Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Yr10 and 11 - Revision Podcasts??

I posted the other day about some new revision podcasts from the BBC...

Noel Jenkins is one of the people behind the new resources, and would like to know what you think...

If you are a Yr10 or 11 student, click on the link below and complete the short survey...

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?

This is what Yr13 will be thinking about over the next few lessons and they (and anyone else) can explore the issue in more detail with Google Earth...

If you click on the picture below, it will take you to the site of the Sierra Club (an environmental group) where you can download a Google Earth tour of the region, together with images, video, and some important questions to consider. BE WARNED THOUGH... "The Whole Enchilada" is a very very big file... Although it didn't take very long to download, it made my computer (which isn't top of the range and modern, but isn't that old...) run very slowly - it might be wise to download the individual files.

(Don't forget - people put things on the internet for lots of different reasons... what you see on the Sierra Club site might not be the whole story!)

Green TV

Green TV is a site linked with the United Nations Environment Programme and Greenpeace, and has some excellent short films on a wide range of environmental issues...

Year 13 will be watching one of them tomorrow ("Oil on Ice") - about whether the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska should be opened up for oil drilling, and there are a number of Fairtrade ones that we might having running during our tasting sessions on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes!

There is a variety of others that Yr13 should be having a look at as well - "Return to the Southern Ocean" and "Pole to Pole" are two that I've spotted... Have a look and leave a comment if you find any others that will link well to the Cold Environments work.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

Blogging your homework?

This poll is primarily for 8DLe who are doing their homework via the blog this week, but I'd be interested in anyone else's views as well.

Cast your vote below, and leave a comment to tell me what you think!

(My current thoughts are that it seems to be working quite well!)

Saturday, 24 February 2007

An interesting "earthweek"...

Find out more about where the hottest and coldest temperatures were recorded this week... earthquakes in Japan, Greece, Turkey, Indonesia, the USA and New Zealand... volcanic eruptions in Columbia and Burma... El Nino storms in Peru and Bolivia... cyclones in the Indian Ocean... intoxicated deer in the Czech Republic... and "space junk" in Australia...

Revision Podcasts

BBC Bitesize now have a range of Geography podcasts that you can download and listen to on the bus to help with your revision... Then when you've listened to those, how about making your own for some of the topics that aren't covered?

Click on the picture to go to the site and get downloading!

Leave a comment and let us know what you think... Are they useful? Could they be improved? Is this a good way to revise?

Friday, 23 February 2007

Fairtrade Fortnight is almost here!

26th February to 11th March is Fairtrade Fortnight, and 8NSq have been working hard to plan some events to help you learn more about Fairtrade...

Tutor time quiz - these will be appearing in register folders early next week - show us how much you know about Fairtrade, and win some prizes!

Tasting Sessions - lunchtimes on 1st and 2nd March in H5... Come and find out how nice Fairtrade products are!

Fairtrade Treasure Hunt - open to teams of upto four students in Yr7 and 8... lunchtime on 8th March...

Fairtrade Raffle - buy some tickets and win some fab Fairtrade goodies!

Look out for the posters and notices in registers for more details... learn more, join in, help farmers around the world to improve their lives, and spread the word!

Big Deal!

Thanks to Mrs K for pointing out this excellent site from Cafod - loads of information on a variety of development issues such as Fairtrade, Debt, HIV/AIDs, Conflict and the Environment, and you can also find out more about Cafod and the work that they do...

Useful for RE and Citizenship as well as Geography...

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Barcode Yourself - Round 2!


You need to:
- visit the site below (click on the picture)
- type in your details, barcode yourself and scan your barcode - make a note of how much you're worth!
- try a couple of variations - different age, different gender, same person but living in a different country - make a note of how much you would be worth...
- come back to the blog, and leave a comment, making sure that you include your first name, or your initials.

If you have problems, or can't find a computer to use, come and see me!

Google Earth

Google Earth has been about for quite a while now, so most of you will have seen it, I think... But Year 8 were asking about it today so...

You can download it here - Google Earth. In order for it to work, you will need a decent internet connection and a decent graphics card (I don't know much about this, but computer whizzes can check out the technical details here!)

Hours of fun can be had just flying about, but if you want to go on a sightseeing trip, have a look at Google Sightseeing.

Typing Google Earth into a search engine will come up with lots of links to blogs and forums (fora?) where you will be able to find a multitude of tips and ideas, as well as being able to download tours (for example, you can go on a tour of the Da Vinci Code locations...) and various overlays (earth at night, and active volcanoes are good ones!).

Have fun and let us know if you find anything interesting on your travels!


While we're on the topic of cold places...

Time is running out to get your entries in for the Ice Edge competition to win a trip to the Arctic! All you need to do is get a team of 2 -4 people together, and come up with an idea to save the planet... Click on the logo to find out more from the website, or come and see me in H5.

Young Geographer of the Year...
also has an environmental theme... Some great prizes up for grabs here as well... Scroll down to the post from 11th February to find out more. Rob Chambers has some useful links on his blog to help you get started...

Ordnance Survey World Map Competition
The Ordnance Survey are running a competition for students to design a world map with a theme... More details tomorrow...

What's life like at -46oC?

That's the current temperature in Oymyakon in Russia, which is the coldest inhabited place on earth...

Year 13 have been reading today about geographer Nick Middleton's journey to Oymyakon, which was part of a project to visit the hottest, coldest, wettest and driest places on earth. He's written about his adventures in an excellent book called Going to Extremes.

Whilst I was looking for information about the weather at the moment in Oymyakon, I found this interview with Nick, from the National Geographic...

The Oymyakon Project's website is also an interesting read, with some great pictures... Including this one - of Oymyakon's airport!

How would you fancy living in a climate like this? What problems would you have to overcome? What advantages of living in a (very) cold climate can you think of? Leave a comment...

Monday, 19 February 2007

The village that got too old...

Thanks to Tony Cassidy for highlighting this story from the BBC about Ogama - a village in Japan that doesn't feature on any maps because it's too small... there are just eight residents!

Click on the picture to go to the BBC website and listen to the documentary which considers what Japan can do to stop its rural communities from disappearing altogether...

Particularly useful for Yr11, but an interesting listen for everyone else as well!

Friday, 16 February 2007

More Montserrat activity...

I posted back in January about the Soufriere Hills volcano on Montserrat... Although activity died down for a while, there have been lots of earthquakes, rockfalls and pyroclastic flows in the past couple of weeks, and according to the "Recent Activity" section of the MVO website, there was "bright glowing on the East and North of the dome" on 14th February, and the Alert Level remains at 4 (the second highest).

(Still not found a webcam though...)

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Disappearing Welsh coastlines...

The National Trust have released a report today highlighting 66 coastal sites that they own and manage in Wales which are at risk of flooding in the next 100 years.

Those of you who fancy a bit of bed-time reading can click on the picture to download a pdf of the report (in Welsh as well as English... so you can practise your language skills!).

Get reading Yr10, 11 and 13!!

You can also find the BBC coverage of the story, together with a video clip and some readers' comments here.

Wifeless future for Chinese men...

Yet another article from the BBC today (thanks Rob) about the problems China is facing as a result of the One Child Policy...

By the time these children - in a school where, according to the headteacher, one class has 39 boys and only 8 girls - are thinking about settling down, there may be 30 million men of marriageable age who will not be able to find a wife...

Click on the picture for the full story from the BBC. What do you think are the possible solutions? Is there anything China can do?

Monday, 12 February 2007

Have you ever seen one of these?

I hadn't, until yesterday... But there are lots of them around Derbyshire!

See what you can find out about them... And if you can tell me how they got their name (which I'll let you find out for yourself!), I'll be very impressed, because after a very long internet search, I still don't know...

Sunday, 11 February 2007

CAN recycling save the world? What do YOU think?

Cast your vote below...

And if you think it's a waste of time, what should we be doing instead? Or should we just stop worrying? Leave a comment and let us know!

Can recycling save the world?

That's the question you need to try and answer if you want to be in with a chance of being Young Geographer of the Year 2007!

There are some fantastic prizes up for grabs - including an Amazon expedition and working with elephants in Namibia - in the annual competition run by the RGS-IBG.

There are three entry categories - Senior Geographers (16-18 years old) and Young Geographers (13-15 years old) are asked to write a magazine article entitled "Can recycling save the world?", while the challenge for Junior Geographers (12 years and under) is to design an "exciting magazine cover" with the same theme...

You have until the 30th April to get your entries in, so click on the picture for more information about the competition, get your thinking caps on, and then come and tell me all your fab ideas when we get back to school!

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

What's he up to??

Just spotted this man on the beach on the South Georgia webcam...

He's gone now, but left something on the beach...

What do you think he's doing, and what is it that he's left?

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Would you drink this?

This is what the nearest water supply for many people in developing countries looks like...
Yr8 had some interesting discussions this afternoon about some of the problems that a lack of clean water and sanitation can cause, and some of the conflicts that arise as a result.
The videos that I was trying to show Yr8 but that wouldn't work at school are here on the WaterAid website... Worth a look around the rest of the site as well, with various games to play...


Fancy yourself as a bit of a Steven Spielberg??

Then check out GeogDocs.

This is a new project from geography teacher Adam Lawson, who is behind many of the great movies you've seen in lessons of late (Sticky does Settlement Factors, Yr10? Montserrat, Yr9?) - and this time it's you lot making the movies!

I haven't had time to investigate properly yet, but it sounds like a great idea, and as a lot of you are already MovieMaker whizzes, I look forward to seeing some of your work on the site soon!

Look out for more information when I've had chance to explore further...

Monday, 5 February 2007

Wind turbines for Pride Park?

Those of you who've seen today's Derby Evening Telegraph will know all about the proposals to install upto 10 wind turbines - 400ft high - at Pride Park Business Park, at an estimated cost of £1.7m each!

Click here to go to the full story, where there are also some interesting reader comments about the plans for the turbines (which, apparently, would be "an iconic symbol of how Derby is a forward-thinking city... hmmm....).
"Nobody can claim Pride Park is beautiful... I'm in support of well-sited wind turbines."
"I'm all for it - excellent idea!"
"... a much better place to put them than the Peak District..."
"I know Pride Park's not exactly an area of architectural or historical significance, but that's no reason to put wind turbines all over it..."
Good idea? Or do you think that they should be "stuck out of the way on the moors of the Peak District"? Or are they a daft idea altogether??

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Britain's Worst Weather

Just finished watching Britain's Worst Weather on Channel 4 (what better way to spend a Saturday night?!).

The programme, which looked at flooding in Boscastle, Lynmouth and Carlisle amongst other places, as well as considering whether the ongoing developments along the Thames (including the Olympic site in Stratford) are wise, was excellent - not least because it was presented by a GEOGRAPHER (Dr Nick Middleton from the University of Oxford)!

It was the first of a series of 4 programmes - the other 3 are Lightning, Storms and Snow - well worth watching, if tonight's was anything to go by!

More information about the programmes, Nick Middleton and weather in Britain on the Channel 4 website.

GCSE Revision

As I know my Yr10 group will be busily revising all weekend for the exam on Thursday, here are a few sites to help you out. Also useful for you conscientious Yr11s who've recently had your mock exam results back....

GCSE Bitesize and S-Cool both have revision notes and questions so you can test yourself...

Alan Parkinson's GeographyPages has a good revision section.

Rob Chambers' school website, GeoBytes, has loads of revision bits and pieces and Rob is also blogging for his GCSE students: GCSEGeoBytes.

And don't forget about SAM Learning.

Let me know if you find any other useful sites by leaving a comment or emailing Don't forget though, that - assuming you've been completing classwork and homework thoroughly - your exercise book is the best place to revise from...

Tips and things to remember:
- make sure you know your case studies, and make sure you know where they are! Check your maps that you should have been labelling as we've mentioned new places...

- maps... if your map skills are a bit shaky, get practising - be sure that you can read/give 6-figure grid references and that you know your east from west!

- them proper words that geography people use... otherwise known as geographical terminology! Get revising those geographical terms - and use them!

- I've just been reading Noel Jenkins' blog for his students, and amongst the many useful and interesting things on there, I noticed this post about Levels Marking at GCSE. This is something I've struggled to explain clearly to you in the past so if you're still confused, get over to Noel's blog and read about it!

Hazard Watch

The people behind HEWS (Humanitarian Early Warning Service) describe it as "a global multi-hazard watch service to support humanitarian preparedness".

They collect hazard early warning information from across the globe to allow for efficient planning and decision-making. As a result, there are loads of interesting maps (and did you know there'd been a 5.5 earthquake in Chile this morning?), and links to a range of sites, for example the USGS.

Well worth checking out, especially for Yr9 who are "doing" Natural Hazards at the moment...

Thanks to Ollie Bray for highlighting the site on his blog, and to Rob Chambers for pointing it out to me as well.

Florida tornadoes

At least 19 people were killed by a series of tornadoes in Florida yesterday. Hundreds of homes were damaged, and more than 10,000 people were left without power, according to the BBC. The picture will take you to the full story, where there is also a Guide to Tornadoes, explaining how they form.

How do you make mud tired?

Indonesian scientists think they know the answer to that one...

They are planning to drop 1000 metal chains, each with 4 concrete balls attached into a "mud volcano" on the island of Java. It has been leaking hot mud and gas since May last year, and could continue for years to come if something is not done. The idea is that the mud will flow around the concrete balls and lose energy, thereby stopping the flow...

Other scientists are sceptical...

Click on the picture, read the full story, and leave a comment to let us know what you think... Ingenious idea? Or a bit daft? What would you do?

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Music Mapping....

Excellent music site with what could be described as quite a wide variety of tunes! And maps into the bargain! Mr H-Team is addicted already!

Norwegian cruise ship grounded in Antarctic...

Passengers from the Nordkapp - a Norwegian cruise ship that ran aground near Deception Island in the South Shetlands yesterday - have been rescued and are on their way to Ushuaia in Argentina. Fortunately, it seems that on this occasion, no-one was injured and there hasn't been any environmental damage. Conservation organisations are concerned though, that this is a warning of what could happen in the future... With only 280 passengers, the Nordkapp is a relatively small ship, compared to others that visit - the consequences could be very serious if a similar thing were to happen with a bigger ship...

Click on the picture for the full story...

Fab Fairtrade Photos!

Dan Raven-Ellison - geography teacher extraordinaire from Reading - has put together this excellent "virtual transect" of a cocoa farm in Ghana. The farm is one of many that sells beans to Kuapa Kokoo - the co-operative that supplies Divine and Dubble Chocolate (ask my Yr8s about these... or better still, go buy some and try it for yourself!). Thanks Dan!

"The World as you've never seen it before!"

Below is the map that this morning's Yr 8 lesson started with... What do you think it shows?

This, and hundreds of other maps, are part of a fascinating project called Worldmapper... The maps, or cartograms, show 200 world territories, re-sized according to different variables.

The one below shows toy exports!

Click on the map to explore the Worldmapper site... Leave a comment and let us know about your interesting finds!