London may soon be flooded. Your class mission is to prevent disaster and identify what's behind the problem. Go, go, go, says Pete Flaxman.
This lesson forms part of a scheme of work based on weather hazards where our main theme is looking at cause, effect and response. We decided to examine the possible impacts of a flood in London (an idea based on an episode of Spooks).
As the key stage 3 class enters the room, we have the James Bond theme playing, with the first slide on screen, setting the scene: there is an attack planned on the Thames flood barrier. The agent's mission is to investigate the possible impact of this on the city. A brainstorm of riverside landmarks provides a good introduction, and a map of London highlights more of the key issues.
We then show images of different landmarks that would be affected. Pupils create a spider diagram, listing the landmarks and explaining the effects the flooding could have and what should be done.
They start with transport routes, but include electricity pylons, City of London School, and the Royal London Hospital. Each image leads to a discussion before pupils add to their diagram.
The image that creates the greatest discussion is of HMP Belmarsh. Some pupils suggest the prisoners should be left locked up; others argue they should be moved. But to where?
The plenary consists of small group discussions considering why London might flood, introducing issues including global warming, storm surges and increased urbanisation. The homework is to create a front page newspaper article, outlining the impact of a London flood.
Pete Flaxman is an Advanced Skills Teacher in geography at Barking Abbey Specialist Sports and Humanities College in Essex.