Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Michael Palin: Around the World in 20 Years

Last night this great documentary from Michael Palin was on BBC1. It is based on his hit documentary series Around the World in 80 Days. He revisits place he went in 1988 and embarks on a new voyage to find people that he met 20 years ago. Catch it on iplayer now!!

The first part is perfect for those of you in Year 7 and Year 9 who will be larning about Fantastic Places this term! Click on the image above to take you to the documentary on BBC iplayer.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Solving global warming

Whilst searching for images on Flickr, I found this great mind map image of ways to solve global warming. Thought it was well worth a post on here...
Click on the image to see the full size version at Flickr. Found using Creative Commons License.
There is another mind map just on global warming and its causes/evidence/solutions here.

Monday, 29 December 2008

January retakes for Year 13

Here's some examples of the 10 mark case study questions that you can expect in your retakes in January...


  • With reference to named examples, examine the impacts of river flooding on people's daily lives.
  • With reference to one or more named examples, explain the benefits of environmentally sensitive river management.
  • A number of hard engineering methods have traditionally been used to combat coastal erosion. Briefly describe two of these methods and for a named location explain why each was chosen.
  • With reference to more than one country, examine the factors that influence government coastal management policies.
  • For a located coastal ecosystem, explain how a study of the vegetation pattern can illustrate the process of succession.
  • For a named stretch of coastline, examine to what extent sub-aerial processes have affected the coastal features.
  • With references to named examples, examine the consequences of human activities on river environments with respect to one of the following: (a) urbanisation, (b) dams and reservoir construction, (c) water quality.
  • With reference to one or more named examples, examine the relationships between the hydrological cycle and one of the following: (a) soil moisture budgets, (b) local storm events, (c) river regimes


  • With reference to specific examples, examine how urban environments can be made more sustainable.
  • Using specific exmamples, examine the conflicts arising from developments in the rural-urban fringe.
  • Choose two contrasting rural environments. Examine the reason why the vary in character.
  • Referring to named examples, examine the success of attempts to revive city centres.
  • Referring to examples, explain how conflicts may arise between different groups when rural villages undergo rapid change.
  • With reference to specific examples, examine the ways in which rural environments are being modified by one of the following: (a) changing farming practices, (b) the development of resources in the countryside, (c) tourism
  • With reference to any named urban areas, examine the ways in which decision makers are attempting to manage one of the following: (a) traffic flows, (b) ethnic and/or religious segregation, (c) water and waste pollution, (d) provision of affordable housing.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Week in Rap

American news delivered through rap!

The Week in Rap 12-19-08 from Week in Rap on Vimeo.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Managing Change in Human Environments retake

For those of you in year 13 retaking this unit, here are the two revision packages I made a couple of years ago to go with the human exam. The key to success in this exam is knowing your case studies as that constitutes 30/90 marks. I will add some examples of the case study questions to this post once I have found them! We will go through past exam papers in their entirety as soon as we return to school, but the most important thing will be learning the case studies and being able to apply them to the 10 mark extended answer exam questions.

Rural Environments Revision Package
Urban Environments Revision Package

The Animals Save the Planet

Created by Aardman, The Animals Save the Planet are a series of funny animated short films that feature tips from animals on how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.

The Animals Save the Planet website hosts the videos in a high quality version. The cows is my favourite!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Planet Earth Online

Planet Earth Online

An excellent resource from the Natural Environment Research Council full of relevant articles for the World at Risk unit.

Urban Earth

A geography teacher, Dan Raven-Ellison, has been creating short films of a number of cities, including Mumbai, Bristol, Mexico City and London. They have been created by walking across these large cities, taking a photo every 8 steps! Here's an example...

To see the rest, go to Urban Earth.

Year 13 coursework estimates

Please remember that these are estimates only. I am not an A Level examiner so have only gauged where each essay is, using the mark scheme!

The total raw marks available for Unit 5 is 120. The grades are awarded as follows: A 94, B 87, C 80, D 73, E 66. As there are two elements to this unit (coursework and exam), I have halved the marks to get the boundaries for the coursework. This will also give you an indication of what you need to get on the hazards exam to fulfil your expected grade.

Estimated Coursework results

Jonny 41/60 (Grade C)
Breakdown of marks: I=9, R=10, U=8, C=7, Q=7

Elliot 50/60 (Grade A)
Breakdown of marks: I=9, R=12, U=13, C=8, Q=8

Alex 42/60 (Grade C)
Breakdown of marks: I=8, R=11, U=11, C=6, Q=6 (you had several spelling errors still remaining and a lack of ongoing evaluation which sadly limited your marks in the conclusion and quality of writing)

Daisy 44/60 (Grade B)
Breakdown of marks: I=7, R=12, U=12, C-6, Q=7

Beth 47/60 (Grade A)
Breakdown of marks: I=8, R=12, U=13, C=6, Q=8

This is a massive relief, bearing in mind how much of the coursework had been written up until about 3 weeks ago!!! As you are aware, the hazards work was put on hold whilst we tackled the coursework. It is now time to refocus on your hazards research. I will be compiling a revision package as I always have done, but this needs to be matched equally by your preparation. It would be such a shame to bring down your coursework marks with a poor exam performance.

Thank you for your focused efforts over the last few weeks and well done on these great results!

Happy Christmas.

Friday, 12 December 2008


Some useful geography in the news today on the issue of global warming. EU leaders have reached a deal to cut carbon emissions by 20% by 2020, compared with 1990 levels. Take a look at the BBC article here.

Whilst you are on that BBC page, check out some of the other links, especially with reference to the IPCC. There's also an animated guide to the greenhouse effect and a great link to 'state of the planet, in graphics'.

Seeing this in the news reminded me of one of my favourite images...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Stop Disasters Game

This simulation is based on the idea of Sim City, but instead you have to manage a region prior to a natural hazard. You get a certain amount of time to prepare for the hazard before it hits. Then when disaster strikes you can see how effective your hazard management has been! Click on the image to take you to the game...

Mr Gurney and myself used this with classes ranging from year 10 to year 12 on Thursday and it went down a storm. It is clear we are in the presence of the hazard managers of the future! If you haven't tried it yet...have a go!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Year 13 Hazards exam in January

To your delight, you have 'Global trends in hazards and hazard management' as your generalisation to be examined in January. To kick off this post, here's a list of possible essay titles. Remember what I said, all questions are a variation of the generalisation, so they should not be a complete surprise!

Possible titles...
  • Critically evaluate the view that natural hazards appear to be occurring with increasing frequency
  • To what extent can hazard prediction reduce the effects of hazards?
  • Evaluate the future issues associated with living with natural hazards.
  • Using a range of natural hazards comment on our future ability to predict and reduce their effects
  • How effective is hazard prediction in reducing hazard impact?
  • Comment on the assertion that the future of hazard management will rely on reducing their effects rather than their causes.
  • Critically assess the statement that natural hazards are occurring more frequently.
  • For a range of hazards outline prediction methods currently used and assess their effectiveness
  • What are the issues surrounding the use of prediction as a "solution" for hazard management?
  • To what extent can technology improve hazard prediction? Illustrate your answer with reference to at least three types of hazard.
  • Discuss the view that it is not possible to prevent hazards but only to lessen their impacts.
  • With reference to two contrasting types of hazards, examine the extent to which prediction can reduce the impacts.
  • With reference to a range of prediction schemes evaluate their success.

As with your coursework reports, I shall keep adding relevant information to this post to support your independent research. Keep checking it for updates!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

20 of the world's most dangerous places

In looking for something completely different, I stumbed across this. The Travel section of The Telegraph has put together an In Pictures feature on 20 of the world's most dangerous places. The map of the world below shows you the countries involved. Not all of the places are the entire country. For many places, they are perfectly safe for tourists to visit, but certain areas are very dangerous indeed!

What do you notice about where 20 of the world's most dangerous places are located? Is there anything that surprises you? Why are they considered dangerous - is there a pattern?

What am I getting for Christmas?

A few of you have now asked me what's on my Christmas list this year. Well, ever since hearing about these gadgets, I've wanted one! It's called Flip Video and is a pocket sized camcorder that holds 60 minutes of video. You can also capture still photos from the videos. So many times I've seen some great geography when I've been out and about, but have had no way of cheaply and easily recording it. So look out for new bits of video in your lessons in January! Be warned year 12, it will be everywhere with us when we go to Slapton FSC in March.

Friday, 5 December 2008

The Box

The Box is an ambitious and unique year-long project for BBC News to tell the story of international trade and globalisation by tracking a standard shipping container around the world.

The BBC have painted and branded a BBC container and bolted on a GPS transmitter so you can follow its progress all year round as it criss-crosses the globe.

The Box will hopefully reach the US, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa and when it does BBC correspondents will be there to report on who's producing goods and who's consuming them.

To track its progress, go to the BBC In Depth News section for 'The Box'

Here are some of the direct links and videos to show you where the box has travelling so far!
The Box ready to start journey (with video)
The Box arrives in Singapore
The Box unloads in Shanghai (with video)
The Box leaves China for the US
Economic hardship greets The Box in LA (with video)

Keep a look out for updates to this post!