On this page I hope to add resources based upon a range of books to transfer all of the wonderful wider reading resources into usable activities in the classroom.
I want students to be able to access ‘good’ sources of information and not what lands at the top of a Google search.
All files are downloadable and editable so that you can use them in your own classroom.
Disaster by Choice – Ilan Kelman
resources linked to publicly available material coming soon…
Having almost finished teaching Hazard pre-lockdown I was lucky enough to read this book in time to send a few sections across to my year 12 students to consolidate the topic.
The book conveys clearly throughout the fact that a natural hazard is just a hazard. It is the decisions made that affect vulnerability and resilience in communities that then create disasters. The disaster is by choice.
First and foremost, this is a very accessible book that is based around many case studies. The way it is written lends itself well to being used in the classroom and so I have adapted resources to every chapter that would be suitable across all key stages.
The first chapter itself is a case study of the disaster in Haiti Following the earthquake in 2010. A good length to be read in class or set as an independent task with students.
So taken was I with the book, and how applicable it was to what we teach in our geography classrooms that I contacted Ilan to discuss his book and how I have used this in the classroom.
Please feel free to download the resources below to accompany the book when you read it. Luckily Ilan has also written papers, articles and blog posts which mean many of the cases studies covered are also available in the public domain so I will add some tweaked resources to go with these supporting articles.
When the Rivers Run Dry- Fred Pearce
I have read this book, and then subsequently dipped in and out since- as you can see by the numerous page markers all with the name of a different case study. The book- I would suggest id probably a bit of a slog for most A level students but chapter 4- ‘Riding the Water Cycle’, is an excellent introduction for my students to the topic of Water. I use it right at the start along side some guided questions as an independent task before we start – this worked a treat during lockdown learning! It meant my students were in a position to tell me why we were studying the topic. It gives them the ‘big picture’.
The rest of the book works through several themes on the issue of water security and potential solutions. There are some chapters based in classic case study areas such as the Sahel, the Aral Sea and California as well as chapters focused on cloud seeding, desalination and water ethics.
If you teach water at A-level this is a great go-to.
“Earth is the water planet, It contains an unimaginable 1.1 quadrillion acre feet of the stuff. But more than 97 percent of that is seawater, which humans cannot drink and cannot, except in very local circumstances afford to purify. “water, water everywhere, / Nor any drop to drink,” as Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner put it.”
“When a river runs dry, it is very visible. Underground water, by contrast, is invisible. Only the farmers know they have to drill deeper and deeper to find it. And few in the corridors of power talk to farmers about a slow-burning disaster that will one day affect hundreds of millions of people. That is why the world’s underground reserves continue to deteriorate rapidly.”Fred Pearce, When the Rivers Run Dry
resources to download coming soon…
Origins- Lewis Dartnell
resources to use without the text coming soon…
I really love this book- when I finished it I came away thinking ‘that is why I go on about the rocks!’. After reading, I then started to reflect upon how the text could be used to support classroom learning.
The book links tectonics and the Earth’s planetary placement to the the history of ‘us’ from or evolution in East Africa, our migration and the age of discovery all the way through to our modern political persuasions.
This is a book that I would recommend my A level students to read- good for a class book club so to speak. I am keen on students- budget and numbers allowing reading a book a term with me- my aim for next year. this will be on my list. I am a Geography subject tutor for Teach South East and I have referred to the text and recommended the book to them to read in their training year to. It make lovely links to history and sets geography in context as one of the Humanities, as well as its scientific roots.
Some of the resources I have put together do divert away from the exam spec- but I think that is the beauty of them. There are also a series sections from the book that will support KS3 or GCSE lessons too. I have kept all the resources in one document and made them editable- they are there to be tweaked and changed and maybe give you ideas on how the text can best be utilised- or they will work as stand alone lessons, independent tasks or to slot into your current lessons/ SoW.
“I want to explore how the Earth made us. Of course, each of us is literally made of the Earth, as is all life on the planet. The water in your body once flowed own the Nile, fell as monsoon rain onto India, and swirled around the Pacific. The carbon in the organic molecules of your cells was mined from the atmosphere by the plants we eat. The salt in your sweat and tears, the calcium of your bones, and the iron in your blood all eroded out of the rocks of earth’s crust; and the Sulphur of the protein molecules in your hair and muscles was spewed out by volcanoes.“Lewis Dartnell- Origins
Timefulness – Marcia Bjornerud
One to answer ‘why geography matters’, making the science about people and accessible to people.
I am 100% biased. I am a geologist and therefore, as soon as I saw a cross-section I wanted to read this book. Then I read the title… sold!
Over my years of study in Geology, I have been sat in lectures covering the majority of the content, and so little in the book was a surprise. It felt as though I was able to reminisce over my university years. However, what was wonderful reading this book was the way in which Marcia Bjornerud weaves a wonderful tale of discovery, of all the scientists who were discovering and theorising and bringing this science to life.
The book frames itself around the idea of time- how lucky geologists are to be able to view things in ‘geological time’ and how valuable it would be for the world’s population to not just see the now. To understand how dynamic the world is and that geological processes are not as slow and unmoving as we perceive them to be.
In terms of reading this as a geography teacher- if you teach at A level I think this is a must read. The hydrological cycle and Carbon cycle are discussed and their links highlighted. Processes of carbon fluxes and natural sequestration are explained elegantly. I would potentially add in a few quotes from this book into my lessons.
There are also lovley soundbites to be had in relation to coasts and tectonics. I have also not had ridge-push and slab-pull explained so clearly before- certainly mot my myself that is for certain.
“Most humans, including those in affluent and technically advanced countries, have no sense of temporal proportion- the durations of the great chapters in Earth’s history, the rates of change during previous intervals of environmental instability, the intrinsic timescales of “natural capital” like groundwater systems. As a species, we have a childlike disinterest and partial disbelief in the time before our appearance on Earth”Marcia Bjornerud- Timefulness
This book will make you fall in love with Geology again or even for the first time if your really lucky.
If you do not have time for the book- then this talk follows the narrative of the book very closely and for your A level geography students, brings all the physical topics of water, carbon, tectonics, coasts and glaciation together.