New Year, new shirt...

I am guessing that there will be a lot of geographers who will be wearing these shirts by the middle of 2016. They feature very detailed maps of cities around the world.
Originally the result of a Kickstarter project, they are created by Alex Szabo-Haslam who is apparently based in Sheffield.

They use Open Street Map data, which Alex than takes to create the final map, showing the 'framework' of the cities.

Each shirt is made by hand on American Apparel t-shirts using a sublimation printing process, which means the design is not a transfer which could fade or be damaged by ironing.

You can now obtain the shirts from the CITEE shirts website. There is a large range of cities available worldwide (40 at the time of writing)

I was tempted to get Sheffield, which is where I used to work at the Geographical Association, and is the nearest city to my place of birth, but in the end went for my adopted home city of Norwich.

Shirts cost £28, and there is no charge for postage and packing in the UK. The site accepts PayPal, which is always a bonus….

You'll see me wearing mine at the GA Conference in April, GI Forum in Salzburg in July and (probably) TedXNorwich and other events...

Thought for the Day

Via Joseph Kerski

A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colours show the realisation of great dreams.

Gilbert H Grosvenor (first editor of National Geographic magazine)

I was presented with this medal in 2013, linked to a later Gilbert Grosvenor (who was also editor of National Geographic magazine) - but I don't like to mention it...

Earth 2045

This popped into my Twitter feed between Christmas and New Year.
It's an interactive film which has two films side by side and a swipe between them.

Available in Swedish or English and made by SPP: to encourage people to save sustainably.

The theme of the film is to make sustainable choices. It presents two alternative realities of the future based on decisions that we make today. The images are cleverly merged and invite you to swipe during the film, which also results in changes the ambient sounds.
This didn't work for me on Google Chrome on my Mac, but worked on other browsers.

This is the sort of thing that I really like…
Also fits well with the piece I wrote for the LondonMapper project on a future London….

An unprecedented blogpost...

I never blog over the Christmas and New Year period…

Except for this blog post, which is unprecedented….
Except for that time when I blogged about the S.E Asian tsunami…. and that other time…

What does unprecedented mean?

It's been used quite a few times over the last few days to refer to the rainfall, and seems to be being used as some sort of 'excuse' for the extent of the flooding that has hit Cumbria, Carlisle, and then Leeds, Lancashire and West Yorkshire including Mytholmroyd, and the surrounding area, and now across into York, Selby and Tadcaster. Flood defences have been overwhelmed and a lot of buildings have been inundated, businesses are threatened, and people's homes and possessions have been ruined, in some cases several times, and for many for the first time in living memory. Many of these people didn't have sufficient insurance, and are going to have real trouble getting it now.

Over the last week or so, heavy rainfall has hit the NW and now further east, as several storms have passed through, with Frank due to arrive later today. The rainfall totals are far in excess of seasonal averages, with Shap and Capel Curig amongst places that are being reported as having very high rainfall totals.
My family all live in York, and my dad went into the city centre yesterday to check on the flooding, which has changed the city's mood completely - yesterday there was no internet or phones for some people, and shops were accepting cash only as card payments weren't possible. The city has been flooded before... is it the worst that it has ever been in the city? Is it really unprecedented? Certainly there are more houses and other buildings close to the river channels than ever, and many of these were seen in aerial photographs of the affected areas. There was also the collapse of an important bridge in Tadcaster, and many rivers in North Yorkshire had record levels of flow (or at least since their discharge was recorded)

Weather is making the news around the world too:
- a deadly swathe of tornadoes in the southern states of the USA
- record levels of water in the Mississippi, which is normally at low levels because the rivers further north are frozen
- huge snowdrifts in Texas...
- over 150 000 affected by flooding in S. America in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay.
- 'record' warm temperatures in the Arctic
and many more...
- a record El Nino event...

This Guardian editorial provided a useful context… as did quite a few of the articles in yesterday's paper, and on the website, including an excellent article from the streets of York itself.

Guardian Editorial – 27th December 2015
The peculiar destructiveness of modern floods arises from complex causes acting over long periods. They are not just a product of unprecedented rainfall, but of well-established patterns of land use and river management. All too often these have been greedy, arrogant, and short-termist: changing them will require co-ordinated efforts, maintained over decades. The way in which the floods have recurred over the past decade does not make for optimism

So is what is happening now truly unprecedented? Or is unprecedented starting to be the new 'normal'?

York is a medieval city which has several rivers running through it, and no doubt has flooded many times before, even worse than the previous 'worst ever floods' in 2000 probably. There have been several tweets which seem to show that that the rivers are really 'reclaiming' areas that used to be watercourses and pools in medieval times. This mirrors something that I used to talk about when I worked for the GA, following the flooding that hit Sheffield and Hull in 2007. "They're called floodplains because they flood" was a quote by Philip Eden on one of the first slides in the presentation, and in the paper yesterday (and today's Independent) it appears that around 10 000 homes a year are still built in flood plains. Indeed, George Monbiot has written about the inevitability of the flooding given the way that upland areas are managed. I also talked in my GA lectures about the changes to insurance coverage that took place.

A few other links I noticed:
The Guardian's editorial:

We will have to make difficult decisions on what can be saved and what must be sacrificed to rising waters, unreliable coastlines and dangerously high rivers. Not all property, not every house, but surely every person can be made safe in this new, warmer time. (That is more than can be said for poorer parts of the world.)

And finally, I've been curating a Pinterest board… no doubt there are some Flipboard magazines out there too...

Follow GeoBlogs's board UK Flooding incl. Dec 2015 on Pinterest.

Don't forget you can also now follow all the main EA river gauges on Twitter via GaugeMap website. These have been followed and tweeted endlessly.

I hope that the recovery continues to show the resilience of these communities, which have already been affected. I expect there to be a reappraisal of flood defences and land-use management, and of return periods, and also the longer-term impacts of almost £6 billion of losses.
Stay safe for the arrival of storm Frank, I hope that nothing unprecedented is about to happen….


Christmas blogging break….

See you in 2016…. thanks for visiting in 2015…. 
2016 should see us break through 2 million visitors to the blog...

Christmas tree in Ely Cathedral

2016 - a look ahead...

Before I take the annual Christmas blogging break, a few things to look out for in 2016 that are already pencilled into my calendar...

GI-Learner - we don't have a website just yet, but will let you know when that happens.
This project involves my school, and three others, in Austria, Belgium and Romania. I am currently doing some research for the first stage of the project. I'll be heading to Salzburg again in July for a conference, and also hosting a meeting at my school in February - which reminds me that I need to get a few things sorted… I'll be working on this, with some more time spent on it from the middle of the year onwards.

GA Conference 2016 - this has been moved to Manchester, which is not my favourite location for the conference, but there is plenty planned.
I am going to be doing a lecture related to a major resource that I wrote for CILT - this is being launched at the conference, and will contain eight fully resourced lessons relating to transport and logistics. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

There'll also be a special geographical version of the game-show Only Connect (linking with the theme of the conference) which I shall be presenting in true Victoria Coren-Mitchell style. This will take place on the Saturday afternoon, and will involve versions of all the usual rounds. I've found a useful site called PuzzGrid where you can create your own versions of the connecting wall rounds, and am just starting to compile some fiendish other rounds - hopefully they'll be a little easier than the TV version.

We are also organising an event for new and aspiring Heads of Geography, to share ideas and get together over a glass of wine in an event which we're calling Geography Grapevine. The very fine Tom Morgan-Jones has done an inking for us… more details to come.

Also at the GA Conference, we're expecting to see the first copies of books that I've been writing and editing for Hodder and Cambridge University Press.

I'm going to be involved in the Beermeet and the Teachmeet as well.
Book by the 6th of January for early-bird rates. Free entry for PGCE colleagues as well.

GeoCapabilities - Will continue to be involved in this project, working on behalf of the Institute of Education. We are now in the final phases of the project which means we are finalising our online teacher training materials. We will be leading sessions at a number of events including the AAG.

British Red Cross - I am going to be writing a major new resource for the British Red Cross - this will be a natural disasters toolkit which will have a focus on specific events and provide a whole range of activities and ideas for teaching about natural disasters.

I'll also be working with a number of schools, visiting several Universities to work with their PGCE students, and helping to moderate Primary and Secondary Geography Quality Mark applications for the GA.

I'm also going to be teaching the topic of Health for the first time in a while to Year 12 students, so am currently collating materials, as well as writing some KS2 Schemes and materials. Also organising a Norfolk fieldtrip for CA, and will be heading for Snowdonia and the RGS with Y12.

I'll also planning on attending a TedX event, finalising my school's portfolio of evidence for Primary Quality Mark and heading for various European destinations for work, completing teacher materials to go along with the books I'm writing…. and other projects that I don't yet know about. Get in touch if you fancy working with me on something...

Plus I'll be teaching a full timetable at King's Ely…. 
But first, a glass of something red…

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone….

How old is your house ?

You may have an idea… but what about the other houses in your street, or district, or neighbourhood, or across your whole town.
The latest map to be created and shared by Oliver O'Brien of CASA at UCL is now out, and it allows you to see the age of housing in specific areas of cities.
Look at Norwich below, for example, and you can see the different ages at which areas of the city were added to the current shape…
Click for biggery...

The maps are part of an initiative to map the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) datasets.
In fact if you go to the left hand column and toggle the retail centres on and off this opens the opportunity to download this data as a separate data set that could then be visualised in a tool like ArcGIS or QGIS.

These would be very useful for anyone who wants to unpick the relationship between cities and the traditional urban models.

Northern Sea Route

The Northern Sea Route is an option for shipping travelling between Europe (or Japan) and then onto the Pacific. It heads North of Russia, and runs for part of the year. We teach about the possible impact of this on the global container shipping routes.

This Russian Council website is useful for anyone wanting to find out more about it, and has been put together to explain the importance of this area.
With record temperatures in the Arctic this week, this may become an increasingly important route way for shipping companies, and cause the Suez Canal operators a few sleepless nights...

Flic - what to do with it ?

I've blogged before about the Flic crowdfunding campaign to produce a smart bluetooth button. The time that it took to develop (about a year) means that there are now similar products and applications around (although nothing quite like it)

People are sharing ideas for what they are doing with it, and in the New Year, I will share what I've been up to with it….

Discovering Britain

A week or so after the new refreshed Discovering Antarctica website was launched, another RGS-IBG has had a refresh…
This time it's the Discovering Britain website, which has a range of walks and resources to help people appreciate Britain's landscape.

Every landscape has a story to tell

Perhaps use this to plan a Boxing Day or New Years Day walk...

The Good Dinosaur and Sanjay's Super Team

Out to the cinema last weekend to see the latest Pixar movie: The Good Dinosaur.

One thing which hit you straight away from the opening scenes, was the amazing animation of the landscape, and the part that the landscape and in particular the river, and flash flooding has in the story.
Details of the way that the film makers researched the landscape and how to portrait can be seen in this  article:
From Pixar Post
Apparently the USGS were also involved in ensuring the accuracy of the landscape and the way that it was portrayed. I enjoyed the movie.

Before the main feature, there was another short film called 'Sanjay's Super Team', which was an excellent comment on cultural globalisation.

Next film on the list, booked for over Christmas period is the new 'Star Wars'....

Wyoming is hoping to cash in by making the most of its link with 'The Good Dinosaur', and the Grand Tetons area in particular.
More on this to come over on my Geography and Film blog…. link to follow in the New Year….

Shackleton Stamps

Out in January 2016
Details here

Iceland Trip 2015 - Post 10 of 10 - Reflecting on the trip

First of all, thanks to all parents who supported the trip, and gave such positive feedback...

Secondly, thanks to the students for their involvement and good humour (although you need to go to bed earlier...)

Thanks to Discover the World, particularly Trudi.... and to our two coach drivers in the UK, and our driver and guide in Iceland.
Finally, thanks to my colleagues: Cate, Kathi, Dan, Claire and Hugh for their company, support and great humour, and for our evening chats around the table in Dyrholaey, or outside the broken lift in the Cabin.

I will definitely be back again in the future.

And we already have a possible trip heading off next year.... watch this space for more details...

Iceland Trip 2015 - Post 9 of 10 - Day 5 - the journey home

The journey home is always a little bit of anti-climax… but not without some highlights.
We started by packing up the rooms and checking that nothing had been left behind. We didn't have a guide for this last day, but I'd been reading up anyway, and we had a final trip around the Reykjanes peninsula to the SW of Reykjavik. We travelled out on gravel roads, and visited black volcanic mountains and lakes, with geothermal steam rising…
We ended up on the coast, with some amazing sea stacks, and waves. Then back to the airport via the bridge between the continents. We were entertained by Inuit from Greenland, and then boarded our flight, to plug into entertainment. There was some delay through passport control, and then our coach driver got us safely back to Ely exactly on schedule at 11pm....

Tour de Yorkshire

The route has been released for next year's Tour de Yorkshire.
Looking good….

Northern lights and sounds...

Radio 3 is currently having a season of music that was influenced by the Northern Lights
I thought I'd make a few suggestions of music that I have that is.

Jan Garbarek - All those Born with Wings
Excellent album with Jan's sax and the usual bandmates... and one of the best CD covers there is...

Suns of the Tundra - Aurora

A track on the new 'Bones of Brave Ships' album, which tells the story of Shackleton's famous 'Endurance' expedition, which is now featured in a photo exhibition at the RGS-IBG.

Lyle Mays - Alaskan Suite - Northern Lights, Invocation, Ascent

A track from Lyle Mays' debut album, and one of the finest albums there is.

Made all the better by having finally seen the aurora last month in Iceland....

Sherpa film

Looks like being essential viewing in 2016
Sherpa (2015) Official Trailer from Felix Media on Vimeo.

A review in Geographical magazine.

Desert Island Discs

I've been making use of the Desert Island Discs archive this week, and specifically the episode featuring Joe Simpson from 2004.
Joe talks about the trip to Siula Grande that he made with Simon Yates.
He describes the incidents that will be familiar to those who have read the book 'Touching the Void'

It's interesting for students to read about the incident in Joe's own words and hear his voice. This comes at the end of a project exploring the book, and the geography of it.

Joe has had a lot of people reading the book after it was added to reading lists for various exam specifications, and his message to students on the website reflects the effect of no doubt numerous requests for information and/or e-mails from students saying they'd had to read his book...

You can search the archive to see what people have taken to the desert island as their book or luxury, or who has taken particular pieces of music, or music by particular artists....

Who has taken an atlas?

Which people with a geographical background have featured?

What would you take?

The end of knowledge?

A call has apparently been made to scrap the test that London's cabbies have to take in order to get their black cab license. This requires them to have an incredible amount of knowledge of the city's streets and their geography stored in their head… some taxi drivers in other cities rely on satellite navigation systems, and don't have the local knowledge that is needed to negotiate problems or traffic jams as a result of incidents that happen...

The test requires future black cab drivers to learn 25,000 street names, 320 routes and about 20,000 landmarks of public interest, including popular tourist destinations, museums, police stations, parks, schools, churches and theatres.
The Knowledge, which consists of a written exam and oral tests, usually takes two to four years to complete before drivers can successfully secure a licence.

The knowledge is an important part of what makes London cabbies special... as well as being awesome geographers and spatial thinkers.

A year in music...

Spotify has been allowing users to see the results of their year of streaming, and released the data on usage. My son and daughter use my Spotify too, but not to the same degree as I do. Here are a few of the results of the Year in Music feature... That's a lot of time spent at my iMac writing and listening to music...

Luminocity 3D World City Map

This amazing map was launched this week and will be of tremendous value to anyone who is exploring the changing size of urban spaces over the years. This means anyone studying GCSE or the current (and new) 'A' level Geography specifications.
It uses the same engine as Luminocity 3D, which I've blogged about previously….
Click on cities to see their growth over time.

Iceland Trip 2015 - Post 8 of 10 - Day 4 - The Golden Circle

The final full day of our visit was the one with the most 'geography' potentially. It involved visiting the classic locations of the double waterfall at Gullfoss, Strokkur at Geysir and Thingvellir. The weather was changeable, but we had it dry for most of the day, and a few spots of sunshine. The wind was very strong at Gullfoss, and we did a bit of shopping, and also managed to stop off at a wonderful organic dairy farm for ice cream.

We finished the day in Reykjavik with some great food at the Grillhusid and a staff social by the broken lift….

Image: Alan Parkinson

Crown Estate website

The Crown Estate is owner of a range of assets around the country, and has a website which allows visitors to find out more about what they are doing.
They operate a range of business and retail parks, including some new ones which would form useful retail case studies.
They also operate a whole range of energy infrastructure, which would be well worth exploring for those looking at the UK energy mix.
There is a very useful web page which shows the current OFFSHORE WIND FARM energy that is being generated.

The coastal page is also very useful for students of various ages.
The Crown Estate is more important than many people recognise - as they say on the website:

We manage virtually the entire seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit, as well as around half of the foreshore.

The Crown Estate is therefore involved in aquaculture in Scotland and elsewhere.

They also manage a huge rural portfolio, which involves farming, forestry, minerals and other assets.

Click the map to see all the various properties and areas they are involved in. Check out the Case Studies too. Also the Royal Landscape of the Windsor Great Park.
This would be a great website for a range of research.

Climate Change agreement at #COP21

Representatives of almost 200 countries have been in Paris for the last week and more, trying to negotiate a deal related to Climate Change, and attempting to reach some sort of agreement which would halt the predicted 2 degree rise in temperature which would result in significant degradation of natural systems.
The meeting was called COP21.
It appears from the news on the BBC tonight that an agreement has been reached, which could aim to keep the rise to below 2 degrees, and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees, and require action from countries around the world.
This is by no means guaranteed to work, but without some sort of coordinated effort, it seems inevitable that there will be some significant issues in the future.

The  Paris agreement apparently still needs to be signed in a plenary session. There is plenty of coverage in all the newspapers at the moment and on their websites.

I've been following the coverage of a group called CarbonBrief, whose director is Leo Hickman. Three years ago, he and I were among the speakers at a conference at the International School of Geneva on the theme of sustainable futures. You can read my posts on my contribution here. I talked about Water security.

I wait to see how this story will develop.

The agreement has been signed.

George Monbiot isn't so sure about what has been achieved.

CGeog - time to reflect

This week, I completed my CPD log for the continuation of my Chartered Geographer status, which I've held since 2007. This requires the payment of a fee, and the submission of a log of CPD  which has been provided, and also participated in, organised into a number of groups, in the previous year.
You can find out more about becoming a Chartered Geographer here.
Looking back on this year, I've been doing a great deal of activity, particularly writing and editing books for the new GCSE and 'A' levels for Hodder and Cambridge University Press. I've also created a new resource for CILT, which will be launched at the GA conference.
  • I've worked at/in UEA, Oxford University Northumbria University, Wokingham, Leeds, Manchester, Helsinki, Harrogate, Bourne, Hurstpierpoint, Wakefield, Bruges and Sheffield.
  • I've been involved in EU projects: I-USE, GeoCapabilities and GI-Learner.
  • I've worked with INTEL, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, 
  • I've moderated Primary and Secondary Geography Quality Marks for the GA
  • I've completed my 11th year as a member of the GA's Secondary Committee.
And in between I've moved back into full-time teaching once again as Head of KS2/3 Geography, which has been challenging in many ways.
One thing's for sure, 27 years since I started teaching I'm still learning, and am a long way from cracking this thing called teaching...

There's plenty already pencilled in for 2016 too...

Image is my 2015 CGeog Log as a Wordle

Thought for the Day 2

We’re often led to believe migration is a drain on the country’s resources but Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian migrant. Apple is the world’s most profitable company, it pays over $7bn (£4.6bn) a year in taxes – and it only exists because they allowed in a young man from Homs

Banksy - via this Guardian article

Thought for the Day

From the This is Finland Christmas calendar for 2015


The feeling of sunless days.

Dan's London Essay

We should not see childhood just as a period of time; we should see it as a place.

One of the people who inspires me is my friend Daniel Raven Ellison.
His latest piece of geography inspiration is his essay on the importance of play for children within the context of London.
It's on the LONDON ESSAY website.

The childhood that Dan describes was also mine, back in the early 1970s when I was a teenager. Although my parents later told me that they by no means 'forgot about me' when I was out, there was a lot of my time that was spent in the local woods and round at friends. Later, I used to cycle most nights the seven miles to a friend's house after he moved.

I've blogged previously about the woods where I used to play as a child.

Dan describes the shrinking distances that parents are allowing their children to stray from their homes, and there is a map created specially for the post by Peter Boyce and Charlie Peel.

Head over to the site and read the whole essay, and then take your kids out for a walk in the woods...

Peanuts and Charlie Brown

Took a break from the work today for a few hours to head for Norwich to see a preview showing of the new Charlie Brown / Peanuts movie. It was really nicely done, and suitable for the whole family… Nothing controversial, and 80 minutes of escapism and nostalgia….

Chris Burkard Iceland Video


ON THE ROAD with Chris Burkard: ICELAND from Chris Burkard on Vimeo.
Iceland is quickly becoming a second home for me; I’ve traveled there 20 times and this Island never seems to disappoint. The landscapes are dotted with glaciers, waterfalls and ice formations, and the photographic opportunities are endless. Despite the weather being cold and unforgiving, the challenges that present themselves are well worth dealing with in order to experience all that Iceland has to offer. I recently took a trip to seek out unclaimed climbing formations and empty surf line-ups. We spent 10 days on the road driving into the unknown. In this episode of ON THE ROAD with Chris Burkard I'll take you on our journey to one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world: Iceland.

Iceland Trip - Post 7 of 10 - Day 3

Day 3 of the trip involved heading back from Vik towards Reykjavik, taking in some of the sights along the way. These included waterfalls and a few other notable places, as well as a shopping trip. I needed to replace the clothes for a student whose suitcase had gone missing on the way, and we did that in an extended shopping trip, and then made our way via Seljalandsfoss.

We also stopped off at Hveragerdi for the earthquake simulator and some shopping and then took in the Perlan and Hallgrimskirkja.
We returned to the hotel for our evening meal and then headed down to the old docks in Reykjavik for a film night.

Image: Alan Parkinson

Erasmus opportunity

Chris Smart from TeachitGeography shared an image from EdEurope.

They are offering the chance to get involved in an ERASMUS+ K2 Action partnership, which is an opportunity to gain funding to support projects.

I have been involved in these projects for many years now, through EuroGeo, of which I'm a member, and there are few UK schools taking advantage of the funding, which adds up to billions of Euros every year, compared to schools in other EU countries. My school is also involved in a project called MOOS.
This organisation is co-ordinating training, but also hosting meetings which will then lead to applications for funding. These are by no means guaranteed to result in success. Last year, I was involved in four applications, of which one was given funding. There are also some applications which have been submitted several times.
May be worth sending an e-mail if it sounds of interest to you.

Discovering Antarctica - cooler than ever...

One of the sites that I have made more use of than any other over the last five years and more is
Discovering Antarctica.
It's great to see that it has now had a new 'refresh', and the site looks very smart now, and works well, with scrolling effects and new menus.

Not all of the sections of the site have quite been finished, but the site looks better than ever.

Storm Desmond causing real problems...

Stay safe if you're in the affected areas...
Here's the current situation at Portinscale, near Keswick.

World Soil Day 2015

Happy World Soil Day

Good film from Aardman Animation on the importance of this substance...

Where does Downham Market end?

Another interesting story on the radio this week on the way to work was about Downham Market, and some discussions over where the town ended. There are plans to start to create neighbourhood plans for the town, but to do that means determining where the neighbourhoods are.

This could equally go for any town. When does the urban area end, and where does the influence of the town end?

The importance of Geography

This article was published in the TES on Friday this week.

It describes the importance of Geography (and Global Learning), and is written by Kevin Stannard who has been a big supporter of school geography for many years.

We live in a democracy; everyone’s opinion counts. Schools exist (in part) to ensure that future citizens have the resources to make political judgements. Lots of things feed into that – an ability to digest and deconstruct an argument, a degree of empathy for others’ opinions. But critical to future citizens taking views on, say, the bombing of Syria or the movement of refugees across national boundaries, is that those citizens have a reasonably accurate world picture – based on geographical knowledge.
In an uncertain, unsafe world, we all need geography more than ever.

Advent mapping...

I liked this effort, and wondered whether we could produce similar using the Digimap for Schools gazetteer...

Digimap for Schools Historical Maps webinar

Have you explored your school and local area yet using the 1890s and 1950s historic mapping in Digimap for Schools?  If you haven't and would like to find out how to view the maps and find out more about these beautiful maps, join a Digimap for Schools webinar next week.

These wonderful maps are very valuable for looking at change over time of areas across Great Britain. The 1890s mapping shows the country at the height of the extensive rail network, supporting industry and urban growth.  1950s mapping is excellent for showing the growth of the road network, urban areas and the landscape before new towns were established.
Webinars are free to attend, simply book your place via the link on the Digimap for Schools Blog, and then join in on Wednesday 2nd Dec at 4:30pm from the comfort of your own desk.

If you can't make the webinar, a recording will be made available on the Digimap for Schools YouTube channel afterwards.

Year 6 taster day

Today was Year 6 taster day. There were 4 groups of around 20 students who I had during the day - some internal students, and others who were visiting for the day for a taste of the school.
We were looking at the idea of exploration and wanted to get the students being creative. The original idea was for them to be outside, but persistent rain during the day put paid to that idea.
Here's the activity we used.
You will need the Lego Learn to Learn Education pack if you want to use that part of the activity, or a lego minifigure per person / group if not...

Iceland Trip - Post 5 of 10 - Day 2

Day 2 dawned early, and the weather (as it was for most of the day) was amazingly mild. We checked out of the hotel as we were staying somewhere else that night, and headed out of the city of Reykjavik and into the surrounding countryside. The light started to brighten as we moved out to the east, and the weather improved as well, which was a bonus. We made our first stop at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Plant, which takes heat from a volcano and provides hot water for the housing in Reykjavik. We saw a short film and had a tour of the plant, and then headed back to the coach and had an hour's drive up over high fell and with a view towards the coast. We encountered the rocky former coastline, and then pulled up at the Eyjafjallajokull visitor centre that has been built over the road from Thorvaldseyri. On a previous visit, I pulled up to the farm itself and spoke to the farmer and his wife in their home but now it was a film and a good pause for the students to see how the volcano affected people living in the area.
We then moved on a few miles to the curtain waterfall of Skogafoss, where we broke for lunch.

The weather was certainly changeable, and we had sunshine as we climbed up to the top viewing platform, and into the spray of the waterfall. Everyone enjoyed the falls, and the surrounding countryside and we were then on for another trip along the coastline before heading inland towards the glacier of Solheimajokull. We were fitted with crampons, and then walked up to the glacier - a longer walk than it used to be as the glacier has receded quite a way over the last few years. Everyone had the chance to walk on the glacier, and as we came to the end of the tour, the light was spectacular.

From the glacier we then had a short drive to Vik, where we were staying. I had a shot time to appreciate the wonderful view from my hotel room before it got dark.