Using Images in Geography #4 Diagrams from memory

Diagrams from memory are a great way to revisit prior learning. In this case, we’re sharing an unlabelled diagram of the global atmospheric circulation diagram. The idea is to display the labelled diagram for a short period of time to remind students of the key components of global atmospheric circulation. A simple quiz could be used to encourage the students to think about the features of the model and the processes that drive global atmospheric circulation. Following this, any misconceptions can be addressed before removing the labelled image from display.

Students then complete the blank diagram to demonstrate what they know. Scaffolding can be provided to the students who need it through providing additional annotations or the first letter of each label.

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Click the image below to download the template.

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.

Tweet Treats #8

This is the eighth collection of useful tweets relating to #geography and #geographyteachers. The world of Twitter can be a busy place so I’ve pulled together some tweet treats from the last week or so that are worth having a look at. Tweets are in no particular order.

Top 10 best things to do in Iceland on a budget

In this guest blog post Rayburn Tours share some great ways to spend time in Iceland on a budget. You can follow Rayburn Tours on Twitter via @RayburnEdu. Find out more about school trips to Iceland with Rayburn Tours.

Ok, it’s unlikely that a full on adventure to Iceland is going to be a cheap getaway, but this land of spectacular natural beauty has so much to offer visitors without breaking the bank. Any adventurer will be spoilt for choice with steaming hot springs, crashing waterfalls, glistening glaciers and powerful volcanoes – all of which are low-cost options.

So we’ve put together our top 10 recommendations for a school geography trip to Iceland that’ll leave your students wowed (without blowing the budget!).

1.   Visit one of the local swimming pools
A nation of bathing lovers, Icelanders lap up swimming pools, hot tubs and natural springs. Often geothermally heated and surrounded by stunning scenery, make a splash on your adventure with a visit to a local swimming pool.

Whilst a visit to the Blue Lagoon is popular among tourists, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives. Whether you take a dip in one of Iceland’s oldest hot springs – the magical Secret Lagoon – or you dive into one of the many local pools, a swim is a must on any Iceland bucket list.

2.   Walk along the boundary of the North American & Eurasian plates at Thingvellir

Pingvellir National Park

Pingvellir National Park, home to ‘The Wall’ from Game of Thrones

As one of Iceland’s most significant historical sites and part of the country’s famous Golden Circle tour, Thingvellir National Park is not to be missed. It’s one of the few places on earth where the Mid Atlantic Ridge is visible above sea level. Here you can venture between the rifts in the earth’s crust at the boundary of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

3.   Experience hot springs and the hot river near Hveragerdi

Iceland, Reykjadalur hot springs, Hveragerdi

The hot spring town of Hveragerði boasts an active geothermal area right in the centre of town. Whether you choose to take a dip in the hot river, or boil eggs and bake bread in the hot springs, there’s something to keep everyone entertained. Take a hike along one of the many walking trails and admire the surreal landscape, where white plumes of water vapour surge up into the sky from the surrounding hills.

4.   Witness glaciers before they disappear

Sólheimajökull Glacier

Sólheimajökull Glacier

Iceland’s glaciers are a sight to behold and with the loss of the country’s first glacier – Okjökull– earlier this year, witnessing one of the remaining rivers of ice is all the more meaningful. With approximately 11% of the country’s landscape covered by ice caps, the remaining retreating glaciers bring home the effects of climate change and the importance of preserving these rivers of ice.

Whether you witness Iceland’s largest glacier, the mighty Vatnajökull, Snæfellsjökull or Langjökull, your students are certain to be blown away by the natural beauty.

5.   Don’t Do go chasing waterfalls!

Gulfoss waterfall

If you’re wowed by water then Iceland’s numerous crashing falls are sure to impress. What’s even more thrilling is that glacial runoff is continually causing new waterfalls to form! Iceland has many striking splendours to enjoy, but some of our favourites are Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. For those looking to venture off the beaten track, the lesser known Gluggafoss, Faxafoss, Urridafoss will hit the spot.

6.   Spend time exploring Reykjavik


As the world’s most northerly capital city, artsy Reykjavik is the perfect place to take some time out to explore. Meander along the streets; taking in the colourful buildings and contrasting architecture, before looking out across the rugged hills.

Whether you join a free walking tour of the city, head up to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja for stunning city views or take a boat ride from the harbour, there’s plenty to experience in this coastal city.

7.   Behold Geysir erupting

Eruption of Strokkur Geysir, Golden circle route in Iceland

As one of the visits on the Golden Circle tour, Geysir Geothermal Area is one of Iceland’s most famous tourist attractions and it’s easy to see why. No visit to Iceland would be complete without witnessing (and maybe even taking a boomerang of) Strokkur Geysir shooting boiling water tens of metres high into the air.

Home to various other hot springs, bubbling mud pools and lively eruptions, you’ll also find the original geyser, ‘Great Geysir’. Although Great Geysir’s eruptions are rare, it can eject steam up to 80 metres in the air.

8. Find out about the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull and Iceland’s other volcanoes



Iceland is well-known for its explosive volcanoes and the Katla Centre, overlooked by Eyjafjallajokull, is the perfect place to get all fired up about these explosive formations. Focusing on the Katla volcano which sits under Mýrdalsjökull glacier, you’ll examine the different types of ash and volcanic rocks and learn about the significant impact the volcanic activity has had on the area.

9. Sample some local delicacies

Showcase of different ice cream in metal tubs, closeup

Whilst visitors to Iceland may find whale and shark a little bit fishy (in every sense), there are other local favourites that are definitely worth a try. Icelanders are particularly proud of their hot dogs and ice cream – certain to get your students vote.

10. Take the ferry to Heimaey

The view from Eldfell volcano on Heimaey island, Iceland

All aboard for a visit to Heimaey! The largest and only inhabited island of the Westman Isles is only a 35-minute ferry ride from mainland Iceland. Island life was transformed following a major fissure eruption in 1973, and nowadays visitors can appreciate the devestating impacts by walking across the recently formed lava fields and climbing the newly formed Eldfell volcano.
The interactive Eldheimar Museum, built around one of the homes uncovered from the ash, tells the story of the eruption and includes an exhibition on the Surtsey eruption – the island that emerged from the ocean in 1963.

Find out more about school trips to Iceland with Rayburn Tours


Tweet Treats #7

This is the seventh collection of useful tweets relating to #geography and #geographyteachers. The world of Twitter can be a busy place so I’ve pulled together some tweet treats from the last week or so that are worth having a look at. Tweets are in no particular order.

Geography Retrieval Wheel

Based on some examples we’ve seen on Twitter recently we’ve created an interactive retrieval wheel that can be used to quiz students. The retrieval wheel is a simple powerpoint presentation that can be fully customised to meet your quizzing needs. Adding new questions is easy. We’ve set this example up using smart art which means it is easy to paste new questions from an existing bank you might have. In our example, we’ve pasted 6 questions from an Internet Geography Geogrevise Retrieval Practice Booklet (free to Internet Geography Plus subscribers).

Adding your own questions is simple. Just click the smart art wheel and either type your questions or paste existing answers into the text fields.

Editing the retrieval wheel

Editing the retrieval wheel

You can adjust the speed of the spinning wheel. To do this click the Animations tab. Then click Animation Pane. Select Diagram 3 then under Timing select the speed you want the wheel to turn.

Adjusting the speed of the spinning wheel

Adjusting the speed of the spinning wheel

Click the image below to download the free geography retrieval wheel.

Retrieval Wheel

Typhoon Hagibis Online Resources

Typhoon Hagibis has brought deadly flooding and landslides to large parts of Japan.

Hagibis – meaning “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog – is Japan’s biggest typhoon in six decades.

It hit the Izu Peninsula, south-west of Tokyo, shortly before 19:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on Saturday, before continuing to move up the eastern coast of Japan’s main island.


Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones: What’s the difference?

Cause of Typhoon Hagibis

Japan gets ready for Typhoon Hagibis – BBC Newsround 

Typhoon Hagibis bears down on Japan

Preparation for Typhoon Hagibis

Japan orders evacuations as Typhoon Hagibis arrives – The Guardian

Government preparing for Typhoon Hagibis – Japan Times

Impact of Typhoon Hagibis

Typhoon Hagibis: Storm biggest to hit Japan in decades – BBC

Typhoon Hagibis: Japan suffers deadly floods and landslides from the storm – BBC

Typhoon Hagibis in pictures by the BBC

Rains, tornado, earthquake: Typhoon Hagibis forecast to be Japan’s worst in 6 decades – USA Today

Typhoon Hagibis: Japan deploys military rescuers as deadly storm hits – BBC

As Typhoon Hagibis apprached Japan a magnitude 5.3 earthquake shook southern Japan. The earthquake and the typhoon were seperate events and were not linked.

Typhoon Hagibis Slams Into Japan After Landslides, Floods and a Quake

Immediate Response to Typhoon Hagibis

Rugby World Cup 2019: Canada players help recovery effort after Namibia match cancelled – BBC Sport

Typhoon Hagibis: Japan deploys military rescuers as deadly storm hits – BBC

Other resources

Earth Nul School – Wind map 


Modelling Answers in Geography

I remember writing my application letter for a PGCE course in my third year at university. I gave the first draft to a professor I had immense respect for, to have a read through. A couple of days later he called me to his office. “Have a read of this”, he said to me and passed over the application letter of another student. After reading it I realised how utterly crap my first draft was. I’d missed out lots of relevant information that would support my application to the course. The professor then talked me through the example he shared with me, explaining why it was a strong letter of application.

Going through this process, some 24 years ago, had a profound effect on me in the classroom. How could I expect my students to attempt exam questions when they hadn’t gone through the modelling processes? Not only does the modelling process build student confidence but it also saves hours of teacher time. How? Have you ever set an exam question for students to complete, then spent hours marking the fruits of their labour, making similar corrections to almost every answer? It’s tedious, painful and a complete waste of time!

Through modelling how to complete a similar question, hours of time marking can be saved by first demonstrating the process students can go through when completing a similar style of question. Additionally, this approach also helps build student confidence when facing exam questions.

So, how can modelling be approached? There is a range of different ways to model. Below is an example that has worked for me, in my classroom with my students.

Step 1 – Identify the question

Identify a question you want the students to complete e.g. Explain the formation of a wave-cut platform. Then, create a variation of it e.g. Explain the formation of a stack. Share this with the students. I found the best way of modelling to students was using a piece of paper and pen along with a visualiser/webcam attached to my computer which was then displayed on the wall using a projector.

Recommended digital visualisers include:

Step 2 – Share the question

Share the question with the students. Deconstruct the question with the students. Identify the command word e.g. explain – think out-loud what this term means. What is the question asking me to write about? Sometimes I would annotate the question underlining command words and making simple notes about what I might talk about.

Step 3 – Assessment Criteria

Share the mark scheme with the students. Show them how the question will be assessed. If they understand the assessment criteria they are more likely to meet its expectation.

Step 4 – Misconceptionsceptions

Share the misconceptions and errors students regularly make on questions like this e.g. describing instead of explaining. It might also be worth pointing out the processes involved in the formation of the landform e.g. remembering to include weathering processes, not just processes of erosion.

Step 5 – Model it

Model the answer. As you are writing the answer, talk to the students and explain to them your thinking behind each sentence you include. Less experienced teachers might want to write a model answer prior to the lesson and have it on their desk to fall back on. If you feel more confident doing this, go for it! The more you model, the more confident you will become. Eventually, you will be able to model off the top of your head!

Step 6 – Their turn

Now that the students have experienced the modelling process, it is their turn to have a go at a similar style of question.

This approach worked for me, in my classroom, with my students. There is a range of equally valid approaches to modelling out there. The trick is to experiment and see what works for you in your classroom.

In case you are wondering, the second version of my PGCE application got me onto the course I wanted. Thank goodness for modelling.

Anthony Bennett



How can Internet Geography Plus be used in the geography classroom?

Tweet Treats #6

This is the sixth collection of useful tweets relating to #geography and #geographyteachers. The world of Twitter can be a busy place so I’ve pulled together some tweet treats from the last week or so that are worth having a look at. Tweets are in no particular order.