Essential globe trotting knowledge can be gained from this collection of geography topics and activities. Learn how to use a compass, know your latitude from your longitude, read maps, and find out how GPS works. You’ll never get lost again (we hope!)
Up for a rescue mission? Take responsibility to reboot, recycle and reuse with this Spotlight on your world. Take advantage of our collection of teaching resources and activities all to do with earth awareness.
Topics included in Reboot, Recycle, Reuse include:
Never. Eat. Shredded. Wheat. Learn how to use a compass, know your latitude from your longitude, and find out how GPS works with this collection of Geography and Maths topics and activities. You’ll never get lost again (we hope!)
All around the world there are local words for wind. The intent of the activity is for students to learn about different parts of the world by exploring wind. They will also explore their school grounds for the various wind words using handheld GPS technology.
If you haven’t tried geocaching with your students before, Jen’s “Blowing Your Mind” activities might just be the nudge you need to give it a go. Geocaching is a great excuse to get outside!
Delegates were spoilt for choice over the three days with various workshops, teacher-to-teacher sessions (session notes available for download), and a huge outdoor map of the UK to investigate. They also found time to visit the exhibition and have a chat with us too.
Flickr image courtesy of Bryan Ledgard / Geographical Association
But, why come to visit the BrainPOP stand when there were so many great CPD sessions, engaging lectures, and fun field trips (check out David Rogers’ Mission: Explore field visit blog post for example)? Why stop and spend time talking to an educational supplier?
No surprise really! Geography teachers love their subject and are keen to see what’s new. It quickly became apparent that what’s important to them are resources that will engage their students and get them investigating the world around them, free or otherwise. That’s where we come in.
What made Geographers “ooh” and “aaah” about BrainPOP?
The broad range of topics for the Geography classroom available – we currently have over 70 Geography topics and 100s more which can be used in social subjects lessons. Plus, there are a few exciting Geography Spotlights coming up this year.
Deep Beep, our curriculum matching tool, means you can drill down, via the curriculum you follow, to find topics relevant to your lesson objective, quickly and easily.
Unsurprisingly, visitors were keen to see our Earthquakes topic. In this movie, Tim and Moby introduce the mechanics of earthquakes, describing why they happen plus what plates, faults, and seismic waves have to do with it all. When Moby snapped a pencil to demonstrate the pressure of plate movement on a fault line shift, one secondary teacher said, “That’s exactly how I showed my class…except they started breaking all my pencils!”
Popular questions? “Anything on development?” “What have you got on sustainability?” A quick glance at Living Together in the World turned up some great cross-curricular topics.
Let’s try a keyword search. A good way to find a topic relevant to your lesson is just to have a go and type it into the search bar – a search for natural disasters returned no less than 17 topics.
At the Scottish Learning Festival TeachMeet in September 2010 we were lucky enough to catch Jen Deyenburg, a Canadian teacher who’s moved to Scotland, give a talk about “geocaching” in school. We were fascinated and just had to invite her to guest post on POPtalk to help spread the word about what sounded like a fantastic learning experience that kids would love. Watch this video to see Jen being interviewed by Canadian TV spotlighting one of her geocaching lessons:
We didn’t know at the time but Jen is also a big BrainPOP fan and had used BrainPOP topics in some of her lessons to explain concepts to her class before they began geocaching. So before you say “Geo-what?” we asked Jen if she would write a small beginners guide to combining geocaching and BrainPOP. She happily obliged and we are happy to post it below!
All over the world there are more than 1 million treasures just waiting for you and your students to find!
“Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.”
The idea is simple: you locate a cache (usually a plastic container), sign a log book, and log your find online. Caches are hidden all over the world, just waiting to be discovered.
Some caches have small prizes you can trade, or trackable travel bugs that each have their own code, and a page on the official website so you can see where they have been and where they are trying to go. For example this cache is all about two submarines from World War II that you can see when the tide is out, off the coast of Scotland.
I hide temporary caches in the school yard, designed around learning activities. But I also use caches on the www.geocaching.com network to learn about history, geography, or the local area.
Most caches are hidden somewhere that is a place of interest, whether it is a beautiful spot, or a place of historical, geographic, or geologic significance. It is a great way to learn about a place you are visiting!
Combining geocaching & BrainPOP
When introducing a new technology it’s great to show students how it works to get a better understanding of the real world application. I use the BrainPOP UK Global Positioning System movie to help my students understand GPS and that they aren’t just working with the technology in their hands, but also in space.
One of my favourite geocaching lessons was a science lesson. We used the BrainPOP UK PH Scale movie to learn about the concept and to learn how to test acids and bases using litmus paper.
We used our GPS units to go out and find hidden geocaches around the playground with a sample of a substance.
Using PH strips, or litmus paper, we tested the substances. If the students thought it was an “acid” they followed one set of coordinates, a “base” another set. If they chose the correct set of co-ordinates they got another substance to test. If they chose incorrectly they found a quick reminder of how litmus paper worked, then they had to try again!
Another great benefit of using GPS devices is distance measurement and estimation. The handheld unit shows how far away a marked waypoint, or geocache is, and counts down distance as you get closer to a cache (or counts up if you are going the wrong way!).
The BrainPOP UK movie Estimating Distances is a great way to tie in Maths with Geocaching and help students understand distance relationships in real life when they are caching on the playground and how this compares with a map.
Once we find a distance in real life on the playground using the GPS (for example the distance from the door of the school to a cache) then we can create a map of our playground and create a map scale to represent the distance on our map.
Try geocaching using GPS with your class. It’s a great new way to get outdoors to learn!
We put a request out last month for any recycling ideas you’ve used in school so we were really pleased when David Rogers (@daviderogers), Curriculum Leader for Geography at the Priory School in Portsmouth, sent us this super cross-curricular recycling lesson idea. Let us know if you use it!
David Rogers’ Recycling Lesson Idea: “We do this at my department, and are always really surprised at the fantastic ideas!”
“This lesson aims to get young people involved in changing their school community. Through a geographical enquiry, pupils will investigate the current state of recycling in the school and suggest improvements to the Headteacher.
To start: Investigate the ideas behind recycling. A good introduction is the BrainPOP UK movie on Recycling.
It would also be a good idea to follow up the idea with the POPquiz.
The key question to consider is whether recycling is a good idea. Use the Learning Event Generator to give the class some random choices of how to present their argument.
The next stage is to discover whether recycling goes on in your school. This takes the place of a Doorstep Geography investigation. Expanding some of the ideas covered in the BrainPOP movie, pupils work together (getting in some nice PLTS action) to create a questionnaire and data collection strategy.
For example, pupils could:
Count the number and type of recycling facilities that the school has
Find out what local facilities for recycling there are. You could even organise a trip to a recycling centre or get a guest speaker to come in. This is important, as different local authorities have different approaches to recycling.
Speak to key staff such as the catering manager, curriculum leaders, senior leaders…
Question their peers about recycling habits
After this, the class should be able to crunch the numbers in order to present their data. What have they found out? Is your school good at recycling?
I then give my classes a number of options. In order to link in to Citizenship, we give each class a real budget in order to run a campaign. This could be either a campaign to reinforce the recycling message, or to suggest how the school could do better at recycling.
Get the class to decide on ideas. For example, will they create posters or send emails to the Head? The budget covers things like photocopying and gives a realistic insight into enterprise – how effective will their campaign be? Pupils may find that staff do not recycle because of a lack of facilities at school. They could campaign for better facilities.
This is a simple idea that extends some of the ideas behind the BrainPOP movie and empowers students to take an active interest in their community.
By learning about responsible protest, they become better citizens!”
We’d love to hear the ideas your students come up with. If you’re not based in a school, try this idea out at home. Instead of suggesting improvements to the Headteacher, how about suggesting improvements to parents?
To encourage you to get started, we’ve produced a Reboot, Recycle, Reuse poster especially for this Spotlight:
Click image to start download
Download and pin it up at school or at home so you always remember Tim & Moby’s tips on being green.