Saturday, 31 March 2007

More USA tornadoes...

Yesterday saw 65 tornadoes "rip" through several US states. The picture below shows what one of the storms did to an electricity pylon in Oklahoma City.

Clicking on the picture will take you to the Newsround website where there are other photographs of some of the tornadoes and the damage they caused.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

The Mystery of Easter Island... what 7RPr have been thinking about in their last couple of lessons.

What do you think of these amazing statues? Find out more about the mysterious Easter Island here or by clicking on the picture...

San Francisco bag ban!

Year 8 did some work earlier in the year on plastic bags, and how they affect the environment, so they will be pleased to know that San Francisco plans to be the first US city to ban bags made from petroleum products.

Lots of other countries, for example, Bangladesh, made this move a while back, and in Ireland there is a 9p tax on each plastic bag. Should we be following suit? Or are the biodegradable/re-useable bags that supermarkets such as the Co-Op are now handing out enough?

Leave a comment and let us know what you think! Do you use supermarket carrier bags? What happens to them?

What's going on here?

This picture is of a site near Swansea, and the story behind it will be of particular interest to Year 11 who've just been looking at South Wales.

What's being built here? Why? By whom? And what effects will it have on the area?

(You should be able to find the answer in the news - check out the BBC website.)

Thanks to GeoBlogs for pointing out the story.

Year 10 Homework - Flooding

Year 10 homework this week is to research an area in the UK that is prone to flooding. Which river(s)? Causes? Effects (don't forget to consider social, political, economic and environmental impacts)? Responses/management?

The picture shows part of one city that has major floods fairly frequently and would be a good example to use - where is it, and which river is this?

Enjoy the holiday - and don't forget to take lots of geographical pictures (especially from Egypt - you know who you are!!).

Monday, 26 March 2007

Geogtastic Photo Competition!

News should be going out in this week's Hallmark of a Geogtastic Photo Competition...

It is open to all SHS students, staff and parents, and all you need to do is take a photo over the holidays with a geographical theme and email it (together with a brief description) or bring it in to school after the holidays on a CD or memory stick. The closing date is Friday 20th April.

So, wherever you are heading, remember to take your camera with you. And don't worry if you're not off to foreign climes... There's plenty of good photography to be had in sunny Derbyshire!

Get snapping!!

Reminder - Young Geographer of the Year

A reminder that you have just over a month to get your entries in for the Young Geographer of the Year competition...

Some fabulous prizes to be won - and all you have to do is come up with a magazine cover (Age 12 and under) or write a magazine article (13-15 years old and 16-18 years old) considering the question "Can recycling save the world?".

You can find full details of the competition from the Geographical website by clicking on the picture, and there are lots of links to get you started on Rob Chambers' blog.

Once you've got your entry together, come and see me to complete an entry form and then we can get them sent off in good time!

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Set the video!!

Year 11 - get your videos set for this essential Easter viewing!

GCSE Bitesize - Geography: Global Issues
28th March 0400-0600

GCSE Bitesize - Geography: Human Geography
29th March 0200-0400

GCSE Bitesize - Geography: Physical Geography
29th March 0400-0600

If you miss them, they're on again at the end of April... (BBC Geography Listings)

Save the planet - stop cows burping!!

Interesting story from the Guardian today... Apparently 4% of greenhouse gas emissions is methane produced by cows - so German scientists have come up with a pill to stop cows burping. Read all about it here! (Thanks Rob for pointing out this story.)

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Was 'The Great Global Warming Swindle' a swindle?!

Many of you watched The Great Global Warming Swindle a couple of weeks ago, and for some of you, it changed opinions about climate change...

Well, just when you thought things couldn't get any more confusing, here is a critique of the programme from the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton... ("Critique" is quite a nice way to put it... the author of the article obviously didn't reckon much to the programme!)

Thanks to Kate Russell for pointing this out.

World Water Day... tomorrow!

Thanks to Alan (GeoBlogs) for the reminder!

Click on the picture to find out more...

A novel twist to travelling the world!

Mr S of the History Dept alerted me to this today...

And delving a little deeper reveals that Matt Harding hasn't just done this once - he's been dancing around the world a few times, and has his own website with tales of his travels... Brilliant!!

5000 visits!

If you visited Geogtastic yesterday, you might well have been the 5000th visitor!!

Thank you to everyone who reads and comments... Keep up the good work! And don't forget to let me know if you spot anything geogtastic that should be on here!

Toyota - Yr 11 Homework

As promised, some links to help you with your research on the Toyota factory at Burnaston...

This article from the BBC is a good one to start you off... (investigate some of the links from the article as well).

The Endon High School website has an excellent summary of the main ideas/key points.

For the historians amongst you, there's almost a timeline here with brief descriptions of how Toyota in the UK has developed over the past ten years.

And of course, the Toyota website - check out the "About Us" section particularly.

Don't forget - although a good starting point, this is not an exhaustive list of sources... Let me know if you find any more information!

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Amongst the geographical stories in the news today - the glass walkway over the Grand Canyon that is set to open next month.

According to this version of events from the LA Times, the walkway is the centrepiece of a "struggling Indian tribe's plan to lure tourists to its remote destination".

Whilst some people are welcoming the development and describing it as an "engineering marvel", others have declared it a "colossal eyesore" and an "horrific blight".

Click here for a video clip from the BBC... What do you think?? And would you pay $25 to test it?!

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Geograph in Google Earth

You will all, by now, be regular visitors (and contributors!) to the brilliant Geograph site which I've written about before. I've just spotted on Noel Jenkins' Digital Geography blog though, that there is a new "layer" for Google Earth which allows you to view the Geograph photos in Google Earth...
You can download the new layer from the Geograph website, or visit Noel's blog and follow the link there.

Get exploring and let us know about all the "I never knew that was there!" places you discover... I've just found this one - which isn't a million miles from where I live... Do you know where it is??

Friday, 16 March 2007

Winter in South Georgia

It's getting cold in South Georgia now - although there are still a couple of brave penguins about...

For those of you who've still not seen the fantastic South Georgia webcam, click on the picture above (or the link to the right) - and check out some of the older posts and compare the pictures!


What is happiness? And what makes you happy?

Those are the two questions we've been thinking about today... Have a look at this bit of the Comic Relief website to find out about some children that Comic Relief has helped... What makes them happy?

There are also lots of games on the site, and a competition to design a Fairtrade computer game and have it made into a real game!

Leave a comment and tell us what you have done for Comic Relief, and what makes you happy!


Thursday, 15 March 2007

Another Millennium Dome?

Just watching a discussion on Question Time about the 2012 Olympics...

According to the London 2012 website, the Games are going to "transform the East End"... A lot of people disagree, and think that the whole project's a complete waste of money - particularly as it was announced today that the cost is going to be far higher than originally anticipated!

Check out today's news story from the BBC and explore the London 2012 website by clicking on the image above.

What do you think? Fantastic opportunity for London and Britain?? Or £9.3 billion down the drain??

Penguins in Africa??

Well, you've seen the penguins in South Georgia... Now you can see them on a sunny beach in South Africa!! Geography teacher David Rogers has posted this fab video on his blog, of the penguins at The Boulders, on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa.

Brought back happy memories from when I visited there - many moons ago in 1999. I've just dug out my photo albums, and here is a picture I took when I was there... The quality isn't great as it's from the "olden days" and I've had to scan it. More of my South Africa photos might follow!

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

The Final Frontier

The explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, set off before dawn this morning on his toughest mission yet...

Where is he, and what is he trying to do?

What difficulties do you think he might face along the way?

Would you fancy joining him?!

Monday, 12 March 2007


Thanks to "virtual colleague" GeoDave for pointing out this superb video!

What do you think??

Storm damage...

You will remember the storms we had back in January... Well, I've just had an email from someone who "randomly stumbled" on Geogtastic, and he has pointed out the rather scary video below, showing the roof of the Holiday Inn blowing off and causing damage to the Walker Stadium next door. Which led me to find another article from the BBC about the damage caused around the East Midlands from these storms.

Thanks Mac!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Year 11 Homework - Part One

The first part of your homework this week is to play Who wants to be a farmer? and then leave a comment here to tell us how you got on...

...which is hopefully better than I did!! I started off pretty well and the first few years went ok... But it went downhill from year 7, and I finished with a management rating of 49/100 and a bank balance of -£19160.33 - oops!! My poor management skills were not helped by the fact that I had a flood and my tractor broke twice though.

Make sure that you read the information carefully - have a look at the Help sections before you make your decisions. Then let us know what your management score was, what your final bank balance was, and a bit about the factors that helped or hindered your progress.

Don't forget to put your first name or initials on your comment. Have fun!

Weather Pixie!

I've just spotted the fantastic little "Weather Pixie" on Val Vannet's blog (thanks Val!) and thought Geogtastic ought to have one too... Ours is a Weather Geisha, and her outfit will change as the weather at East Midlands Airport changes (apparently!).

At the moment, she's telling us that there are south/south-westerly winds, blowing at 6.2 metres per second, the temperature's 13oC.

Keep an eye on her and see what happens!!

£90 million needed for East Yorkshire sea defences

Just spotted this report in the Yorkshire Post about the need for £90 million to be spent on sea defences to protect towns along the East Coast of Yorkshire. This stretch of coastline is the fastest eroding coastline in W. Europe - at a rate of more than 2m per year in places.

Year 10, 11 and 13 know all about this already, but for those who don't... Much of this stretch of coastline is made of boulder clay, which is softer - and therefore less resistant to erosion - than coastlines elsewhere. This means that homes and livelihoods that have been built on the cliffs are at risk of falling into the sea - and many have already done so.

Sea defences are controversial, because they are expensive to construct and maintain, they are not particularly attractive, and it is often said that they might solve the problem in one place, but make things much worse further along the coastline.

There is another article from the Yorkshire Post here, and clicking on the image above will take you to a gallery of some rather alarming photos that have been sent in by readers.

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Problems with comments...

Unfortunately, there seems to be a problem with comments at the moment... Apparently there are two waiting to be moderated - but I'm not allowed to look at them... And one that I've just published (FH - hope the trial went well!!) doesn't seem to have appeared.

So, big apologies to those who've posted comments that have vanished into the ether.

Please keep posting comments - some are coming through. Make sure that you add them to the post you're talking about (not only is this much more logical, it makes it easier for me to check whether they're showing up or not) - and leave your first name or initials and your form.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Opulent weddings...

What connects Liz Hurley and Chand Devi Makwana?

And why are they both in a news story from the BBC today?

Congratulations Year 11!!

The results from the coursework and DME units arrived today... And my group did fantastically well - I am very proud of you all!!

Congratulations - and get revising now so we can have lots of As and A*s in summer!!

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

The Great Global Warming Swindle

The latest twist in the global warming/climate change tale is that it is all a conspiracy, and scientists are lying when they say that our carbon dioxide emissions are to blame...

So says the documentary to be shown on Channel 4 on Thursday (8th March) at 9pm, anyway!

A quick search for "The Great Global Warming Swindle" will provide you with more opinions on the matter than you'll know what to do with...

However, I'll be interested to hear what you have to say when you have watched the programme on Thursday...

Indonesian Earthquake...

Many of you will have heard on the news that there has been another earthquake in Indonesia today. The earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale, struck Padang - on the island of Sumatra (shown on the map below) - at 1049 local time, and it is estimated that up to 100 people were killed.

The BBC site has coverage of the story here and some eyewitness accounts as well as information about how earthquakes occur, and a history of major earthquakes around the world.

Monday, 5 March 2007

A Rather Blustery Day...

It sounds like it is a bit wild and windy outside...

Year 11 (and others!) should be able to explain why - look at the satellite image below to help you out!

If you click on the satellite image, it will take you to the Met Office website, where you will be able to look at other satellite images and pressure charts, as well as a wide variety of other weather-related bits and pieces!

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Sim Sweatshop

Earlier in the year, Yr9 had a look at "sweatshops" - the factories in LEDCs where workers are paid very badly and worked very hard, often in pretty grim conditions - usually producing garments for big multinational companies like Nike and Adidas.

Lots of geography teachers are blogging about Sim Sweatshop at the moment, and I've finally got round to having a look at it this evening... The game gives you a bit of an insight into the hardships that these sweatshop workers face on a daily basis, and if you click on "What's the Story?" there is lots of information about sweatshops, why they exist, the companies that use them, and what can be done about them.

The picture below will take you to the game, where you are a worker in one of these sweatshops - making sports shoes. If you work hard all day (12 hours), you will be paid your full wage of $6.05. Making mistakes will cost you dear.

Total Eclipse of the Moon - Part 2

Lovely clear skies last night meant that the lunar eclipse was quite impressive - though more of a pale orange colour than the red I was expecting...

I was hoping to post some of my fabulous photographs... But they're not very fabulous! So you'll have to make do with the ones that have been sent into the BBC website - an example is below, and if you click on it, you'll be able to look at the others.

Did you watch the eclipse? What did you think? And if you managed to take some pictures, send them to Geogtastic!

Friday, 2 March 2007

Yesterday's volcanic eruption...

Interestingly, it was my Year 8s today who could tell me all about the eruption of Stromboli - both Yr9 groups (who are studying Natural Hazards at the moment) claimed not to have heard of Stromboli!

Check out the BBC coverage here, or have a look at the webcams on this site (actually, I don't know how good they are - it's dark in Italy at the moment!!)

Total Eclipse of the Moon!

Make sure you are wrapped up warm and outside looking at the sky tomorrow evening... There will be a total eclipse of the moon - and it is set to be the "best in years" according to the BBC website...

At "totality", the moon will be in the earth's shadow, and so only sunlight that has been filtered through the earth's atmosphere will reach the moon - making the moon appear reddish in colour.

This particular eclipse will be unusal, because it will be at least partly visible from every continent.

Click on the picture to find out more... And don't forget to post a comment telling us what you saw! If you manage to take any pictures, you can email them to


It seems we have quite a few newcomers of late - notably 7PBr... (But also someone from Hawaii and someone from Chile, according to the ClustrMap at the bottom of the page!) Welcome to you all - I hope you find lots to interest you!

A few people have asked recently how to leave comments... If you look at the bottom of each post, you will see how many comments have been left for that post. If you click there, it will take you to a page where you can add your own comment.

Things are set up so that you don't need to have an account or be registered to leave a comment - just type what you want to say, add your first name or initials and your form, and click "Publish your comment". Don't be alarmed when it doesn't appear straight away - they come to me first so I can make sure no-one writes anything they shouldn't!

Don't forget to check out the Young Geographer of the Year competition, and if you find any Geogtastic stories/websites/etc that I haven't mentioned, let me know!

Thursday, 1 March 2007


My Yr 7 group were very interested to look at some population clocks today... (Type population clocks into a search engine - there are lots to look at! Compare some - are they all the same? Why or why not?)

The Worldometers site has a population clock, as well as a wide variety of other statistical counters...

Volcanic eruption... But where is it?

The image above shows lava plunging into the sea earlier today, and residents of the small volcanic island have been warned of the tsunami risk... But where is it? Leave a comment if you think you know... (Clue, this picture came from the BBC website.)