Thursday, 14 August 2014

Limestone landscapes

Working on a resource today for Digimap for Colleges, which launches later in the year.
One aspect of it is the identification of limestone landscapes...

How would you identify limestone landscapes on an OS map ?

Image: Val Vannet

Blood swept lands and seas of Red

Yesterday, I visited the Tower of London, after a meeting in London earlier in the day.

I wanted to see 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red', the installation of poppies which is slowly filling the dry 'moat' at the Tower of London...


Each poppy represents a casualty of the First World War, and when it is finally finished, there will be 888,246 of them.
I have already pre-ordered mine, as a momento of an amazing artwork... and to support the related charities and the work that they do.


This is an example of a place that is being 're-made' with the addition of a (temporary) art work.
I've also been to other places that have been (re)presented in this way, such as the beach at Crosby, where Anthony Gormley's 'Another Place' was installed (originally for a short time, but now permanently...)
Where else is art changing the landscape, or the way that people view a building ?
There are some obvious places of course...

Images: Alan Parkinson & Sally Parkinson

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Sailing through the Scottish Highlands - a new project now live

In 1844, Hugh Miller: a geologist and preacher (amongst many other skills and abilities) embarked on a voyage through some of the islands of the Hebrides. 

He was a self-taught geologist, writer and editor of a key Edinburgh newspaper in the lead up to the tectonic changes in the Scottish church that culminated in the Disruption of 1843. Miller was one of Scotland’s outstanding geologists, one of the first of many Scottish ‘citizen scientists’ and stands beside the greats of Hutton, Lyell and Murchison.
The Cruise of the Betsey took place the year after the Disruption, when 450 ministers broke away from the Established Church. Miller joined his boyhood friend the Rev Swanson, a keen supporter of the Disruption, who had been removed from his Small Isles parish and his manse on Eigg. Swanson used the Betsey as his ‘floating manse’ so that he was still able to serve his parishioners. The cruise was to visit Tobermory, Eigg, Rum, Glenelg and Isle Ornsay on Skye. Miller’s accounts record much about the social circumstances they came across as well as detailed descriptions of the geology, palaeontology and landscapes encountered. During the Cruise of the Betsey, Miller made many ground-breaking scientific discoveries. He wrote about his journey on the Betsey, and other travels through Scotland.
I've been working with colleagues from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society on a website and other elements to accompany a range of teaching materials which will be developed and piloted through the next few months, and the website to support the journey has just gone live.


Here's the background to the project:

Follow our journey, and celebrate the life and achievements of a great Scot, a great scientist and a remarkable observer of the social history of the time. Hugh Miller, of Cromarty, recorded his voyage of discovery on the Betsey, around the Inner Hebrides, in the summer of 1844. Our journey will recreate this 170 years later with a crew of geologists, writers, musicians, geographers and other talented people. Join us on our journey!
6th – 12th September 2014

I was invited along on the voyage, but will be teaching at the time. I'm going to be involved in other ways. One of them is to produce mapping, such as the Story Map below:

  and the map of the voyage:
View larger map

Plenty more to come once the 'Leader' casts off...

Thursday, 7 August 2014

New resource on Sand Dunes

Thanks to Emily from Millgate House Education for getting in touch about a new resource they have produced.
It makes use of Concept Cartoons, which have previously been used for teaching a range of subjects, but this is the first time they have been used to teach Geography. 

Concept Cartoons have been used successfully in classrooms internationally to teach maths, English and science.  We have recently started producing bespoke sets of Concept Cartoons focusing on smaller subject areas. Concept Cartoons encourage students to discuss their ideas in a real life context and often lead into individual or group investigations. They are particularly valuable for highlighting common misconceptions in learning.

This new resource was developed to support students undertaking fieldwork on Talacre dunes in North Wales, but is now being made more widely available...


You can download a sample of the resource from the website to see whether it looks like it might be useful for the pupils that you teach.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Thought for the Day

"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of country best..."
Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Yorkshire Landscape

For the last few days, the country has been focussing its attention on Yorkshire as the Tour de France has arrived for two stages.
The countryside has been shown in bright sunshine, and the undulations of the landscape have started to test the riders.
Familiar hills such as those at Holme Moss and around Bradfield on the edge of Sheffield will feature this afternoon.
The commentators have talked about the dry stone walls, the industrial heritage and the canal and railway networks and also some of the Land Art that has been installed. Castle Hill in Huddersfield featured earlier. Also the mast at the top of Holme Moss, which I last walked to through a sea of mud from Crowden.
I've also been there and seen the riders of the Tour of Britain come past me in the past...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Thought for the Day

"Paths are vital and subtle features of our landscapes. They connect places to places and they connect people to people."
Robert MacFarlane, author of 'The Old Ways'