Covering new territory

2nd March 2007 at 00:00
David Elstone chooses secondary geography resources

Eclipse: Inspire Your Geographers Of The Future

By Ian Mack

Student Book pound;11.50

Heinemann Inspiring Generations


Eclipse is a geography textbook with a difference, developed for high-achieving pupils and allowing teachers to move away from the prescribed curriculum. It feels lively and forward-looking. With chapters on place, climate (which focuses on climate change), planning in Britain, globalisation, cybergeography and consumption, it provides an opportunity to dip into some excellent geography resources.

The first chapter, on place, sets the foundations and is cleverly referred to later. I liked the way the topics very much reflect life in the 21st century. The book challenges pupils to consider life as it is now and how it might look in the future, with up-to-date resources, few of which have ever featured in a geography textbook before.

The only missing issue I would like to have seen covered is the changing demography of the UK, which always provokes much thought and discussion in my classroom. Also the chapter on climate change does not offer anything that cannot be found elsewhere.

Each chapter finishes with an assessment page. The questions, which are often linked to the Heinemann Hotlinks website, act as an excellent summary to each topic. They would stretch the most able, but could be modified for whole-class use.

This is a very good geography textbook, which could also be used in PSHE to consider issues such as fair trade, globalisation, consumption and the effect of the internet on our lives.

The New EU Countries and Citizens: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Malta, Cyprus

Cherry Tree Press pound;10.99 each


With the continuing enlargement of the European Union, this series is a welcome addition to any geography department's library. It covers 10 new member states, with Romania and Bulgaria to follow. A full set will be expensive, so start with individual titles.

The books all have 48 pages and are identical in layout. Each has more than 90 colour photographs (some of disappointing quality), plus maps and graphics. The overall effect is attractive and informative, with a flavour of life in the country and emphasis on culture and people as well as history. But for me, there is not enough detail about the cataclysmic changes in the former Soviet countries during the fall of communism.

The maps on the inside front and back covers are colourful and pleasing to the eye. The map inside the back cover shows the country within its European context, highlighting all 27 EU members. The geographical content is strong, making these excellent reference books for researching climate, the environment, the economy, education and even cuisine. The books are for key stage 3 but upper primary children would also find them informative for project work.

Funny Weather: Everything You Didn't Want To Know About Climate Change But Probably Should Find Out

By Kate Evans

Introduction by George Monbiot

Myriad Editions pound;6.99


Funny Weather is the creation of cartoonist Kate Evans and looks at the biggest problem facing humankind in the 21st century, a must-read for everyone over 11 and a must-buy for every geography department. It covers every aspect of global warming in an accessible way, with humour and gloom in equal measure. Kate explores climate change in well-drawn comic strips alongside a well researched commentary.

The "Take Action" section recommends further reading as well as some excellent websites, many of which are ideal for younger children. The final section invites you to work out how much carbon dioxide you emit each year, so combining the global issue with the reader's personal contribution.

Funny Weather has a joke at its own expense when it admits that it is printed on paper from trees - contributing to climate change. But it is no waste of paper: it will inspire people to change the way they live David Elstone is head of Hymers College, Hull

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