Shakespeare was a Geographer - so was Pythagoras (Jo Debens #TMRGS)


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Literacy and numeracy activities in Geography, Jo Debens RGS Teachmeet presentation 2015 #TMRGS @GeoDebs

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  • The controversy! Twitter debate on Monday evening. Some claiming that because Geography is diverse, this is a weakness and makes it confused. Great responses to support Geography’s corner from @RobGeog @GeoDebs @RJCGeog @Jennnnnn_x
    Is Geography confused, or is it a brilliant blend of science and art that is held together by that essential application.
  • The strengths of Geography are clear within the new national framework – there are 4 strands to being a great geographer: those of knowing, thinking, studying, and applying like a geographer. Value of skills and knowledge combined but with the life-skills essential component of having to apply those, to problem solve. Synthesis and making relational links is the key to Geographical genius. And what makes Geography strong, is how we meet whole school issues of literacy and numeracy, as well as building whole child skills.
  • So meeting whole school aims of literacy and numeracy – because if we do, we not only support the wider school community but we will empower children to get power results in geography and across the board. Particularly with more rigorous examination systems, content, and emphasis on skills we need to be building these skills from day 1 in year 7.
  • So Shakespeare. 21/38 plays were set in the Mediterranean…yet he never really left London, apart from a brief trip to the Netherlands. So it was entirely based on geographical imaginations. Imagination is key part to our subject, and to curiosity. Many of our students, particularly our disadvantaged students, may not leave their own areas either – so we need to encourage imagination.
  • Use Shakespeare quotes / DARTS text analysis to talk about describing places. Encouraging the idea of speaking like a geographer. Analyse text for context, introduction to places, to listen to silently and picture, descriptive mapping, and for picking out use of literacy techniques e.g. synonyms, compound sentences, rhyming couplets, metaphor, etc.
  • Read the text (perhaps excluding some bits that are too obvious!) and kids have to guess what the feature is being described. Then turn into modern descriptive text.
    Hamlet piece- read it to them, and tell them it was written in Denmark and finished in 1599. Ask them to figure out what the features was that was north-north west from Denmark and sulphurous (Hekla in Iceland that erupted in 1597)
  • Compare descriptive text of geographic features through the ages. What are the similarities and differences? How does the language, and the understanding of science, change over time?
  • Use text to describe climate as Shakespeare recorded the Little Ice Age
  • BUT – since he didn’t visit locations, there were misconceptions! So give children the text and then get them to prove what is real vs unreal, fact and fiction
  • Example of differentiated activity with class
  • Where does our subject meet maths? Everywhere! The key thing is to be liaising with our maths departments and ensuring we teach at similar times, but most importantly that we all use the same language and teach skills in the same way. E.g. Science and Maths teach line graphs differently, do we? Are we using the language of everyday maths classrooms in our classrooms? Because we certainly do plenty of data analysis and graphicacy, just need to hit the terminology to make it explicit to learners.
  • Using Google Earth polygons to identify shape patterns of landmasses – just simple shape work but builds confidence with using Google Earth tools. Can also use alongside measuring tools and estimating area, discussing different types of shape and calculating area from them.
  • Create layered data presentation, e.g. climate mapping: base layer for temperature, tracing overlay for precipitation – then analyse. Helps with learning locations and climate patterns, as well as analysis skills. Or proportional mapping for tourist locations. Key is using different methods to learn locations, become confident with features of the UK, and having to do numeracy skills.
  • Use your school for urban steps. Calculate the number of steps required to climb the equivalent of different mountains indoors. Have to measure each step, multiply it up, divide by number of kids, etc. Make it a House competition challenge.
  • Links to STEM. Produce equipment. From simple weather equipment to earthquake sensors. This example was a beautiful cloud cover measuring Oktas device. Student had to scale it all up, measuring and calculate, etc.
  • Geocaching – measuring distance, direction and bearings.
  • Make graphs 3D and tactile. Brings to life population pyramids and statistics, easier (especially for lower ability) to analyse and interpret the data.
  • Use numbers and ask students to discuss, interpret, tell a story with them.

    Answer (all to do with elderly dependency):
    2007 – the year when the proportion of 65+ year olds starting to outweigh proportion under 16 in UK
    30years – the increase in average life expectancy in UK in the 20th century
    61% - projected increase in the 65+ sector in UK by 2032
    314 per 1000 – old age dependency ratio for UK (314 people aged 65+ for every 1000 working age)
    9’076’900 – total number of 65+ people in the UK population in 2012 (total population was 53,106,500 so 17% of UK population is 65+)
  • Transform one kind of data presentation into another form of graph – have to recalculate, compare, translate. This is from the London National Park statistics on the amount of green space in the city. Analyse the patterns.
  • Because it all comes down to skills. Skills web based on GCSE criteria. Geography ticks off so many skills and really builds literacy and numeracy, so make it explicit!
  • And at the end of the day, it is worth the challenge!
  • Shakespeare was a Geographer - so was Pythagoras (Jo Debens #TMRGS)

    1. 1. Is Geography a subject? Jo Debens @GeoDebs
    2. 2. An awesome Geographer will… Places Vocab Context Processes Analysis Relationships Interactions Management Problem solve Conclusions Decision making Practical Skills GIS Numeracy & Literacy Fieldwork
    3. 3. Bill Shakespeare was a Geographer….so was Pythagoras Jo Debens @GeoDebs
    4. 4. Using Bill's blurb to set the scene Contagious fogs; which falling in the land Have every pelting river made so proud That they have over borne their continents… That nine men's morris is fill'd up with mud, And the quaint mazes in the wanton green For lack of tread are indistinguishable To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside In thrilling region of thick- ribbed ice; To be imprisoned in the view less winds, And blown with restless violence about The pendant world The Isle is full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices Measure for Measure The Tempest Midsummer Night’s Dream
    5. 5. …but mad north-north west….My hour is almost come When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames Must render up myself Hamlet (written in Denmark, completed 1599) (NNW from Denmark was Iceland…Mount Hekla…1597 eruption) Play spot the geographic feature… Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout Till you have drench'd our steeples, drowned the clocks! You sulph'rous and thought-executing fires, Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts, Singe my white head; and thou all-shaking Thunder, Strike flat the thick rotundity o'th'world! King Lear
    6. 6. Above our heads, not more than 500 feet away, was the crater of the volcano. Every quarter of an hour there came flying from it a tall column of flames mixed with pumice stone, ashes, and lava, together with a deafening explosion. I felt the whole mountain heave every time it breathed, sending out, like a whale, fire and air through its enormous blowholes. Jules Verne ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ "Mother Nature is punishing us, for our greed and selfishness. We torture her at all hours by iron and wood, fire and stone. We dig her up and dump her in the sea. We sink mine shafts into her and drag out her entrails – and all for a jewel to wear on a pretty finger. Who can blame her if she occasionally quivers with anger and rains fire upon us?" Pliny. Robert Harris ‘Pompeii’ Comparative text analysis… Then meet and join. Jove's lightnings, the precursors O' the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary And sight-outrunning were run; the fire and cracks Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble The Tempest
    7. 7. Shakespeare was a Little Ice Age climatologist… I have seen tempests, when the scolding winds Have roved the knotty oaks, and I have seen The ambitious ocean swell and rage and foam, To be exalted with the threatening clouds Julius Caesar Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them. The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch, But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek, Dashes the fire out. Oh I have suffered. The Tempest The season's difference, as the icy fang And churlish chiding of the winter's wind, Which, when it bites and blows upon the body, Even till I shrink with cold… As You Like It
    8. 8. Challenge misconceptions… Play spot the mistake with texts e.g. • Shakespeare described Bohemia as coastal…but it is central Prague • Athens is described as a ‘real English countryside’
    9. 9. Fact vs Fiction • Using the extract of text that you have use the internet to find out how accurate that description is of the place BRONZE task: Find and locate the real location in the modern world. Find 3 images to show the area today. Describe the location. Compare to what your text said: similarities and differences. SILVER task: Can you plot this information onto a map (O.S. map through Bing or Google Earth screenshot)? Describe the modern location & compare to the text in detail: social, economic, environmental. GOLD task: Can you create photo & text place-marks on Google Earth? Create a tour that compares the text information to the modern day location. Include specific fact, e.g. development data
    10. 10. So, what about the maths?
    11. 11. Simple shape work
    12. 12. Multi-layered graphicacy
    13. 13. Step challenges…
    14. 14. Making equipment…
    15. 15. Go for a walk…
    16. 16. Lego graphs
    17. 17. Use numbers to tell a story… What do these numbers refer to? Discuss in pairs and come up with a logical order / set of reasons.
    18. 18. Translate into graphs…
    19. 19. GeographicalSkillsweb
    20. 20. “All have the ability to advance in knowledge” Pythagoras Jo Debens @GeoDebs