Geogteacher's Blog

finding, writing and sharing Geography resources

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Water Aid: toilets and GCSE Geography

What a great charity Water aid is. I love teaching about them and what they do. Pupils gain knowledge of what other people lack, what other people need to break the poverty trap and gain dignity and also a sense of both connection across the globe and a sense of gratitude for what they themselves have.

If you don’t know Water Aid this is a good introduction to what they do.


But what I really like to use in class is the video below. It teaches about so many strands of Geography, whatever syllabus you might teach or learn. When we use it we use it as an example of long term aid in a LEDC or LIC (less economically developed country or Lower income country). It is set in Nepal and tells of one woman’s determination to get her family a toilet in their house. Something all my pupils take for granted.

We give them these instructions: (The whole lesson including the one before on emergency aid is laid out on this powerpoint if you want to look at that too Aid lessons Nepal

In the center of a double page in your book with the title in the centre. Add in the three main actions that Water Aid has taken

1.Employing local people

2.Construction of toilet

3.Education of sanitation and hygiene

As you are watching the video make a note of the impacts. AFTER you have watched you will add these onto the correct areas of your spider diagram. Categorise these into SEE. Explain how each of the actions is sustainable in a paragraph in your book.

But what I most like about this is what I learnt from this is how it is people’s dignity that matters so much. I have never given that enough time in my lessons. Now I certainly do.


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Tragedy of the Commons

Sometimes things just fall into place. And a lesson on this topic seems to be a case in point. I have seen this phrase a few times on line in the last couple of months and not known what it meant. Then I was sent a link to a TED-Ed page and one of their videos. This is an excellent resource and not just for geography either. I used it in a tutor time and my Year 10s were made to think and reflect. While this was happening, an English teacher visited us and she enthusiastically noted how these themes also fitted in very nicely with “An Inspector Calls” which they are studying for GCSE!

TED-Ed supply some excellent ideas for making a lesson out of this video as well.

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Fly Like an Eagle


This beautiful footage is of a white tailed eagle is from over the Orkney islands.


It made me think.

  1. How many coastal features can you see?
  2. Are the features mainly caused by erosion or deposition?
  3. You can see a wave cut platform quite a few times in the clip. What used to be on top of the present day wave cut platform and how was it formed?
  4. A block of the coast seems to have partly, or maybe even wholly, separated from the rest (look at the clip between 00:10 to 00:20 and again between 02:10 and 02:55. How has this happened? what coastal processes do you think caused this block to come away from the mainland and what evidence in the clip could you use to back up your theory? can you see evidence for in the clip?

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Somerset Floods

somerset levels flood

1/ Why is this bridge vulnerable to flooding?2/ What is a culvert and how could it help at this location?

The Somerset levels flooded badly in 2013. you need to know about

  • Why did they flood? (not really covered in this article)
  • Who was affected and
  • What have people done to try and lessen the impacts for next time it happen?


Here is a video about the floods: What are the social and economic effects of the flood in the short term?


Read this BBC article

It says near the start of the article that:

The project involves widening the River Sowy as well as de-silting and raising banks along the King Sedgemoor’s Drain.

Task: There are 3 hard engineering strategies mentioned in the sentence. Describe how each of these helps stop a river from flooding

One of the people in charge of rivers in Somerset (now there’s a job for a geographer) said this

“You could potentially see massive benefits and massive reductions in the amount of floodwaters that are retained on the fields and villages of Somerset.”

Task Why is having less water retained on the fields and villages a good thing for the people and economy of Somerset? Think of chains of reasoning and knock on effects for this answer

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Help for parents of year 11 pupils


These are the notes from our brief meeting on 10/10/17. They contain links and main points. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

How you can help your daughter get a better grade in her Geography GCSE

WJEC Syllabus B facts – 3 exams:

  1. Normal
  2. Decision making exam
  3. Exam based on fieldwork (Studland last year & Salisbury next week)

 The bad news:

1/ Ask the exam board if they can tell you what a grade 4, 5 8, 9 they will say “Sorry but we can’t”

2/ So I can’t in all honesty tell you what your daughter needs to get a certain grade

The good news

I can tell you what your daughter needs to do to improve her work in geography and therefore get a higher grade than the one she is working at the moment.

  • Read your daughter’s exercise book and test her. Testing aids recall and good recall helps long term memory and understanding.
  • Every 3 weeks or so we will do some DIRT (dedicated improvement and reflection time). This is where we improve answers correct misunderstanding and generally make the learning we have done so far better. Ask your daughter what she did in these lessons (look for yellow boxes in her book)
  • Follow @stedsgeography and sign up for email notifications to (click on ‘follow’ in the bottom right and enter your email address)
  • You could buy a text book but at £24 paperback or £11 kindle I wouldn’t say that was good value.
  • There is a revision book due out. The publication date keeps slipping. Today it is promised on 24/11/17. If this is good we will let you know. Price is £9
  • or


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Sydney: A global city trying to solve its transport problems


Sydney is a global city. It is located in Australia which is a HIC (High Income Country)At St Edmund’s we also studied Mumbai (in India, an LIC) as an example of a global city. Watch this one minute video to improve your understanding of what people are trying to do to improve the transport in Sydney CBD.

Now answer these questions:

  • What is the name of the busiest train station in Sydney?
  • What is the increase in the number of commuters using this train station?
  • Write a list of the improvements that are being made as part of Central Walk. For each one ask yourself “So what? So What is the advantage for transport in Sydney. (An example: the central walk is underground SO this means pedestrians can move quickly and more safely between stations. Also traffic above ground is less delayed.)
  • Finally how are Sydney’s transport problems and solutions similar and different to Mumbai’s? (read another post from the blog to help you answer this. Click here)

There is also an article on the same subject from the Sydney Morning herald – Link here 


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Tawai: New Bruce Parry Film


If you have been to a geography lesson at St Edmund’s school over the last few years, chances are you will have seen a clip from ‘Tribe’ or ‘Amazon’. We love Bruce Parry for getting to the heart of a place and its people and letting us see them with so few veils in the way. I can therefore categorically pronounce that I will be seeing this new feature length documentary as soon as I can (though it may not make it to Salisbury cinema alas)

The Time Out review makes it look even more interesting