Friday, November 30, 2007

King's Lynn

Image above from Norfolk

We're sat in King's Lynn in Norfolk at the moment.
What is this place like ?
Have you ever been to King's Lynn ? What were your experiences of the place - positive / negative / ambiguous ?
What sort of images would you have of the place ? Here are some of mine:

  • the view down King Street from Tuesday Market Place towards the Customs House
  • the Mart - annual fair which arrives in February
  • the Samphire man - the horse and cart may be gone, but he's still to be found
  • a pint of ale in the wood panelled front bar of the Tudor Rose Hotel
  • the markings in the entrance to St. Margaret's church showing the levels of previous floods.
Websites give an impression of the place perhaps. What images are featured ?

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk : 3 smiley faces, the Great Ouse and a cottage by a village pond
About Britain: Customs House, King John Cup, Greyfriars Tower, Morris Dancing, the Mart
The Lynn News: the twice weekly local paper - plenty on the forthcoming FA Cup tie of 'The Linnets' against Oldham
Bryan Howling's Tour of the town. Useful images.
Can your recommend any other sites on the town ? (Don't forget FLICKR if looking at home)
Joe Bridge: nice images.
And don't forget the award-winning multi-storey car park.

My Place Introduction for Year 10s

OK, today we thought about some images of the UK / England.

What are the differences between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and the British Isles.

OK, so today we were exploring the images that represent 'My Place': starting off with "Images of England (or Britain), then Images of East Anglia (or Norfolk) then Images of King's Lynn.
MY PLACE involves 4 of the 5 themes (FUGIS above)

There were some good ideas coming through, and we produced a Top 10 for the group of the images we thought best represent our place to people from other places, times or planets...

What about my own Top 10 ? Well, it would have to include Fish and Chips (Wikipedia image below was taken in Hunstanton - spooky!) - is this my pla(i)ce ? no., it's a cod....I'd also want to include something from Yorkshire, a pint of ale - Tim Taylor's Landlord for preference, sitting on Scarborough beach in a deckchair on a cold Bank Holiday perhaps...
What are your images of 'My Place' ? Why not add a comment below and explore the ICONS site for more.
Remember that the images don't have to be pictures. They could be:

  • the first lines of poems
  • the titles of books
  • songs
  • films
  • plants or flowers
  • sounds: leather on willow anyone ?
  • smells: freshly cut grass ?
  • items of clothing
  • seasonal events in the calendar
  • festivals or annual activities e.g. cheese rolling...
Think perhaps about what you would most miss if you went to live abroad ?
Then narrow the focus to your particular county, and then your particular town...

I recommend you visit the ICONS site. This site has been around for over a year and attempts to collate a list of the key icons of England.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Coursework Improvement - Year 11

Remember the deal: you improve the coursework marks substantially and we will pay to re-enter your coursework.
Check the past posts - when I get a moment, I'll add a direct link to them from the top of the blog...

Also, about 2 weeks left on your magazines....

The chocolate lorry expedition I showed you (remember that it's fuelled by chocolate not made from chocolate - remember they're going to Africa so it would melt anyway) has a WEBSITE.

Also for people as consumers, worth checking out CHRIS JORDAN's massive photos of American consumption.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Explorer Research

You will hopefully be bringing something that you have discovered about a Polar explorer. Here are some of the names that you could perhaps have selected:


Fridtjof Nansen - a favourite of mine...

Robert Edwin Peary

Sir John Franklin

Roald Amundsen

Henry Hudson

Sir James Clark Ross


Sir Ernest Shackleton - "the Boss"

Robert Falcon Scott

Douglas Mawson

Roald Amundsen

Captain James Cook

You need to compare THEN and NOW.

There are still some current polar explorers who are worth mentioning:

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Pen Hadow

Ben Saunders

Don't forget the RGS Discovering Antarctica website.

Here are some headings that you can use to compare the past and current visitors to Polar regions:



This story has been in the news for the last few days.
The M/S Explorer was a tourist vessel operated by a company called GAP Adventures.

The ship was holed by ice. There are some dramatic pictures of the ship listing, surrounded by thick sea ice.

This article in the Daily Telegraph has some good links and videos to look at.
Several articles give the exact position of the ship when it sank, and this can then be viewed in Google Earth so that you can see the remoteness of the location.

This is a reminder of the risks involved, although we said last time that there was a lot of difference between the early explorers and the explorers of today.
A series of photos on the BBC website.

This is a very useful BBC article which attempts to explain:


This website provides statistics for the number of people who visit Antarctica on their holidays.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Chocolate fuelled lorry

ChocolateImage from Green and Black's website.

We eat 148 bars of chocolate a year each on average...

Now there is a lorry travelling through Africa powered by chocolate, heading for Timbuktu.
According to an article:
They are taking 2,000 litres (454 gallons) of bio-diesel made from 4,000kg (8,818lb) of chocolate misshapes, the equivalent of 80,000 chocolate bars, to fuel their adventure.

The BBC NEWS article looks at the journey of the lorry.

Wonder what the exhaust smells like ?

Another tourist incident near the Poles.

Another incident in Antarctica today which featured a cruise ship. There has been a huge growth in this more 'extreme' tourism.
After the incident in Svalbard earlier in the year, where ice blocks fell on the deck, the focus has now switched to the other hemisphere.
The ship involved was the M/S Explorer.
Image below from BBC News
Earlier today, it struck something and the passengers were put in the life boats as the crew tried to pump out the water which was pouring into the ship, but had to abandon when the power failed.

The BBC NEWS article is useful.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Final week on Svalbard

OK. Here's the work for today (and some bits for next classroom lesson)

So we are going to be moving on to My Place before too long.

Remember to read back through previous postings on the blog from October and November to 'flesh out' or add additional material to the information that you already have, and get some sneak preview of the work that is coming up.

We will also have a little CHRISTMAS diversion in the last week of term.

The plan for today is to get hold of the 500 word piece from everybody who hasn't already let me have Task B
I then need to have your portfolio slides finished off (scroll down a little for a reminder of the enquiry questions.

Final task:

Why would being a student on Svalbard be 'extreme' ?

We are going to use the site of the University of Norway in Svalbard (UNIS)


Try to suggest some differences between being a student at somewhere like COWA compared to UNIS.
Also worth checking out the blog of someone who spent time at UNIS: Laurel McFadden, who last year's Year 10 pupils followed on her COLD PHOTO blog.
You can read the postings from January through to April, which was the time she spent on Svalbard. There are some fantastic images here too....

Image copyright: Laurel McFadden

Check out the SVALBARD COMPANIES page too to see what's on offer for students.

You will need to produce a powerpoint slide or two based on this enquiry question.

Print off a hard copy of the portfolio slides for your blue exercise books - File, Print, Select printer (not that annoying default Primo PDF), Print What ? Handouts, then choose 3, 4 or 6 handouts per page. May also want to INSERT, Slides from Files and add some of the slides from the Boardworks presentation which look at the effect of GLACIATION on the landscape. Remember that there are glaciers on Svalbard.

The presentation is in the Pilot GCSE folder on Pupils on Curriculum.

Final things to add: (little extras)
The cold temperatures experienced in Svalbard and other cold non-glacial climates result in the ground freezing solid. The top few centimetres thaw out in the summer and then freeze again in the winter - this particular part of the soil is called the ACTIVE LAYER. The reason for the name is that as the ground thaws out, large quantities of water are released, and the ground starts to move (it's a process called SOLIFLUCTION) - it results in a very hummocky landscape with lots of surface water called THAW LAKES (I have a 'thaw' finger from all this typing....)

CICERO is the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. There is an excellent illustrated page HERE. This is a great place to start for explorations into the impact of this thawing of the permafrost on Svalbard (and in other parts of Norway and the Arctic too...)

I suggest you also take a look at the WIKIPEDIA page on Permafrost, and take a look at some of the weird and wonderful things that happen to the surface when it is constantly being frozen and thawed out. This produces a whole range of new Geographical vocabulary: Palsas, Thufurs, Ice Wedges, Stone Polygons, Stone Garlands, Stone Stripes, Felsenmeer, Pro-Talus ramparts, Naleds and Pingos...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2 transport stories in the news....

1. St. Pancras re-opening: hundreds of millions of pounds spent on station and track to create the new international station. On Monday noticed the change in the tube train to mention "International services" from King's Cross St Pancras.

You MUST start to explore and research other people's views.
This is not difficult to do now that most newspapers have an online presence...

Here is an extract from a letter to the Independent from someone who lives in King's Lynn (not me)

"Most car journeys are under five miles and a large proportion under two miles. The best solution to our addiction to cars was invented more than 150 years ago: it's called a bicycle. The other part of the solution has been around even longer: walking. Perhaps the heart of the problem is that we've just become lazy. The solutions are not expensive: a reduction of the urban speed limit to 20mph or less, a reduction of town-centre car parking and perhaps a campaign of public ridicule for the idiot who drives two miles down the road in a toy lorry to collect his Independent"

What do you think of this person's comments ? Do you agree with their views ?

2. Differential payments

The basic idea here is that if you drive a larger car you should pay more for your car tax, but also any time where the size of the vehicle makes a difference, such as parking. This is an idea to be used in Norwich.
Do you think it will work ?
Is it fair ?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

E-Portfolio Year 10s

If you feel that you have done your 500 word piece.
The first thing is to make sure that it is spell and grammar checked. Read it through... Does it make sense ?
Remember that this is NOT a cut and paste job.
Credit your sources.
Now compare it to the mark scheme in the earlier posting below...

Still certain that you have finished ?
Start up your Powerpoint and go back to the e-portfolio, and continue producing the slides which answer the following questions (which are likely to be the focus for questions on the exam...)

Monday, November 12, 2007


The DISPATCHES website: Bottleneck Britain has now gone live...

Dispatches Channel 4 tonight

"Bottleneck Britain" - Dispatches.

Looks at the pay-as-you-drive proposal, also called the "TOLL TAX".

Remember earlier postings about the M6 TOLL road.

How successful are toll roads in the UK ?

Traditionally traffic bottlenecks have been solved by building new roads but this doesn't actually reduce congestion. A little like being fat and solving the problem of having no trousers that fit by going out and buying a bigger pair of trousers....
We discussed some of your ideas today - remember to develop these, and refer to a place which has already tried them out. How successful were they in this place ? Why do you think they would work in King's Lynn ?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Velib pics...

Thanks to my Flickr contact austinevan for a few more pictures which explain how the VELIB system of bike hire in Paris works (see earlier posts...)
I recommend that you take a look at these pics at home (FLICKR is one of those 'evil' sites which has to be blocked at school of course...)Evan has what he calls a VELIB OBSESSION (and even has a blog with that name - check it out)

Another city where cycling is very popular is Amsterdam.
In the city centre, the cars have to give more priority to other vehicles. Of course that does mean that pedestrians have to be very careful. I had a few near misses when I went there.

How about bicycle taxis as one way of reducing traffic ?

Some useful information by Dara Colwell from SUITE 101

In Holland, cycling is one of the most popular forms of transportation. Nowhere is this more apparent than Amsterdam, where bikes get the green light.

In Holland, bikes are like bread and butter. Practical, efficient, economic (especially when it comes to parking) and often the quickest option getting from A to B, Dutch bikes are valued for function over form—which explains why the average Dutch bike is a battered, rust-laden creature. Cycling is by far the country’s most popular form of transportation. Its16.4 million inhabitants own 17 million bikes (in Amsterdam, that’s 800,000 bikes for 750,000 people) and an estimated 3.4 million people hop on daily for the commute.

Learn to bike like a resident

For bike aficionados or those who’ve always wanted to give urban cycling a spin, Amsterdam, a.k.a. bike capital of the world, is the place to do it. It’s fun, a great way to get around and definitively Dutch. Luckily, in Holland bikes are legally entitled to the right of way—in other words, bikes go first—so all forms of traffic are extra vigilant. But also, a disclaimer: the Dutch ride aggressively and will clank their bells while trying to avoid trams, cars, fellow cyclists, buses, roller-bladers, and probably the most dangerous thing on the road: oblivious, map-reading tourists. The best way to stay upright is to use the designated cycle lanes, observe traffic signals and take it slow. Of course banging your bell loudly, warning others of your imminent approach, doesn’t hurt either. But master the basics, and the city is easy to explore.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Admin Procedures: one for the teachers...

GCSE Geography Pilot 1949

Procedural guidelines for Centres

UNIT 2389

OPTIONAL UNITS 4957 – 4965

(excluding Units 4958 and 4963)

  • Centres should receive an MS1 form and sufficient copies of the Coursework Assessment Grid (GCW742) for each candidate.
  • Should Centres not be in receipt of these items please contact Customer Contact Centre 01223 553998.
  • Centres should receive an MS1 form for each Unit entered and a single copy of the Band Descriptors for each of the Optional Units.
  • A copy of each relevant Band Descriptor grid should be completed for each candidate and used to record the marks awarded for each assessment piece. The Centre number, candidate name and candidate number should also be completed. This acts as a ‘Cover Sheet’ for each of the Optional Units that the candidate has been entered for.
  • Should Centres not be in receipt of these items please contact Customer Contact Centre 01223 553998.
  • Send top copy of MS1 to Cambridge, and second copy to moderator by May 15th 2008. The third copy should be retained by the Centre.
  • Please check very carefully for any arithmetic or transcription errors and note the penalties for incomplete portfolios (Specification page 82).
  • Please note that zero means that work has been submitted but has no geographical value, whereas absent means that the candidate has submitted no work.

  • Send top copy of MS1 to Cambridge, and second copy to moderator by May 15th. The third copy should be retained by the Centre.
  • Please check very carefully for any arithmetic or transcription errors.
  • Please note that zero means that work has been submitted but has no geographical value, whereas absent means that the candidate has submitted no work.

If there are 10 or less candidates entered, then the complete work of all candidates should be sent to the moderator. In all other cases await sample request from moderator on form CW/L1. Send sample to moderator, within three working days. Please include:

· One copy of coursework task / instructions provided for candidates

· TOP TWO copies of Assessment Grid (GCW742) for each sampled candidate. Please annotate this grid to indicate how the marks have been awarded. Centres are advised to complete these grids for each candidate when assessing the portfolio. Should a further sample be required, an annotated grid will once again be requested with each candidate’s portfolio of work

· Completed and signed Centre Authentication Form for Coursework (CCS 160) – one per Centre.

Please ensure that each piece of work within the portfolio is clearly labelled with the

· Centre number

· candidate number

· candidate name.

If there are 10 or less candidates entered, then the complete work of all candidates should be sent to the moderator. In all other cases await sample request from moderator on form CW/L1. Send sample to moderator, within three working days. Please include:

  • An annotated copy of the Band Descriptor grid for each candidate. Please also show the Centre number, candidate name and candidate number.
  • Completed and signed Centre Authentication Form for Coursework (CCS 160) – please note that one is required for each unit entered.

Just in case you didn't get the e-mail from earlier this week...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


This finally arrived in the department today...
Took a bit longer than I'd hoped to get it working tonight, but seems to work fine and good quality. Did my first bit of mixing and fading and adding music to voice podcast with some multi-track stuff....
Watch out for some new Pilot GCSE podcasts when I get a moment...

Year 10 Coursework Mark Scheme

This is what I will use to mark your poster and written work....
Does your work match these requirements ?
If not, you need to adapt it / add / remove anything that is needed....

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

And here is the cover sheet which we shall put onto the work...




TASK A: Concept map of Environmental Change on Svalbard

TASK B: Global Warming on Svalbard

Futures: possible ideas in the context of Svalbard

Applying understanding to particular context of Svalbard

Expressing personal views of the issue which is being explored

Basic – one option

1 mark

Lacks confidence in applying what they know to Svalbard

1 mark

Limited personal comment

1 mark

Sound – at least two options

2 marks

Can apply what they know to Svalbard

2 marks


own views

2 marks

Detailed – more than 2 options, and options compared

3 marks

Shows the way in which Svalbard is linked to other places

3 marks

Complex and linked views

3 marks

Total (12)


There is also an ICT section to add:

Using ICT for clarity in presentation and to aid analysis

ICT used for presentation only

1 mark

ICT to support analysis and presentation

2 marks

ICT used appropriately and sources quoted

3 marks

Here are some possible websites to get you started on the Global Warming task: - some images from Greenpeace showing coastal retreat - note that these are copyright images. You should always check whether you have permission to use images and ideas...

In August 2002, Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior travelled to Svalbard to study glacier's decline.

Greenpeace took photos of Blomstrandbreen, a glacier in the King's Bay area (Kongsfjorden) to illustrate a retreat of the glacier of approximately 2 km in the past 80 years.

The glacier was connected to the peninsula Blomstrandhalvøya (halvøya means peninsula) until 1992 but now there is a passage of nearly 1km between Blomstrandhalvøya, which is now an island, and the glacier's front

Since 1960, the average retreat of that glacier has been about 35 m a year, accelerating in the last ten years. Greenpeace says other glaciers in the area are showing an overall retreat.

British Aisles

A nice headline for an article in G2 today.
The article is about British food being exported to other places. Useful for "My Place" and the Cultural aspects of the UK. It looks at products such as tea, beer, breakfast cereal (including my favourite Dorset cereals), and chocolate.
For example, we export Indian food to India...
One particular success story here is the firm Patak's.They also have a very useful website which would be a useful stop off for those studying India.
It has a section looking at the INTERNATIONAL nature of the company: it now exports to over 40 countries around the world.
There is a website aimed at KS2 called JOURNEY THROUGH INDIA.
This might also be appropriate for KS3 students.

Patak's products include Indian cooking sauces, curry pastes, chutney, pickles, ready meals, snacks and breads. It uses distributors to sell in more than 40 countries worldwide, from Australia to Canada. As well as selling through major retailers, it also manufactures own-brand products for supermarkets including Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Morrisons. Patak's employs some 650 staff, just over half at its factory near Wigan.

The company was started in 1957 by Kirit Pathak's father Laxmishanker shortly after arriving in England from Kenya with just five pounds in his pocket - he dropped the "h" from the company name to make it easier to pronounce. Spotting the need for Indian food in London, he started producing samosas in a tiny kitchen in north London. Kirit began making deliveries aged just six and joined the business full-time when he was 17.

Could be a good industry start-up case study too...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Crumbs of comfort..

Below is a picture taken of Captain Scott's Antarctic Party. Between November 1911 and March 1912 the sledging party made its way to the South Pole, and then tragically failed to make it back to a supply cache of food.Those doing Antarctica as their extreme environment will probably have referred to the extreme nature of the climate in that year, and the preparations that Scott made. They will also have compared the equipment and support available to today's visitors to the Polar regions which can make things easier (but not completely remove the risk). The book "The Coldest March" by Susan Solomon has an interesting (I believe the term is 'revisionist') approach which suggests that the temperatures were unseasonably low, which meant that the weight of the sledges was unable to melt the ice beneath the blades, and the men had to drag the sledges expending more energy and slowing their progress.

Scott's diaries were recently put on display in the British library.

The other day in my friendly local supermarket, I came across Huntley and Palmer's Captain Scott's Expedition Biscuits.
These are a replica of the biscuits that Captain Scott used, but the recipe has been changed to replace lard with vegetable oil.
I can report that they are delicious with a crumbly manchego and some grapes...

Year 11 A chance to improve...

Starting in a week or so will be a chance to improve Year 10 coursework, and we will then re-enter the portfolio.
This will be up to you to do the work and take the initiative here...

THIS POST is a reminder of the coursework.
More to come...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Year 11 Coursework Aims

Specially for Michael, here's a link to the COURSEWORK AIMS for Sustainable Transport.