about the article about heritage tourism that I gave you - very important that you understand terms such as heritage tourism, cultural tourism, etc.

Period 4 was more coursework time. Most of you are now well on the way and have clear plans for what you are doing in terms of data collection during half-term. I will remind you tomorrow but:

- field sketches are a really useful thing to be able to include in your projects
- photographs (especially digital ones that you can annotate easily) are also a valuable addition to your project, and if you are doing a physical project, might help with things like plant identification... also get your family/friends/whoever to take pictures of you doing your work - we had plenty of amusement with the Wales pictures (and we still haven't seen all of them - Joel and Laura!) so no reason why we shouldn't break up our "long and drawn-out" Wednesday morning lessons with some more photo-viewing!!
- make sure that you have everything that you need with you... most of you have given me details of what you need in terms of equipment... we should have ranging poles sorted, and so you will need to come up straighaway at the end of school on Friday to collect equipment. If there is a problem with this, you need to let me know asap - I am not here on Thursday as I am out on fieldwork with Year 12, and I am spending my free period on Friday collecting ranging poles!!
- be flexible and think on your feet... You might find when you get to your fieldwork location that things are not quite as you expected... If you are forced to change your plans, don't worry!! A student a few years ago, for example, was looking at LSD on a spit.... He spent a day collecting lots of data and then found when he went back to continue the following day that a huge storm overnight had completely changed the shape of the beach - he changed his plans and produced (arguably) a better piece of work as a result...
- email if you need some help... Don't wait til we get back and then tell me that you got stuck and didn't know what to do. I am away from Friday until Sunday, but will be within reach of a computer for the rest of the week... if in doubt, ask!!
- enjoy yourself!! You will need to work hard to make sure that you have all the data that you need, but you have picked a project that interests you and you are all going to interesting locations (well, most of you anyway...) - make the most of it!

If you haven't had a meeting with whoever is supervising your project, you must must must make sure that you do so tomorrow - we are all out on Thursday for Year 12 fieldwork, and Friday is cutting it a bit fine!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Year 12 - River Landforms

Some v good posters this morning..... We talked about:

- v-shaped valleys
- interlocking spurs
- rapids
- waterfalls
- gorges
- potholes
- braiding
- meanders
- oxbow lakes
- floodplains
- levees
- deltas

We also discussed turbulent and laminar flow...

Please remember that if you haven't already returned your permission slip and money for Thursday, you MUST do so as a matter of urgency!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Year 13 coursework...

Don't forget that you need - if you haven't already done so - to make an appointment to see whoever is "supervising" your project.

Miss Thurston - Lucy, Liam and Jak

Miss Bradford - Amy and Chantal

Me - Laura, Anna, Lottie, Hannah, Ben, Ed and Joel

Make sure that you bring with you all your notes, ideas, work, etc. with you to your meeting!

Year 12 River Dove Visit

The ppt that we used in this morning's lesson with the details of what we will be doing on our field visit next Thursday can be downloaded here. Make sure that you understand each of the variables we'll be looking at - and how to measure them, and remember please that for Monday, you need to be designing a simple recording sheet to use "in the field".

We will be leaving school at 8.30am on Thursday, and intend to be back by 5.30pm.

You will need to have a packed lunch with you, and will need to be suitably dressed with plenty of warm clothing, waterproofs, etc. Wellies for the morning if you have them, and walking boots or sturdy shoes for the afternoon.

If you look back a few posts you will find the Where's the Path? site which will allow you to look at full screen OS maps of the area we'll be visiting. Our first site will be at Axe Edge - the source of the River Dove, and we will then visit 4 more sites between there and Beresford Dale/Wolfscotedale. At lunchtime, we'll get to the Milldale carpark, near the "top" of Dovedale, and we'll spend the afternoon walking down Dovedale to the carpark near the famous stepping stones.

Tourism in the UK...

...was the topic for this morning's lesson.

We talked about some of the key tourist destinations in the UK, and thought about how we might classify them. We also clarified our understanding of domestic tourism - make sure you've filled it in on your glossary sheet!

On Tuesday (remember, p3 not p4) we will be in C1, and you will be researching a variety of tourism case studies. Before then, have a think about different types of UK tourism - particularly rural tourism (inc National Parks, literary and TV/film locations such as 'Wordsworth Country' and 'Heartbeat Country'), holiday villages (eg Center Parcs), urban tourism and heritage tourism.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Year 13


We spent the first part of p3 reminding ourselves about the statistical, graphical and cartographical techniques that you might want to use in your projects... Most of you now have your proposals more or less sorted - if not you need to get sorted very very soon!

P4 we looked at the development of tourism in the UK - inland resorts in the form of spa towns in the 18th century, and then the development of seaside resorts. We then considered how tourism has changed more recently, and tomorrow we will have a look at rural tourism (inc national parks) and heritage tourism.

Don't forget that your essay question needs to be completed for Thursday 6th November (not October... oops!) - speak to me BEFORE then if you are struggling.


The main focus of this morning's lesson, was fluvioglacial features, and you need to be having a look for photos of the various landforms that we discussed. As I have mentioned before, Flickr is an excellent source of photographs and if you use the search function, you are likely to be able to find images of most - if not all - of the landforms we talked about this morning. It is also well worth checking out Geograph (where they are celebrating as the millionth image was uploaded today - yay!!).

A set of useful links here and you can access the BGS Blakeney Esker site that we mentioned by clicking on the picture below:

Year 12 - River Processes

We spent Monday's lesson looking at river processes - how AND why rivers erode, transport and deposit material.

We also spent a long time thinking about the Hjulstrom Curve.

This might be a helpful reminder...

On Thursday, we will be spending the skills lesson preparing for next week's field visit. If you want to have a look at where we'll be going, check out the photos I've put on Geogtastic, or do a quick internet search for River Dove or Dovedale.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Year 13


We started by looking at the coursework requirements and markscheme in more detail and you got thinking about your plans. You can access the markscheme (and a couple of other bits about coursework) on the AQA website.

Remember please, that you need to have your proposal (no more than 2 sides of A4) ready for Tuesday. If you are still struggling then come and see me or email me BEFORE Tuesday.

We then had a look at tourism in Betws-y-Coed and Trefriw, and you compared the effects that tourism has had on the two settlements (or at least you would have done if we'd managed to all be there and all have proper sets of results!!).


This morning we started by completing our analysis of the deposits we studied at Llyn Ogwen, the Nant Ffrancon valley and the gravel pit. Some of you drew histograms (to look at length of long axis), some drew pie charts of divided bars to look at the angularity of the clasts, and others drew rose diagrams to show the orientation of the clasts. You came to the conclusion that the first deposit was glacial - collapsed lateral moraine, perhaps! The second one seemed to be either fluvio-glacial deposits, or glacial deposits that have later been affected by fluvial action. We were less sure about the third site, but were fairly certain that the deposits there had been affected by glacial and fluvial processes.

We then spent some time considering the maps and panoramic photos of Llyn Ogwen, Cwm Idwal and Nant Ffrancon. Remember, north is not always at the top! Worth checking out this virtual tour of Cwm Idwal:

Today, it was a bit more thinking about coursework - remember, lots of useful stuff on the internet if you look for it, and some very good articles in Geography Review. Good that some of you were using Google Earth to try and identify suitable locations - you need to have a look at OS maps as well (see post from the other day about Where's the Path?).

Have fun in London!

Year 12

On Monday we spent a lot of time talking about the factors that affect river discharge, and at storm hydrographs.

The website we looked at with the storm hydrograph stuff was this one

Don't forget please, that you have the Factors Affecting Discharge sheets to complete for tomorrow to give to Mrs Chambers.

Also remember that if you click on the Water on the Land or rivers/hydrographs, etc. labels at the bottom of this post, you will be able to access the posts from this time last year when the current Yr13 were looking at rivers and hydrographs...

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Don't try this at home...

Can't remember who I was talking to about BASE jumping and other such bizarre activities the other day (Ed?) but you could have a good game of "spot the glacial landforms..." with this! (Thanks Val!)

Where's the path?

I thought that I had posted about the excellent "Where's the Path?" before but if I did I can't find it now. However, I've just been exploring it further and either I didn't look properly before or it's been updated, and you can not only get full-screen OS mapping, but can look at OS maps alongside various different Google Maps...

Thanks to Noel Jenkins who spotted it first!

Wet and Windy Wales!

Currently sorting through my 234 photos and video clips from Wales... Here's a taster...

Sheep Drop!

Sheep Rock...

The place with the very long name...
The Grand Canyon (before Laura destroyed it!)

And Joel's art work...

Despite the weather, it was a great week - you worked hard, you were pleasant and polite, and you provided plenty of entertainment!! Very good eggs!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Year 12 - Work for Monday 29th October

A reminder that while I am away on Monday I would like you to think about hydrographs.

I would like you to sketch a typical hydrograph for an urban area, and a typical hydrograph for a rural area. Label the key characteristics of each (eg steep rising limb, etc.) and write a brief comparison of the two.

This is (or should be!) revision of GCSE work...

I would like this ready for when I see you on Monday 6th October.

Have fun!!

Wet and windy Wales!

The Met Office, the BBC and MetCheck all have slightly different versions of the forecast for next week, but it looks like we are going to need our waterproofs...

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Study Geography

I've mentioned this before, but in light of our conversations this morning I thought that it would be worth reminding Yr13 of the RGS Study Geography website (and no reason why Yr12 shouldn't be looking at it already as well!!):

Glacial Landforms...

Some interesting mini-lessons this morning!

We took rather a long time to work our way through the glaciation "dominoes" - we'll have another go tomorrow and see if we can be a bit speedier!

We then had a look at various glacial erosional landforms (glacial troughs; truncated spurs; corries; aretes; pyramidal peaks; ribbon lakes; hanging valleys...) and glacial depositional landforms (moraines - terminal, lateral, medial, recessional; roches moutonnees; drumlins...) and how they are formed. We still need to have a look at fluvioglacial and periglacial landforms.

Some pictures for you.... what features can you spot? And where were the pictures taken?

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Year 13

Some well-thought out presentations about the areas we'll be visiting next week in Miss Bradford's lesson. Some of you still falling into the old "reading from the ppt" trap though!! Argh!!

We then finished our Las Vegas case study posters - remember, an example of a secondary tourism resource.

The essay question that we didn't have time to consider was:

With reference to one or more areas that you have studied, discuss the extent to which tourism is dependent on primary resources.

With Wales next week, and a coastal statistics/fieldwork exercise that I am going to give you tomorrow, you don't need to be writing this essay yet. However, if you want to have a bit of a think about it, and brainstorm ideas/points/examples that you might want to include, then that would be a good idea.

Don't forget that if you haven't completed your East Midlands tourism work (apart from Lucy) that I need it tomorrow, or else there will be trouble! Also, I am expecting you to come with examples of 5 glacial landforms/features tomorrow - Laura/Ed/Amy's group gave you three this morning if you're struggling!

We also had a quick look at the itinerary for next week, and reminded you of our expectations of you. If you still haven't returned your medical form, you need to make sure that I get this as a matter of urgency!!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Leading & Learning Gap Year Scholarships

Those of you in Year 13 might be interested in this fantastic opportunity from the RGS Leading and Learning project...

If you are intending to study Geography at university, you might be eligible for a scholarship of up to £4000 "to support an overseas gap experience"...

There is more information on the RGS site here but you will have to get a wriggle on as the closing date for applications is Friday 3rd October.

If you're interested, have a look at the information, draft out an application, and then speak to me when I see you on Tuesday.

Year 12

On Monday, we started by looking at the systems approach - we talked about the global hydrological system as a closed system, and the drainage basin hydrological cycle as an open system.

We converted the drainage basin hydrological cycle diagrams you'd done for homework into flow diagrams, and had a look at a couple of exam questions.

We went on to look at the water balance and soil moisture budgets, and then river regimes.

Almost all of you managed yesterday to hand in your river regimes work via the new system - unfortunately two people have their first homework warning already!

On Thursday morning, we were out and about measuring infiltration rates around the school grounds. Remember that when you are writing up the investigation, you will need to include:


Your graphs should be line graphs showing how the water level dropped over time.

As you know, I am not in school on Monday as it is Year 11's Burbage visit. In my absence, I would like you to look back at your flow diagram from Monday's lesson. For each component, I would like you to write a sentence or two to explain what that component is, and then to consider the factors that affect each component - eg when we talked about infiltration rates, we said that the permeability of the surface, soil compaction, antecedent moisture, etc. would all cause variations in the rates of infiltration.

Both your investigation write-up and the work I'd like you to do on Monday need to be ready for Thursday's lesson to hand in to me.

Don't forget, if you have any problems with it, email me or come and find me on Tuesday or Wednesday - don't just turn up on Thursday without having done the work!

Year 13 - Cold Environments

Wednesday's lesson began - after the technological difficulties - with a look at the first part of Iain Stewart's Power of the Planet:

We then talked about glaciers as systems, with inputs of precipitation, energy and sediment, processes of ice movement, erosion (abrasion and plucking) and deposition, and outputs in the form of sediment, meltwater and calving.

We looked at the structure of a glacier - zones of ablation and accumulation - and the stratigraphy of a glacier... how temperature and velocity vary throughout the glacier... mechanisms of glacial movement.

We then watched another section of the Power of the Planet where Iain Stewart and glaciologist Miriam Jackson investigated what was going on underneath a glacier. You can watch that clip again here.

We finished with a quick look at processes of glacial erosion.

For next Wednesday, you are findng out about five glacial landforms - with examples of each and pictures (photographs or sketches) of each where possible.

Year 13 - Recreation and Tourism

Apologies for the lack of updates - it would be fair to say that this week has been rather busy!!

On Tuesday - we looked at tourism resources. We talked about primary and secondary tourism resources, and started to think about the tourism resources in the East Midlands... We mentioned lots of things - the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site, the Peak District, Sherwood Forest and the whole Robin Hood thing, Center Parcs and Alton Towers (though Staffordshire, so not officially East Midlands) were some of the key places we mentioned, together with the key cities of the 6 counties that officially make up the East Midlands (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire). Also various smaller scale attractions - Crich Tramway Museum, Matlock Bath and Gulliver's Kingdom, amongst others. There was a brief discussion about American Adventure and why it is no more...

When I see you on Tuesday, you will have produced a piece of work (map, writing, mind map, movie, etc.) about the tourism resource base of the East Midlands.

In addition to those above, websites you might find useful include:
- East Midlands Tourism
- Discover East Midlands
- East Midlands Development Agency - Tourism
- East Midlands Tourism Strategy
- East Midlands Airport

On Thursday, we looked at Las Vegas as an example of a secondary resource - a resort designed specifically to attract tourists.

We mentioned Flickr as a very useful and interesting resource - well worth doing a quick search for Las Vegas (Creative Commons search if you are planning to use photos for presentations, etc.)

Saturday, 13 September 2008

BBC Aerial Journeys

Thanks to Val Vannet for highlighting Aerial Journeys - a collection of programmes from the BBC Archive featuring - as the name suggests - aerial journeys.

One that will be of particular interest is The Living Isles - After the Ice. (And no, I don't remember it from the first time round!!)

New battle over Arctic oil plans

This news story from Thursday about the plans for huge expansion of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic will be of interest to both AS and A2 geographers as you will all be looking at Cold Environments later this year.

Well worth a look at the video clip of David Shukman flying over Prudhoe Bay as well...

On the theme of exploitation of Arctic "resources", the controversy over Greenland's whaling continues...

Wettest January to August period on record...

According to this article from the BBC, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have confirmed that this year has seen the wettest January to August period on record.

Worth a read, and worth a look at some of the reader comments as well!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Today's lessons...


After introducing the course, outlining expectations and completing our profiles, we went on to look at the hydrological cycle. We talked about the systems approach and will look in more detail on Monday at the idea of open and closed systems. For Monday's lesson, you're putting all the key terms we talked about into a diagram... You might find the S-Cool website helpful if you are struggling.

Although you have the bits of the specification that you need, if you want to look at the whole thing, you will be able to find it on the AQA website


After long discussions about Wales and AS results, we reminded ourselves about some of the key words and ideas that we need to consider relating to Recreation and Tourism. Again, some useful reminders on the S-Cool website.

There will be more information about Wales on Tuesday, but if you are planning a shopping trip this weekend, the OS map you need is OL17 - the Explorer (orange) map for Snowdon and Conwy Valley.

Welcome/Welcome back!

If you are an A2 geographer reading this, you've hopefully been following the posts over summer anyway, but if not - welcome back!

If you are an AS geographer reading the blog for the first time after this morning's lesson - welcome!

I set up Geogtastic6 last year and we only had AS geographers. My plan is to continue this year with both AS and A2 on the same blog. That does mean that not every post will be directly relevant to you, but as we are doing the new AS and the old A2 this year, there will be some overlap (eg. you will all be doing some Population work, and some Cold Environments work). You will also find labels at the bottom of each post - if you click on those, they will take you to all the posts with that particular label - which means that you can check out rivers-related work that we did last year, for example.

If you find any useful websites, or hear about any interesting geographical news stories, upcoming geographical TV programmes, etc., leave a comment and let us all know!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

More on the coastal erosion story from yesterday...

Have a read of this post from Pruned which looks at the coastal erosion story I posted about yesterday, and also features some of Andrew Stacey's excellent photographs...

Monday, 18 August 2008

Coasts may be "abandoned to the sea"

That's according to Lord Smith, the new chairman of the Environment Agency, who says that coastal erosion is the most difficult issue that the Agency have to deal with, but that some parts of the coastline are so badly eroded that they are not worth protecting.

The picture shows part of the Holderness Coast (East Yorkshire), but large parts of Norfolk and Suffolk are under threat as well. Read the full article from the BBC here.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

"Northern cities beyond revival"

That's according to a "think tank" called Policy Exchange. Apparently, the regeration that is going on in cities such as Bradford (which I have posted about on Geogtastic before) and Liverpool is not working, and there should be a mass migration of poor northerners to southern cities such as London, Cambridge and Oxford...

Doesn't seem to me like the most sensible solution... Have a read of the article from the BBC here and see what you think!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Urban Earth, Flood Sim and Online Information Resources

Several new posts on Geogtastic, which for some reason I can't copy to here as I have done before....

Urban Earth - Dan Raven-Ellison's project to walk across and photograph three major world cities... Some of the stories and photographs from Mexico City are now on the Urban Earth blog... Next week is London.

Flood Sim - simulation game produced by PlayGen and Norwich Union to raise awareness of flooding and to encourage people to take action to protect themselves and their homes from flooding.

Derbyshire County Council Online Information Resource - does what it says on the tin! And is brilliant!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Happy Yorkshire Day!

Image: Flickr user kosta.v

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Happy Holidays!

Hope that work experience went well...

Enjoy your holidays - whatever you are doing... If you are going away somewhere, send us a postcard, and remember to take lots of geographical photos!

And remember to keep visiting Geogtastic and Geogtastic6!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Introduction to Cold Environments

We started today to have a look at some Cold Environments work ready for the North Wales visit in September (speaking of which, most of you still owe me some money!!!).

We talked about what we meant by "cold environments" - past and present. We had a brief look at the geological timescale - the sheet I gave you came from the Keele University Earth Sciences Department and you can also check out the BGS's interactive version here.

We then talked about what a glacier is, how ice forms, and the different types of glacier.

An excellent website about glaciers and glaciation to have a look at is Dr. Peter G. Knight's website. The book that he mentions on the website is also excellent, and whilst there is no obligation for you to buy this (or any other) book, it certainly wouldn't be a waste of money!

You can link to the Amazon page for the book by clicking on the picture below, although it appears not to be available from there at the moment. You might be able to find a copy on that well-known auction site, or in a bookshop, or from the Geographical Association shop (worth bearing in mind that GA members get a discount... and I am a GA member...).

Don't forget please, that for Tuesday, you need to have found out a specific example (with location) of each of the types of glacier that we talked about today.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Fancy going to meet Old Harry?!

I will speak to you properly about it on Wednesday, but you might like to have a look at this... The RGS are offering 16 AS/A2 students the opportunity to take part in a Fieldwork Summer School from 25th-29th August at the Townsend Centre in Swanage...

The Townsend Centre is the field centre I went to back in October, and it was a fantastic weekend... The week is aimed at students who have completed AS, are planning to do A2, and who may be considering studying Geography at university, and who may not otherwise have the opportunity to do fieldwork like this... And - the entire cost of the week (food, accommodation, travel to and from Swanage) will be met by the RGS!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Some very good mini-lessons today - well done.

We looked at rias, fjords, raised beaches and relict cliffs. We talked about eustatic and isostatic sea level change (we will talk about this more at a later date).

We also looked at geos, blowholes, cracks, caves, arches, stacks, stumps, headlands and bays, wave-cut notches and wave-cut platforms. We also considered concordant and discordant coastlines.

Make sure that you are clear about all of these!

The revision website that Laura mentioned is - there is some useful stuff on there but I've just spotted several mistakes in the bits I've looked at so be careful!! The S-Cool site that I have mentioned before is also handy.

If you are in the group that were not ready today, make sure that you are sorted for Friday (I will definitely be in school, and so there will definitely be a lesson).

Also, a reminder about Wales money/permission slips... Someone asked if you can pay all the money at once - absolutely you can if you/parents are happy to do that!! The sooner it's sorted the better!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


...was the verdict of the inspectors this afternoon!

The eight Year 12 geographers who spent today at the British Geological Survey worked very hard researching and preparing arguments for or against the development of a new quarry ready to present at the public inqury. They were supported by experts from the BGS, and from companies such as Tarmac, and had an interesting insight into the work of these organisations, and how the planning process works.

Well done again to all of you - you participated and contributed brilliantly, you were pleasant, polite and generally great (and you certainly held your own with the "posh people"!!)... Thank you for making it such an excellent day!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Welcome back Year 12!

In our first lesson after your exams, we looked at the A2 course.... talked about the topics we will be covering... and looked at the links between them (synopticity!!).

We also mentioned Donald Trump's proposals to develop a £1 million golf resort in Aberdeenshire. Mr Trump gave evidence at a public inqury yesterday, and is considering an appeal after his plans were rejected.

Today, we started to look at Coasts. We talked about the coast as an open system (inputs, processes and outputs) and then looked at lots of different coastlines - what factors affect the shape, form and appearance of the coastline, and why is there so much variation?

Friday, 23 May 2008

Quarry or not?

Obviously you've had rather more pressing things on your minds, and I am glad to hear that the exams seem to have gone pretty well...

Now is the time, however, to get your "application" in for the Quarry or Not? day at the BGS. I've had more details from them now, and it promises to be a great day... geographically, socially and UCAS-form-ly!!

Look at the previous posts for the report from last year's event and the "trailer"...

And then, either on paper to Mr Bradley or me, or by email to me... tell us - in 50 words or fewer - why you should come with us... 8 places only!!!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

USA tornadoes

Lots of tornadoes in the USA in the past few days...

An In Pictures from the BBC, and a report and video footage of tornadoes that have killed at least 18 people in Oklahoma and Missouri here.

And according to this report on the Oklahoma state website, there were hailstones the size of baseballs!

Friday, 9 May 2008


Podsols and brown earths
Reminder that you need to know about podsols and brown earths... You must be able to talk about the climatic conditions in which you would find each of the two types of soil, the processes that lead to the formation of the two types of soil... and be able to sketch soil profiles for them both. Don't forget to look at the Macaulay Institute posters...

BGS - Quarry or Not?
Forgot to mention to you today that I had an email about the Quarry or Not? event at the British Geological Survey. We've decided that, to make things as fair as possible, you need to "apply". It is important that the people we take with us are prepared to work hard and to participate fully in the day's events...

Check out the report from last year's event, and the "trailer", and if you are still interested, tell us - on paper, or by email to me - in 50 words or fewer, why you should come with us... before 1st June.

Exams, etc.
Tuesday p1 - H5 (unless there's a room swap)... going through some questions for GGA3 resits.
Wednesday p3 and Friday p5... come and see me if you want to go through things/revise...

I have meetings on Mondays, and GCSE stuff Tue and Thu after school, but Wed and Fri are fine, as are lunchtimes...

Email (school emails... type vel into address bar) if you need to...

Remember to use the resources on here, and on Val's HigherGeogBlog...

Don't forget what we said about the structure of the exams:
GGA1 (physical) - one hour... three questions - one on each topic, each worth 20 marks, answer all of them...
GGA2 (human) - one hour... three questions - one on each topic, each worth 20 marks, answer all of them...
Whilst it's still worth you looking at all the past papers that are available, only the 2007 papers have the same structure as the papers you will get.

Most importantly though:



Forgot this before, I think!! Sorry!

Selection of links relating to the London tornado of 2006:
• 6 hurt as tornado hits London
• Tornado Families being rehoused
• Battered Homes to be demolished
• After the Dust has settled
• In Pictures: Trail of Destruction
• Claiming for the Tornado Damage
• Animated Guide - Tornadoes
• Tornado Victim’s Future uncertain

(Thanks again to Rob Chambers for these.)

Also check out The Tornado Project Online.

And lots of others... let me know if you spot a particularly good link.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Soil Texture Graphs...

I have misplaced the link to the soil texture graph that we looked at today... But I have found one which is better...

Have fun!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Soils and Succession

The Macaulay Institute have produced an excellent set of posters looking at soils - they are pdf files, so should be ok to print out for your notes...

Brown Earths
Soil Terminology

There are also some on succession - two on Sand Dunes here and here, and two on Moorland here and here.

(Remember that you do not need this much detail about sand dunes at AS, but it will be useful for you to have a quick look at - and save for next year!)

Palm Oil

We mentioned today - but didn't go into too much detail about - PALM OIL...

Just spotted this excellent and comprehensive post on Melanie Richards' Gorgeous Geography blog. It is aimed at her Year 8s, but there is plenty there that should be of use and interest to you as well...

Cyclone Nargis

Further to our conversations today, there is a list here of links related to Cyclone Nargis that Rob Chambers has put together:

New Articles:
Hundreds killed by Burma Cyclone (BBC News) Burma Cyclone death toll rises to 351 Burma Cyclone kills more than 350 people (Daily Telegraph) 926897/Burma-cyclone-kills-more-than-350-people.html Death toll rises in devastating Burma Cyclone (ABC News) Hundreds feared dead in Myanmar Cyclone Over 350 dead as cyclone pounds Myanmar News Myanmar cyclone kills at least 351 811.html Cyclone leaves at least 350 dead in Burma (Guardian) Aid effort for cyclone-hit Burma Burma cyclone damage assessed Burma Cyclone - Eyewitness Reports

Nargis Cyclone Cyclone Nargis map In Pictures: Burmese Cyclone (BBC News) In Pictures: Burmese clean up

ITN – Burma Cyclone Video Cyclone batters Myanmar’s main city Yangon Hundreds die in Myanmar Cyclone Burma Must allow agencies in (Video from the BBC)

I've just seen on the BBC News that the death toll has now risen to more than 22,000 and that there are still more than 40,000 people missing. There are suggestions that the damage is on a similar scale to that of the 2004 tsunami.

There are also concerns that the military rulers of Burma were not prepared, initially at least, to accept international aid, although it seems that the World Food Programme have now been allowed into Burma and are distributing food.

If you are wondering about the Burma/Myanmar thing, this should clear things up

Sunday, 6 April 2008

La Nina again...

In case reading the article was a bit much, there's a nice video clip from the BBC here, looking at the effects of the current La Nina event as well as how it fits into the picture of overall climate change.

Young Geographer of the Year

A quick reminder that you have until 30th April to get your entries in for the Young Geographer of the Year Competition...

The theme this year is Explore Your World...

"We want you to carry out a project that involves you exploring the world around you. The project must be completed somewhere in the UK, and must involve you getting out into the real world and making a geographical investigation – it could be a survey of your local streets or a study of a stretch of coastline. We want you to bring geography alive and show how it helps us to understand the world in which we live. Your entry can take whatever form you think is most appropriate – be it a written report, a short video film, a photographic essay, an annotated map, an audio file or a mix of all of these. The important thing is that you get out of the classroom, away from your computer screen and into the outside world."

Great prizes to be won! Full details here... Get exploring!!

Hurricane Song!

Forgot to post the source of the wonderful "Hurricane Song" that you all liked so much on Friday...

Lots of others, including the "Water Cycle Song" and "What does the glass of a greenhouse do?" here...


Stop Disasters Game

I haven't got very far with it so far, but the Stop Disasters game from the UN/International Strategy for Disaster Reduction comes highly recommended.

The idea is that you choose a disaster scenario - one of which is a hurricane in the Caribbean - and then you are responsible for making decisions about how to protect the community from the inevitable disaster...

Leave a comment and tell us how you get on!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Climatic Hazards... Part Two

Tropical Revolving Storms... also known as:

- hurricanes in the USA and Caribbean
- cyclones in India, Bangladesh and other parts of southern Asia
- typhoons in Asia Pacific (esp. Japan)
- willy-willies in Australia

...are large storms (300-400 miles across, and 5-6 miles high) rotating round areas of extreme low pressure.

They occur between 5o and 20o N and S of the equator (Coriolis force nearer to the equator is too weak to cause the storm to rotate) where sea surface temperatures are 27oC or greater.

There's a nice summary from the Met Office here, an animated guide from the BBC, and you might like to have a look at Towers in the Tempest which looks at how "hot towers" cause hurricanes to intensify.

Plenty of info also from the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.

As well as understanding how TRSs form, you need to know about the effects they have, and how these are likely to be different in countries/regions at different levels of development.

Hurricane Katrina...

hit the south-eastern USA in August 2005. It is believed to have killed about 1500 people, and with the cost of damage estimated to have been about $300 billion, was the most costly disaster to hit the USA.

The Met Office have put together a very good case study page (click on the satellite image of Katrina above) which looks at the physical impacts, human impacts and responses, and also has a set of activities for you to have a go at.

There are lots and lots of other sources of information available - one of the best is probably the BBC's In Depth Guide and it's well worth spending some time investigating this properly.

This "Storm Viewer" shows the track of Hurricane Katrina, but also shows you how the pressure, wind speeds and precipitation changed with the development of the hurricane. Various similar animations of other hurricanes here.

Cyclone Sidr next...

Climatic Hazards... Part One

Three main climatic hazards that you need to know, the first of which is...

Severe Gales
- associated with mid-latitude depressions where there is a steep pressure gradient
- tend to cause disruption to power supplies and transport

Great Storm of 1987...
Michael Fish's infamous "hurricane" weather report...

Shortly afterwards...

(Remember though, that, although there were hurricane force winds, this wasn't actually a hurricane!)

More on the storm from the Met Office.

More recently...
March this year saw severe storms across much of the UK.

Various news articles from the BBC:

If you follow the links on the right-hand side of the stories, there are several video clips and galleries of photos sent in to the BBC.

There is also an excellent sequence of satellite images which I blogged about at the time... Click on the picture below: