Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Peterborough trials personal transport

This is one that you should definitely mention in your coursework !
Peterborough is trialling personal transport plans.
This BBC article, which you need to read suggests that:

A nationwide brigade of personal transport advisers who call at the homes of drivers thinking of switching to greener forms of travel could help break Britain's dependency on the car.

In Peterborough £750,000 has been spent on giving 20,000 people personal advice to help them use public transport or cycle.

Check the TRANSPORT OFFICE website for more details in this area.

Tom Symonds is the BBCs Transport Correspondent so a search on his name on the BBC site brings up loads of articles which could be relevant. A useful search tip there...

Douglas Mawson documentary on C4

Last night, those doing Antarctica may have been interested in a programme which recreated a journey made by the noted Polar explorer Douglas Mawson in 1912.
Here's a mixed review of the programme from the Telegraph which gives a flavour for the programme, which is repeated on the 3rd of November at 8.35 on Channel 4 Plus 1

Mawson was a Yorkshire-born Australian, who, in the same year that Scott and Amundsen raced each other to the South Pole, led a geological expedition in Antarctica. Having established base camp on the windiest place on Earth, he then took two colleagues on the toughest of the field trips: a 900-mile journey in search of minerals. All went well until one of the party, Belgrave Ninnis, fell into a crevasse and was never seen again. Neither was his sledge, which had been carrying most of the food.

From then on, all thoughts of mineral-discovery were abandoned – and during the long slog back to base, his other companion Xavier Mertz died too, probably from the toxins in the livers of the huskies the two men were forced to eat. Carrying on alone with little food, no dogs and the soles of his feet falling off, Mawson eventually made it home. In Europe, his achievement was overshadowed by the tragedy of Captain Scott. In Australia, he became a national hero.

As far as I could see, all of this was perfectly clear last night – not least because the programme drew heavily on Mawson’s own account. So, why did When Hell Freezes claim that it was “shrouded in mystery”? The answer, naturally, was that some grizzled adventurer of our own time had decided to don some 1912 polar clothes and have a go too. “For one man,” said the narrator supportively, “the terrible fate of Mawson’s party has become an obsession.”

The man in question was Tim Jarvis, who was soon faced with another of the problems with programmes like this: they don’t actually follow the footsteps that closely. Not only did Jarvis take a different route from Mawson, but in these enlightened times, he neither used nor ate dogs. Fairly crucially as well, he had no chance of dying, what with a film crew in attendance and regular check-ups from the team doctor. Of course, I’m not suggesting that Jarvis should have risked his life for our edification – just that his knowing he’d survive meant the whole experience couldn’t possibly be the same as Mawson’s.

No wonder then that, instead of illuminating Mawson’s story, Jarvis’s merely ran in uneasy parallel with it. His toughness was admittedly impressive in itself – but in the context of the documentary it simply got in the way. By the end, Jarvis had certainly proved that dragging a sledge across hundreds of miles of ice on starvation rations is very hard. Needless to say, though, we could probably have worked this out for ourselves.

500 posts....

The last post that I just made was the 500th since the blog started in September 2006.

Can I remind this year's Year 10 pupils that all posts from last year are archived.
Scroll down to the bottom of the right hand column to find 2006, and then select September, October and November and read through what we did last year as a help with what you need to do this year. This is essential for those of you who want to get the top grades. There is a lot of help there, and I won't be spending the hours re-doing what I did last year all over again.

Year 10 Coursework Task B

Here are the instructions for Task B
Move on to this once you've finished your poster...


So what do YOU think the future holds for Svalbard? What human and physical changes might occur as a result of global warming? What is your vision for a future Svalbard?

Write a 500-word report to describe and explain your view of a likely possible future for Svalbard.

You may choose to take an overview of the human and physical characteristics of the Islands


You may focus on one broad aspect such as the landscape

OR you may even like to refine your report and focus on one aspect such as ecosystems or even polar bears.

Your intended audience of readers is a group of KES geographers from Years 10 to 13. You may wish to write for another intended audience, consult your teacher.

Folow the ‘Top Tips!’ below to help you.

Top Tips!

  • Incorporate the idea of sustainability within your answer: the idea that we need to use resources in such a way as to allow them to remain viable for the future
  • Show you understand likely future changes on Svalbard
  • Describe and explain these changes.
  • Refer to who might be affected by the changes.
  • Refer to human and physical changes.
  • Refer to local, regional and global implications of this change.
  • Present and justify your own view.
  • Include diagrams, maps and photos to support your view. At all times make sure that you credit your sources.

Possible aspects to include on your concept map or diagram:

Oceans around Svalbard.

Climate of Svalbard.

Glaciers and ice caps on Svalbard.

Landscapes, landforms and processes of Svalbard.

Land-based ecosystems of Svalbard.

Ocean-based ecosystems of Svalbard.

Human activities on Svalbard.

Culture and peoples of Svalbard.

Scientific exploration of Svalbard.

You could focus on some or one of these in your report.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Polar Bear Site

A new Polar Bear site has been launched by WWF and Canon.
They are monitoring Polar Bears, which have been fitted with radio collars to track their movements. Some of the bears are on Svalbard.
Check out the KIDS ZONE too.

Future Transport Year 11

Future Transport

The third part of the coursework is related to creative ideas about the FUTURE of urban transport.

Today, we looked at the past development, which might give us some ideas about how transport might develop in the future.
What did people from the past think we might be travelling like in 2007 ??

Here's a CITY OF THE FUTURE FLICKR set (can't see this at school)

A great FLICKR set from 1910 showing "what life will be like in the year 2000"


- materials used and safety involved
- efficiency of engines
- material used for safety and car shell

Different Fuels

- Biofuels
- talked about difference in road tax paid by people depending on the car they own - should owners of larger cars pay more road tax (or even more...)

Increased capacity

- Airbus A380 first flight
- Articulated and bi-articulated buses
- Double-decker TGV trains

Increased networks

- more roads / motorways
- more railways (Beeching cuts - research what this involved if you need to find out more...)

Increased speed

- early vehicles moved at the speed of a horse
- what are the average speeds of traffic in London ?
- why manufacture vehicles which can travel at speeds that are illegal on the roads ?

Suitable websites for ideas
  1. Some manufacturers of cars are developing new engines - check the TOYOTA Hybrid Synergy Drive.
  2. What about HYDROGEN FUEL ?
  3. How about a SKYCAR ?
WIKIPEDIA has an interesting article

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's a small world...

...especially when you bump into KES students in the queue for Indiana Jones in Disneyland Paris on your half term holiday !
Thanks to Rob Chambers for pointing out the PENGUINS IN PERIL game.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Year 11 and Year 10 Evenings

The last 2 weeks have seen 2 Thursday evenings when staff have been available to present information to parents of KES pupils.
We have made available handouts relating to the Pilot GCSE.
Tonight will be the Year 11 evening.

Remember that the coursework has to be the key focus.
After half term we will be offering the opportunity to review coursework which was completed last year and improve it with a view to improving the grade. This has to be a situation where the students are PROACTIVE and see the benefit in doing it. The school will pay the exam fees, but the students have to put aside some time between now and Christmas to make the suggested changes. If we can see that sufficient improvements have been made, we will then be able to re-enter the portfolio of work, and hopefully see a higher grade than before.
Also keep checking this blog for more information.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Good luck to Tony Cassidy

Some of you may have been using the 'other place's weblog of Tony Cassidy.
He's off to Bangladesh for half term so we wish him well...

What is Uggianaqtuq.

Add a comment below. Special bonus for first KES pupil with the answer and how it relates to the coursework...

Year 10 Coursework 2007

Below is the detail on TASK A


In this coursework you will be asked to consider how global warming and associated environmental change might affect Svalbard. You must apply your knowledge and understanding of this extreme environment and link it with what you know and understand of global warming to present your view of a possible future for Svalbard.

You will have one lesson and private study time for each of the following tasks.


Produce a concept map OR any other diagram of your choice/creation to show your full understanding of how global warming and environmental change might affect the extreme environment of Svalbard.

You must demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the current landscape, ecosystems, climate and human uses of Svalbard.

Follow the ‘Top Tips!’ below and the ideas over the page to help you create your diagram. Your diagram may be up to A3 size, with scope for going up to A2 if you really need to.

Top Tips!

  • Refer to specific places on Svalbard
  • Show how the different aspects of Svalbard and global warming are interconnected e.g. wildlife, landscape, people, buildings
  • Be creative!
  • Include appropriate detail to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding.
  • Use geographical vocabulary.
  • Try to describe (the aspects of Svalbard) and explain (how global warming might affect them).
  • Plan your diagram.
  • Keep your diagram organised on the page.
  • Be concise!
  • If you have taken information from a webpage you must credit the source by including the URL (i.e. http://www.svalbardstuffonglobalwarming.com)
Look for information on:

Evidence for global warming...
How will global warming affect the Arctic ?

Think about:


For example, how about this article on Greenland. Seal and chips anyone ?

Possible angles:
  • Polar Bears - why are they affected ?
  • Will farming be possible ?
  • Will all the ice really disappear ?
  • What will happen when the permafrost thaws ?
  • How will all this water which is created change the landscape or the oceans around Svalbard ?
  • Will some plants disappear but others appear ?
  • Will some animal species disappear but others appear ?
  • Is global warming DEFINITELY going to happen ?
  • What are some other possible futures ?

And here's some useful advice which we have given last year too, from the King Edward VI 5 Ways School in Birmingham...

How to make your coursework into an A*

Try to make your work match the descriptions below. This is what teachers will be looking for to award an A*!

Tick them as you achieve them. We will give you a printed copy of the sheet...


  • Show good knowledge and understanding of Svalbard.
  • Show you understand the concept of ‘possible futures’.
  • Give arguments to support your view of a possible future.
  • Present interconnected / linked ideas.
  • Make your interpretation of the future detailed.
  • Develop and show the complexity of your personal view, including how it will affect you
  • Justify your personal view.


  • Develop an appropriate technique to present your ideas.
  • Use particular skills to communicate your findings
  • Focus on clear communication to your intended audience.
  • Make sure that you communicate appropriate information

Remember that there are marks for the quality of your written communication. These are obtained by:

  • Presenting relevant information in a form that suits its purpose
  • Ensuring text is legible
  • Using a suitable structure and style of writing appropriate to the task

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day
Theme is "the Environment"

Add a comment to the blog post which is on the theme of the ENVIRONMENT

Could be one of these formats, or one of your own choice...

a) What most worries you about the environment: local, national or global ?
b) Which environmental story has had most impact on you in the last year ?
c) What steps do you take to reduce your impact on the environment ?
d) Which environmental themes do you think should form part of the Geography or Citizenship or General Studies course ?
e) Tell us about an environmental story you have been involved in....

Or one of your choice.
Click the COMMENT button and write your comment - don't forget to include your name...
You will be one of over 12 million people involved in this Blog Action Day....

Monday, October 08, 2007

New resource for Arctic study

Thanks to Hugo Ahlenius and colleagues in Stockholm in the UNEP/Grid-Arenal project.
They have put together a total of (at the time of blogging) almost 1000 images and an interactive atlas of the Arctic as well. Here is a sample illustration.

Barents Sea vulnerability index. (2007). In UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library. Retrieved 18:35, October 8, 2007 from http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/barents-sea-vulnerability-index.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Work for Year 11 - Thursday 11th October

Morning Year 11.
I'm not here, as I'm on my way to London (I hope) to speak at the Royal Geographical Society...
You are continuing with your TRANSPORT magazine today.
Need to work on the PROBLEM page, and the PROBLEMS are of course to do with TRANSPORT.

Need to produce some Q & A sections: Questions and Answers...

These need to tackle the following topics:

Transport problems: where, when and why they happen... Some possible SUSTAINABLE transport solutions What it means to be sustainable

As always, be creative...

You MUST make some progress today. We need to ensure that we have time to redo the Year 10 coursework bits to raise your marks...

If you're stuck, take a look at the following websites:
Department for Transport
Campaign for Better Transport

"The need for effective and efficient alternatives to the car has never been more urgent. You can play your part by giving your support to the Campaign for Better Transport"
Michael Palin, President, Campaign for Better Transport.

This is the new name for an organisation that used to be called TRANSPORT 2000.

Make sure that you have details from LEDC & MEDC locations

Work for Year 10 - Tuesday 9th October

Morning Year 10...
I am due to be at a conference today at Gressenhall talking about SEN and ICT in Geography, so I am not here, as you will have noticed...
Plan for today is to add any further details to your e-portfolio slides related to the ENQUIRY QUESTIONS which we have set up...

Holly - I managed to get your work back from the backup, so you should find most of it in your folder - thanks to Mr. Fawcett for that.

If you have completed the tasks, there are a couple of new areas for you to investigate:

1. Can you research WHY there are days of complete darkness and 24 hour daylight once you get above the Arctic Circle ? Include some illustrations in your answer...
2. Can you suggest why this extreme of light is likely to cause problems for people and animals ?
3. Last year, we followed the journeys of an American student called Laurel McFadden, who spent a year living in the Arctic in Canada, Greenland, Svalbard and Russia.Check out her COLD PHOTO weblog to see plenty of fab pictures such as the one above...
Posts such as THIS ONE show the landscape in the dark, and also provide some information about UNIS: the University in Svalbard.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Transport Magazine: all the news that's fit to print... Part 1

Here we go on the first piece of coursework.
A reminder first of all of the background against which we are going to apply the Assessment Objectives:
  • Identification and analysis of a clearly defined problem or issue concerning present transport use in at least one defined urban area.

  • A discussion of the possible solutions to alleviate the problem or solve the issue, including a full analysis of the impacts and evaluation of the extent to which these solutions are sustainable

  • Creative ideas for some aspects of the future of urban transport. This may be discussion of a general topic (such as solar powered cars) or exploration of an aspect of a particular urban area

  • All three may relate to one issue or location...

We have a focus then on SUSTAINABILITY, but also FUTURES.

We are going to use the context of a MAGAZINE.
This is going to have some of the features of magazines like COSMOPOLITAN, EVE or other lifestyle magazines.

The starting point is the cover. If you put magazine covers into Google, the first site that it brings up is one of my favourite sites of all: the BIG HUGE LABS site of John Watson.

Choose the MAGAZINE COVER option (don't get sidetracked by all the other interesting options - that means you Brent....) and get creative!

Need to source:
a) An image related to transport
b) Some possible 'stories' or 'content' which you can flag up in the tag lines and other lines

Don't forget to be CREATIVE, and try to cover all the points above.
You could use some other software if you prefer, but it makes sense to use the website to do all the formatting for you.

More to come...

Below are some of the examples that have been created so far, with thanks to Gemma, Aaron and ANON....

Monday, October 01, 2007

Year 11 Sustainable Transport Resources

There are a few places you should go if you have internet access at home, and get hold of these resources.
The first is to the OCR exam board site. We are doing the Pilot GCSE, but OCR also offer a syllabus 'C' option called the 'Bristol Project'.
Download the JANUARY 2007 RESOURCE BOOKLET and TEACHERS NOTES, which are on the theme of Sustainable Transport and has some VERY useful information.
Then go to the GLOBAL EYE site for 2004, with a focus on Traffic.

Environmental Issues in Europe Video for Year 11

We used a video which was produced for Scottish schools...
It looked at the Randstad: the 'ring city' which makes up a large part of the Netherlands, and has 4 cities making up the sections of the circle: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague and Utrecht. The cities are merging together, and in the middle is an area known as the 'GREEN HEART', which is shown below...

We looked at the issue of URBAN SPRAWL.
This is facilitated by TRANSPORT and CONGESTION.

This is threatening the green heart.
We also considered the issue of waste disposal, and discovered that incinerated waste is used to provide power for the trams and metro in Amsterdam.

You should have produced a magazine 'front cover' last time using the FLAGRANT DISREGARD magazine cover maker.
This is going to form the basis for our first piece of coursework with the magazine having a "PROBLEM PAGE", which will form the basis for our problems of transport details...