Geography - Blow their minds

28th September 2012 at 01:00

What it's all about

There is no better saboteur of a primary lesson than wild weather. Thunder cracks, snowstorms and hail create a palpable sense of excitement that distracts and inspires at the same time, writes Chris Fenton.

But incorporating it into a geography lesson, called "Extremes", where pupils had to consider how they would survive water-related disasters provided an opportunity for intense learning.

Hurricanes, floods and droughts - they had to consider that the first 72 hours are critical for survival, before being split into three groups, each given a different terrain and weather extreme.

They used geographical understanding of climate and territory to build survival plans, consider where they would find water, food and shelter and whether it would have been possible to prepare for these disasters.

We used seedlings to simulate some weather conditions, starving them of water, drenching them or blasting them with fans. Finally, we imagined what it would be like if such extremes hit our country.

I then introduced the weather report in which Michael Fish failed to forecast the 1987 hurricane, and reports about its devastating effect. Using three fans, we tried to experience the wind, then discussed how hurricanes are formed.

Outside, we looked at buildings and trees in our neighbourhood and tried to imagine what impact a hurricane would have on us.

The class planned, wrote and filmed a news report about a hurricane hitting our town. They called it "Hurricane Harold" and downloaded videos and graphics to build the report.

What else?

Become weather explorers with BrainPOP UK's wind activities. bit.lyworldwind

Explore natural disasters with resources from hopeful6. bit.lynaturaltrouble.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today