Synoptic Links in Geography Revision

The aims and learning outcomes of the AQA GCSE Geography course focus heavily on students thinking, studying and applying like a geographer. This includes students making links and applying their knowledge to a range of real-world contexts.

The Assessment Objectives in geography clearly reflect these aims and learning outcomes. AO2, for example, involves students demonstrating an understanding of the interrelationships between places, environments and processes. Also, AO3 covers the application of knowledge and understanding to make judgements. Combined, these two assessment objectives account for up to 70% of the assessment weightings in the AQA GCSE Geography course.

Therefore, it is critically important, not just in creating good geographers, but also in raising achievement that students develop the ability to make synoptic links in geography. Some students will have an innate ability to think like a geographer and make connections in the world we live in. However, others will need support in developing their ability to do this.

The document below encourages students to connect their learning to the wider world. The example covers the synoptic links that exist between The Living World unit and the other main units in the AQA GCSE Geography specification. This could be used once the Living World unit has been completed, using the additional guidance on the second page to support, along with a textbook. Alternatively, it could be used once all the major units have been completed as a summary revision activity.

Synoptic Links Revision Activity

Synoptic Links Revision Activity

The students draw lines representing synoptic links between The Living World and other units. An example of this is shown below. Students should be encouraged to further develop links that address multiple units.

Synoptic Links Revision Activity Support

Synoptic Links Revision Activity Support

There are synoptic links support resources available for students to access on Internet Geography.

Download the A3 Living World Synoptic Links revision document

Geography Myth Busters

Misconceptions? Who you gonna call? Geography Myth Busters! 

I recently asked geography teachers for the most common misconceptions that crop up in the classroom. As usual, the geography teacher community came up trumps with lots of suggestions. To return the favour, I’ve collated some of the most common misconceptions and created a pack of A4 posters to download for free.




The resource can be used in a range of ways. Here are some suggestions:

  • display one a week and have a competition to encourage students to explain why it is a misconception
  • distribute them to your class and get them to prepare a presentation as to why it is a misconception
  • put up on your classroom wall and use them as a discussion point
  • add a QR code that links to a web page that busts the myth so students can find out why its a misconception

If you have any other ideas to share or if you think we’ve missed a common misconception leave a comment below!

Download the PPT presentation containing the posters below (32MB).

Download Geography Myth Busters

Hexagon Thinking Task

The use of hexagon thinking tasks has been popular on twitter recently. The principle is simple, students are to describe what the hexagon shows and how it relates to the content of the central hexagon.

If you have hexagon thinking task resources that you are willing to share please send them to [email protected] and we’ll publish them below.

We’ve put together a template to support teachers in using them.

Click the image below to download the template.

Hexagon thinking tasks shared by the geography teacher community

Stephanie Ramsdale (@geog_missR) has shared a collection of hexagon thinking tasks covering sustainable urban development, evidence of climate change, natural causes of climate change and contested borders in Taiwan. Click the image below to download.

Hexagon Thinking Task

Investigating links in geography using KnowledgeBase Builder

Geographers see connections in the world, how things interact and inter-relate. Making links in geography involves examining relationships within and across themes. An understanding of these links supports students in seeing how the world is interconnected.

One strategy to encourage students to investigate links could involve the use of concept maps. However, before your students attempt their own concept maps it would be useful to live model links with them. Enter KnowledgeBase Builder.




Available for Windows, Android, IOS and Mac OS, KnowledgeBase Builder is a remarkably easy tool to map out curriculum content then investigate links. In the example below, we have produced a simple map the characteristics of the tropical rainforest (for demonstration purposes, there’s lots more that could be added). The characteristics are grouped under headings including vegetation and climate etc. This could be achieved by students contributing key features based on prior learning.

Characteristics of tropical rainforests

Characteristics of tropical rainforests

Next, it’s time to investigate links between the different characteristics. Simply drag a connection between two elements, give it a simple title and an explanation of how the two are connected. Below is an example of a link between buttress roots and emergents.

Making a link

Making a link

Once an explanation has been added in the description box, simply click the link to display the explanation as shown below.

View the link

View the link

You can view your map in a range of ways including as a table which shows the main characteristics as shown below.

Information presented as a table

Information presented as a table

You can also view the map in 3D. Which looks pretty fancy! It is possible to save the 3D graphic as an animated gif.




There are several options for exporting your finished diagram. Below is an example of an exported image.

The information can also be exported as an HTML file (web page).

Other features included in the software to explore include:

  • adding images
  • reverse links where flows/links go in both directions
  • adding hyperlinks
  • embedding Wikipedia pages

In this example we have explored links within a theme, however, we can just as easily develop a map over time and explore synoptic links in geography.

Create a self-marking quiz using Google Forms

Creating a self-marking quiz using Google Forms is easy. Not only can students complete the quiz using any device but the quiz is self-marking, saving you time. This tutorial takes you through the steps needed to create a quiz like this basic example for coastal erosion.

To get started, head over to your Google Drive and click the New button in the top left corner. Next, click More then click Google Forms.

Open Google Forms

Open Google Forms

When your form is open, click the settings icon (cog) then select the Quizzes tab. This allows you to allocate points to the quiz and allow grading should you want it. Next, click Save.

Turn on quiz

Turn on quiz

Give your quiz a title, by clicking Untitled form and adding a title.

You now need to add fields to your quiz, which can include first name, surname and email address. To begin with type first name into the first question field. Then, select short answer from the answer dropdown. Make sure you click the required slider otherwise students could submit a quiz without adding their name. You can duplicate the question to add surname and email address.

Adding name fields

Adding name fields

When you’ve added the email address field you will have the option to collect email addresses. Click the link to enable this.

Your form will look something like the example below.

Collecting details for your quiz

Collecting details for your quiz

Next, you need to add your questions. You can add multiple choice questions, multiple answer questions and short answers.

Below is an example of a multiple-choice question. Remember to select Required so that students ahve to answer the question.

Example multiple-choice question

Example multiple-choice question

Once your written your multiple-choice question, click ANSWER KEY. Next, identify the correct answer and allocate the number of points available for correctly answering it. You can choose to add answer feedback too if you wish to.

Identify the correct answer and allocate points

Identify the correct answer and allocate points

Add the remaining questions you want to ask.

When you are ready to test your quiz click the preview icon at the top of the screen. This will take you to the live quiz (you can copy the web address and share it with students – if you are not sharing this electronically you might want to shorten the web address (URL) by visiting TinyUrl.

Once you have shared the quiz you can check results by clicking the Responses tab. You can review the performance of your students by exploring the options. If you want the results in a spreadsheet format, just click the Sheets icon below Total points. This will create a spreadsheet containing all the responses.

Responses

Responses

Did you know? If you subscribe to Internet Geography Plus you’ve got access to a number of multiple-choice question booklets. You can copy and paste questions and answers from these booklets to create digital versions of the multiple-choice resources. Please note, if you use our questions please don’t share the quizzes with people or students outside of your classes if you have an individual subscription or your school if you have a department subscription.

Have you seen our quizzes on Internet Geography? Save time creating your own by using ours!

Next Steps
Once you’ve set up your quiz installing a simple add-on lets you analyse the data you have collected. Take a look at this post to find out how: Analysing data from a self-marking quiz using Google Forms with Flubaroo.

8 ways to use Google Maps in geography

Google Maps has been around for over 10 years now. The free GIS software is easy to use and allows students to collaborate in real-time. We’ve pulled together 8 ways of using Google My Maps in the classroom.

1. Case study maps

Case Study Map in Google My Maps

Google My Maps is a great way of collating and displaying case studies in one place. They are a great tool to use for revising case studies. Students can collaborate on revision maps and add text, images and videos to pins for each case study. We’ve put together a tutorial that students can use to create a case study map.

2. Presenting coastal fieldwork data 

Completed map

Completed map

Presenting data collected during a coastal fieldwork study is really simple on Google My Maps. For example, data collected as part of an investigation into the impact of groynes on longshore drift, can be easily presented on a satellite image. The up-drift and down-drift height of a beach can be plotted on pins to illustrate changes along the beach. Students will be able to see geospatial patterns in the data which they can then analyse. Take a look at our guide to presenting coastal fieldwork data.




3. Presenting river fieldwork data 

map with data on

map with data on

As with coastal fieldwork data, it is really easy to present river fieldwork data on Google My Maps. Data such as wetted perimeter, discharge and velocity can be displayed at appropriate locations along the course of a river. Check out our guide to presenting river fieldwork data.

4. Landuse maps

Landuse map tutorial

Landuse maps are easy to create in Google Maps. Using the polygon tool shapes can be drawn on a layer over satellite images of your study areas. Find out how to create a landuse map in Google My Maps.

5. Measuring Distance

Google My Map has a powerful measurement tool that can be used to investigate distance on maps. It can be used in a range of ways including:

  • identifying locations that are equal distances apart for fieldwork e.g. river sampling locations
  • measuring the impact of coastal erosion
  • calculating the length of lava flows
  • calculating distance between places, both straight line and following a route

Take a look at our guide to using the measuring tool in Google My Maps.

6. Map your photographs

Using Google Images and Google Maps you can easily create a map using an album of geotagged photos. Geotagged photos are those that include data on the location they were taken. Most modern mobile phones have this feature as do some digital cameras. If you are not sure a quick search on the Internet will tell you if this option is available and how to enable it. Take a look at our guide to mapping photographs using Google My Maps.

7. Go on a scavenger hunt

It’s possible to search for locations using longitude and latitude. Why not give students a list of points via latitude and longitude and have them use Google My Maps to find out what each point is. You could also provide 3 locations and ask the students to work out what they have in common. They could examine each location using the satellite image layer to work out the physical and human characteristics the places have in common. Turn it into a game: the first student to figure them all out wins. Do this in small groups or as an independent activity, in class or for homework.

8. Plan a route

Students could use Google My Maps to plan a route. The purpose of the route could be to create an interactive tour to show the human and physical characteristics of an area.