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Facts at your fingertips

INVESTIGATING GEOGRAPHY. By Garrett Nagle and Kris Spencer Hodder Stoughton Pounds 35.

This book provides sets of topical case studies and structured questions on a variety of geographical issues, designed for students in the 14-19 age range.

Each section includes a stimulus set of resources linked to a series of questions. Although the text claims an accompanying mark scheme, this extends only to a suggested weighting for questions.

Generally higher marks reward higher level skills, and there is support at the end of the book in the form of advice on answering questions and distinguishing levels of demand and response.

No doubt teachers at key stage 4 and post 16 would wish to exercise their own judgment in selecting items, in sequencing and weighting, as well as in marking the tests.

The strength of the book lies in its breadth and the extensive use of up-to- date and relevant materials.

There are 21 sections, each with a selection of stimulus and test items. In combination, these cover a very wide range of physical, human and environmental themes, all of which investigate people-place interactions through case studies.

The printed stimulus of text, articles and extracts, as well as tables and charts of data is always very relevant to the theme, well chosen and often quite contemporary. It would be difficult indeed for most teachers to find time to amass such a range of pertinent material.

As a result, the pages are very dense. Photographs are black and white, sometimes quite small, and of variable quality.

The many maps and diagrams are usually clearer, although sometimes appearing packed on the page.

The questions go well beyond comprehension. They are well constructed and clear. More demanding items require careful interrogation of the data, and call upon a good range of skills in responding to them.

It is suggested that students might either work through the book sequentially or select units individually as required. The latter seems the more likely option since in most situations the material would need mediating within a teaching scheme, supplemented by other resources and connected to other learning.

The pages may be photocopied free of charge for use solely within the purchasing institution. Given this, it is likely to be attractive to many who teach the 14-19 age group as an invaluable collection of support material.

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