Friday, September 28, 2007

Great Britons Competition

Thanks to Dan Ellison for pointing out a resource produced by MORGAN STANLEY based around the idea of Britishness.
There are resources to help explore, which would be useful for Citizenship or Pilot Geography "My Place" - some nice kinaesthetic ideas, and I always enjoy a free resource that someone else has made.

Students must choose a minimum of four elements they feel make up their Britishness. We suggest culture, religion, traditions, ethnicity, values, aspirations, ambitions, geography, languages and attitudes as options however students may create new elements if they wish. Students then form small groups around each of the elements. Each ingredient group is responsible for collecting information on that ingredient and forming it into a contribution for the charter. The class should then draw all of the information together into a Britishness Charter and give it a name. This can be a visual, digital or audio product. Potential ideas are a poster, collage, PowerPoint presentation or video.

Hurtigruten Year 10

We watched the promotional DVD today and you had to answer 2 enquiry questions:

Why do people visit Svalbard ?
Try to split the attractions into a number of groups. These could usefully include:
Physical attractions: landscape, wildlife, climate, glaciers...
Human attractions: towns, ships, 80th parallel...

Would you like to go to Svalbard (price is an issue obviously) ?
If so, what would be the highlights ? If not, why don't you want to go ?
We will get some feedback from people who have been....

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Cape Farewell Exhibition

All Year 10 pupils have the use of the Cape Farewell pack, produced by the Geographical Assocation. It describes a journey made to Svalbard by a group of people including scientists and artists.
I've just discovered via one of my other side-projects that there is currently another CAPE FAREWELL voyage underway even as I type...
The journey started in Svalbard, at Longyearbyen, and there are video diaries, and diaries and blogs from the Youth Expedition, which has just returned. The ship: the Noordelicht is currently sailing across to Greenland and to Scoresby Sound.
Check this out - a cool resource... (do you see what I did there...)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Monopoly and My Place again...

On the day that we got a special British edition Monopoly board...

This was the Here and Now UK board, and was the result of voting across the country...

Liverpool fills the Old Kent Road slot...

Dundee makes it...Here's the board for your interest - why not buy a copy ! Look at the price inflation in the properties...

Here are 1000 suggestions for a motto for Britain...

Free Sustainable Transport Resources

Transport for London is offering free cycling maps.
This follows on from last weekend's LONDON FREEWHEEL, where over 30 000 people cycled around London with their red bibs and cycle bells...

Off to London this weekend too, engineering works permitting.
Quite fancy seeing the Terracotta warriors at the British Museum, but pretty well booked up solid....

Go Lilly !

Thanks to David Rayner for pointing this out to me...

Svalbard Graph Data

Here's the data, which had disappeared off the system...

We sort of got there in the end with the new version of Excel.
Will try and knock up a version of the instructions for you. Still got to work out how to label the axes and add a title...

Monday, September 24, 2007


This is one of my favourite websites. It allows the creation of a whole host of creative items which can then be used on websites or as coursework.
Below is an example of a HOCKNEYIZER picture....

Post labelling...

You'll notice that I've started adding Year 10 or Year 11 to the beginning of post titles now that we are both using the blog... That doesn't mean that you shouldn't take a glance at all the posts, as they're always interesting no matter which year you are in.

Today we also took a look at Mark Beaunmont's progress. For a Geographical perspective on his trip visit the GEOBLOGGING WITH MARK blog. He's currently in Iran, one of the countries passed through by the Ozbus.

We'll keep an eye on the Ozbus progress too.... (Warning, external blog which may contain rude words - if in doubt, don't read...) The bus was in Romania on Friday of last week, so good progress is being made....

Year 11 Reducing congestion

In addition to the obvious Congestion charging, we looked today at 2 other methods:

HOV lanes: (High Occupancy Vehicle lanes) or Carpool lanes, also known as 2+ lanes
Tried in Leeds (and other locations)

A WIKIPEDIA item on the lanes - what issues are identified with this method of control


LIFTSHARINGI showed you the liftshare website, which has almost 200 000 registered users.

There's a VIDEO on this page (which I can't get to embed, but you might be able to...)
What were the issues we identified with sharing lifts with strangers...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Svalbard Pilot Graphs

Thanks to Val Vannet (or was it Tony Cassidy ?) for the instructions below, which have been adapted for KES pupils.

Creating a Svalbard Climate Graph using the Excel Spreadsheet Programme

Collect the data that you are going to plot on your graph. You will find this in Pupils on Curriculum (U), Geography, Pilot GCSE Geography. Highlight the table if necessary, and copy the data. Open up an Excel spread sheet and paste this data into it.
Then highlight all the data that you have entered and click on the chart wizard.

  • Choose the first type of Column graph

and then click ‘next’ until you get to Step 3

of the wizard.

  • Type in the chart title e.g. ‘Climate Graph of Svalbard, then the x-axis label Month’s and then finally type in ‘Rainfall (mm)’ for the y-axis.
  • Select the ‘Legend’ tab at the top of the wizard and untick ‘Show Legend’
  • Click ‘next’ and in Step 4 of the wizard choose the option ‘As new sheet’. Type in Climate Graph for Svalbard in place of ‘Chart 1’ and click ‘Finish’.
  • At this stage, your graph should look like this example with the data shown as two sets of columns (except you will have columns above and below zero)
  • The next task is to convert the temperature data to a line graph.
  • Move your mouse over one of the temperature columns (in blue) and right-click. From the option box that opens, choose ‘Chart Type’ and then ‘Line’ graph as the type of graph. The temperature data will then be plotted as a line graph.

  • The next task is to move the temperature line upwards. To do this, right-click on the line, choose ‘Format Data Series’ from the option box that appears, then select the Axis tab at the top and click on ‘Secondary axis’.

The temperature graph should adjust itself and be much clearer now.

The scale on the Rainfall axis needs to be changed (otherwise it will appear as if Svalbard receives a lot of precipitation – which it doesn’t!) To do this, right click on the

y axis line and choose ‘format axis’. Open the ‘scale’ tab and change ‘maximum’ to 50.

Now click OK. The rainfall bars will now be much shorter.

The final task is to add a label to the new y-axis on the right.

To do this, click on the chart wizard again and click through to Step 3.

In Step 3 (under ‘titles’ tab ), a new box should have appeared called ‘Secondary value (Y) axis’. Use this to enter a label for the temperature data e.g.

Temperature (degrees Centigrade)

Once you have done that click ‘next’ and ‘finish’

Save your work!

If you have time, continue to the next page where you will learn how to improve the

appearance of your graph.

Improve the appearance of your climate graph

To change the colour of your line :

  • Right click on the line and choose ‘format data series’. Under the ‘patterns’ tab, choose ‘custom’
  • Drop down the arrow beside ‘colour’ and choose red, for example.
  • At this point you can also increase the thickness of the line by dropping down the ‘weight’ arrow
  • You could also experiment with the style of line and the shape of the marker points if you like

To change the colour of your bars :

  • Right click on one of the bars and choose ‘format data series’. Under the ‘patterns’ tab, you can change the border colour and the fill colour for the bars
  • Try outlining in white and filling in blue.

You could even put a picture of Svalbard as a background to your graph. There are several in the same folder as these instructions which you could use. Alternatively, you could search and save a picture to your Documents.

  • Right click on the grey background and select ‘format plot area’
  • Under ‘Area’ choose ‘fill effects’ and then choose ‘Picture’ tab
  • Click ‘select picture’ and navigate to the picture you want to use.
  • Click ‘insert’ and it will appear in the ‘fill effects’ window
  • Click ‘OK ’ and ‘OK’ again and hey presto…. you should have an amazing graph!!

May need to adapt this for Office 2007 - apologies for dodgy formatting on this post...

Friday, September 21, 2007

"Who dares wins..."

That's famously the motto of the SAS.
Gordon Brown has apparently been considering the possibility of a motto for BRITAIN !

The BBC news had a collection of viewers' / readers' suggestions. I liked this one:

Obesité, Apathé, Hostilité

Can you think of a motto for Britain ?
Add a comment below KES pupils !

Year 10 Classroom lesson

Mt. Everest: an extreme environment...

OK, so we are getting the idea about extremes. A pity more of you didn't bring in some Guinness records...
We also suggested that once you start filling in the map with the extreme environments, they are more common than you might think. Don't forget, if you want to buy an atlas, that the Longman School Atlas had some excellent people working on it...

The world starts to fill up quickly.
There are 3 extreme environments which are being chosen by schools across the country at the moment for their Pilot work: POLAR, HOT DESERT or MOUNTAINS.
Obviously MOUNTAINS has the potential to explore areas like the Himalaya which are well supported with resources.

At the end I showed you some sites of people who have visited Svalbard, and their photos...
Imagine you're about to head off to Svalbard. Do the task below....

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fares please.... that'll be £3700 !!

How would you like to take a bus to Australia ?

Pic of Sydney Harbour Bridge by Flickr user tomhide

Would it be more sustainable than flying ?
We are always told that long haul flights are extremely damaging to the planet.
A colleague Mr. Dixon told me an amusing tale about the pilot of the plane that brought him back from his summer holidays.
He came over the tannoy and was apparently going on about how he and the co-pilot were "pedalling as fast as we can", and then said how much fuel the engines were using but "between the couple of hundred of us that doesn't work out quite as bad..." - did he have a point ?

Are there other ways of getting to Australia ?

How about MARK BEAUMONT, who we've mentioned before, who is cycling around the world ?

Too much effort...

The OZ-BUS set off last weekend (16th September), heading from London to Sydney.
We are going to do a little task on this trip, which has this itinerary...

London to Sydney is the ultimate overland adventure. In 12 weeks we cross from one side of the world to the other. Our route spans 20 countries and every type of landscape imaginable. From deserted beaches to rainforests, waterfalls to deserts, and medieval villages to futuristic cities.


Prague Vienna Budapest Transylvania Gallipoli Istanbul Turquoise Coast Bam Taj Mahal Corbett Tiger Reserve Kathmandu Mount Everest Bangkok Ko Samui Kuala Lumpur Sumatra Komodo East Timor Kakadu National park Ayers Rock Sydney

You will receive a NEWSPAPER ARTICLE, and also a set of weblinks.
The OzBus website provides lots of detail about the trip.

So how damaging is the bus compared to the flight ?

There are various carbon calculators for flights.

Some of the passengers are keeping BLOGS like this one during their journey.
Warning, some of these may contain fruity language so (don't*) read them...
*delete as appropriate

What's included ?
  • Services of your tour leaders
  • Use of OzBus expedition vehicle and equipment
  • Any vehicle related costs including mechanics, diesel and shipping
  • Ferry tickets
  • All meals while camping and/or travelling
  • All camping and hotel costs
  • Entry fees to any National Park that we visit as a group
Not Included
  • Visas
  • Personal spending money
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Border taxes
  • Meals Out/ in hotels
  • Entrance fees to optional sites and parks
  • Any optional extras
  • Any unforseen contingency route expenses
  • Any flights (expected – East Timor to Darwin)
  • Tents

These could add up to some substantial additional costs of course...

Below are the questions you'll be asked to complete.... or they will be soon...

1. What advantages are there to each method ? Construct a table...
The website of OZBUS suggests some of the positives of the journey by bus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Year 10 Arctic Futures...

Which country is this the flag of ??
Can anyone explain the meaning of the design ?
BBC World Service has a series of reports on Greenland that are worth downloading and listening to, including a Greenland rapper...

Independent News report

How is global warming affecting Greenland ??

What is the link between the Ilulissat Glacier and the 'Titanic' ?

Don't forget to check Tony's BLOG regularly, his Year 10s are under way with their course.. Good luck to Kirk Hallam students !

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Year 11 Transport

We spent some time last lesson looking at the link between CITY GROWTH and TRANSPORT.
Started with a definition of transport.
"The movement of goods and people from one place to another.."
Suggested that sometimes a VEHICLE of some kind is needed.

Looked at link with the way that we started to live together: settlement sites at crossroads, bridges, gap points in ridges etc.

Looked at the influence of transport on the growth of places like LONDON.

Of course, London is not necessarily an ideal location for a settlement...

We finished by looking at the trend for COMMUTING.
This is now a common daily movement of people (technically, it's a type of migration, which is known as CIRCULATION)

What are the issues created by commuting ?
How can we reduce the number of cars on the roads during the ironically named "rush" hours... ?

This week, I also got a parcel in the post.
It was my pack to go with this Sunday's LONDON FREEWHEEL: "The Day of the Bicycles": a nice bib to wear (in case I drop my packed lunch down my front..) and a cycle bell (Ding Ding !) along with a map of the route.
Check out the route at the website.

"Freewheel is better than four..."

Year 10 Extremes

What are the planet's extremes ?
Can you name the:
places in the world...

Try the Guinness World Records site, or online encyclopaedias of various kinds...

Come next lesson with one or two records, including some more extreme ones, perhaps from another area...

Svalbard e-Portfolio

OK, so we've now had a lesson and a bit to add the framework for our e-portfolio.
We need so far to have a title slide and contents page, which then HYPERLINK to other slides containing the content. Put everything in one folder (and make a backup if you can with a flash drive...)

You should also have downloaded the PDF of the Svalbard brochure from SVALBARD.NET

At the top of the post are some images from Steve Johnston, who visited Svalbard in 2004 and 2006. These could be used as the BACKGROUNDS to your slides, or even made smaller and used as icons for Hyperlinks.

The additional enquiry question that we threw in today was:
"In what ways is Svalbard 'extreme' ?"
We need to start thinking about the landscape.

Homework task from today.
We are going to look at the EXTREMES of the world, and have a starter where you provide me with some records, perhaps from the Guinness Book of Records ?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Michael Palin Video Notes

Or rather, a DVD, as I have the complete Palin boxed set. A recommended Christmas purchase.
Here are the questions:

What do we learn about the weather / climate of Svalbard ?

What do we learn about the landscape of Svalbard ?

What do we learn about the difficulties of travelling in / on / to Svalbard ?

We meet Harald Solheim, a fur trapper – what do we learn about his life ?

In what way is what you have seen ‘extreme’ ?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

FUGIS Match-up

Tony Cassidy has produced a very useful FUGIS match-up exercise which you can test your knowledge of the 5 sections with.
Check it out HERE.
Cheers Tony !


Year 11 Transport Problems Research

"Urban populations are increasing at a rate three times faster than the total population of our planet. Associated with urbanisation is the growth in range and scale of urban transport. People need to move around easily in towns and cities in order to go about their work and daily lives. Yet many journeys for work, shopping or leisure activities contribute to environmental problems such as air pollution and resource depletion. This Option will assess whether more sustainable solutions to urban transport can be found and implemented to combat the drawbacks of traditional and less sustainable urban transport. Although this is an applied Option, it requires candidates to have a sound knowledge and understanding of key features of urban growth and change, so that this can be applied to the problem of investigating more sustainable transport solutions. The concept of sustainability is central to this Option and should be clearly understood before in-depth analysis of the topic. This Option should also provide opportunities for candidates to question their own attitudes towards urban transport in their own locality as well as to find out about urban transport and sustainability in other parts of the world."

Today we are going to produce a map of some of the problems in King's Lynn.
Obtain a map from an online mapping site. You should be familiar with some of the options by now...

Identification and analysis of a clearly defined problem or issue concerning present transport use in at least one defined urban area.

Read the blue writing above, which provides the background to the problem. Now look at the red writing which is the background to the first of our 3 short coursework pieces.

We are going to contrast King's Lynn and Norwich....

In Norwich, they are involved in something called CIVITAS SMILE.
You can search for more information on this.

You should have notes from last year on a number of key transport ideas.

Check THIS POST and make sure that you have completed the appropriate work before you start.

You should also create an e-portfolio slide to link to all your SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT work.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Some good work so far...

Mrs. Clarke and I are very pleased with the efforts put into the first few lessons.
Nice to see the e-portfolios taking shape on Svalbard.
Read through some earlier postings.
This Sunday on BBC1 is the first of a new series: Michael Palin's 'New Europe'...With Year 10s we will use one of Palin's earlier journeys.
See this EARLIER POSTING on the journey in 'Pole to Pole' that passed through Svalbard.
What is Svalbard like as a place ?
Be prepared to break out your descriptive words....

and watch Palin on Sunday.

Year 11s need to think about a transport issue to explore.
We will be using an enquiry approach - will explain more next lesson.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Building in an extreme environment...

How about a building job at the South Pole ?
How does the environment make this difficult ?

Video from National Geographic, via YouTube

Svalbard ICT Lesson 1

You will be using THIS EARLIER POST today

Start with POWERPOINT.
We are going to make an e-portfolio for the links and information that we collect. I'll show you how to do this....

Start using GOOGLE EARTH, and locate Svalbard. Do a screenshot and use this as the background to a title page, from which you will have links to other slides.
Create an icon which will be your link button...
This should be something appropriately icy...

1. Describe the location of Svalbard in relation to various other countries, and areas of open water.
2. Find some images of Svalbard from the blog, and add one to a slide in powerpoint and add some annotation
3. What would life be like here ?
Try to find some examples from people who have visited.
Includes some short passages to describe the place, and the source of the information:
"Svalbard experiences a polar night in winter when the capital Longyearbyen is in darkness for 110 days straight as the sun stays below the horizon, and midnight sun throughout the summer when the sun doesn’t sink below the horizon for 123 days. During the winter months (December), the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun as it orbits the sun and so receives less radiation. The North Pole has no sun for six months but places like Svalbard that are not quite so far North have a few months darkness with very short days either side. In the summer months (June) the Northern Hemisphere faces the sun and the North Pole has 24 hour daylight and Svalbard has a period of midnight sun."
Taken from

I will be labelling all the work that this Year's Year 10 group do as "Year 10 Svalbard" so that it is obvious which year group it relates to. Feel free to use all the resources from last year though....

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Barnaby Bear Goes to Svalbard

You may have seen Barnaby Bear on TV, or seen his journeys back in primary school.
A reminder for new Year 10s that the intrepid ursine explorer has also been to Svalbard. You can see what he got up to on the newly updated website, and then do the quiz, which is in the Teachers section under Resources.

New Platial map of Svalbard

Friday, September 07, 2007

Svalbard Posters

Coming up shortly for Year 10 is a task where you have to create posters looking at the future for Svalbard. Here are a few of the better examples from last year's group to give you some ideas for what you can create....
With thanks to Daniel, Chris, Claire, Emily and Zach for sharing their work for the benefit of others !

Food Miles and Organic labelling

A very useful post on the GUARDIAN's BLOG
Are Air Miles and Organic Food compatible

Welcome to new Year 10 group

I showed you the blog today, plus Tony's blog and also the relevant page of GeographyPages.
If you're reading this, you took up my suggestion of taking a look at the blog in advance of the next lesson.
Today we had the 2 PhotoJams: Extreme Sports (including zorbing, parkour, base jumping, ice climbing, parasailing and a couple of shots of me on gritstone edges in the Peak District...) - what made these sports extreme ? What does that tell us about what extremes are ? Now apply the same ideas to extreme environments... We also watched an Extreme PhotoJam of Svalbard using photos taken by someone who has been there...

For anyone interested in the music used in the PhotoJams, the first one used JayZ's remix of Rush's 'Tom Sawyer', the second was the more languid 'On Stream' by Norwegian ambient jazzer Nils Petter Molvaer.

Why do you think I used Norwegian music for the Svalbard PhotoJam ? Special bonus for the people who add a comment below...

and the secret phrase for next Tuesday's lesson is "Prawn Sandwich"...

Thanks to Tony for use of his EXTREME sheet from last year's group.
Also remember to learn the FUGIS definitions. A reminder of those are on THIS EARLIER BLOG POST....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Year 11 starts tomorrow

You'll get the feedback from the exams tomorrow.
We will also continue with the work that we were doing on Transport, and also give you chance to get up to speed on the various new posts on the blog over the summer.

Hopefully we'll also get some feedback at some point from Pip, who visited Svalbard over the summer. Here's the card that he sent us...

We'll also get some Year 10s started on their Extreme journey.
Remember that whatever you got in Year 10, 50% of the marks are now completely reliant on you doing the coursework in the way that we tell you !
Best of luck..

There are also some new resources on Svalbard which have appeared at the GEOGRAPHYTEACHINGTODAY website.
We discussed some of these earlier in the year, but I will make some use of these with Year 10 groups. If you're reading this and are in Year 10, go HERE to have a look - some useful background materials on Svalbard...