Geography - The big questions

8th February 2013 at 00:00

What it's all about

Good geography starts with good questions: what is an informal (slum) settlement? Why do they exist? Are they places of hope or despair? Putting good questions at the heart of a lesson encourages the best kind of learning: active, focused, independent and informed, writes Kate Amis.

The resources on informal settlements produced by Comic Relief as part of this year's Red Nose Day - from upper primary to senior phase - include photographs, slides, background data and ideas, and should offer a great opportunity to use enquiry-based learning while encouraging pupils to take positive action. They can be used as individual schemes of work, or activities for existing plans.

The starting point is to generate good enquiry questions. Are my questions geographical? Do they cover who, what, where, when, why and how? Do they require me to think about different opinions and sides of an argument? Can some of them only be answered with facts?

Having generated their questions, pupils can form groups to discuss and compare before selecting what they believe is the most important question, along with 20 or so others. They could use an enquiry matrix template, putting the most significant question at the top and following with the secondary questions.

Allowing pupils to structure their own enquiries promotes independent and informed learning from the outset.

What else?

Investigate the development of slums using these resources, including a presentation, photo pack and worksheets. bit.lyRNDUrbanisation

Find out why people leave other parts of Kenya to live in slums. bit.lyRNDInformalSettlements.

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