Get pupils to quiz each other on places they've visited in your local area. Paula Richardson finds it throws up fresh perspectives
The "Who's been where?" game is an excellent activity for key stage 2 to encourage everyone in the class to join in. It involves speaking and listening skills as well.
Imagine you are going to study your local area. On a single sheet of paper, pose 10 or 12 questions: for example, who has been into the local library, taken a bus ride, visited the local church, or the pet shop? Under each question, create an empty box.
Give a sheet out to everyone in the class and ask them to move round the room asking one question of each person they meet.
If the answer is "yes" the pupil inserts the name of the person who has done the activity along with one piece of information, such as what they saw, bought or did there. Asking for the information ensures people really did go there, rather than just saying yes.
After a suitable interval of time, sit everyone down and discuss the findings. Which place or activity had most or least visitors? What surprising things did you find out about the local area? And so on.
It is sometimes difficult to choose starting points for studying the nearby area when the children may have previously enjoyed a variety of experiences.
Using this approach allows the children to find a voice to describe their experiences in the area, and through discussion after the activity, identify the places and themes they would like to find out more about.
This is a good starter activity for many different geography topics, such as looking at specific physical features or places in Europe. And it's fun
Paula Richardson is an independent geography adviser from Redhill in Surrey.
You can do it too
- Include questions everyone can answer.
- Ensure you have quirky questions to make the class take a fresh look at the area.
- Ask for information to avoid yesno answers.
An activity sheet with questions about your local area and boxes for answers; you may need to visit the area to seek locations with good potential for questions.
You know the lesson is going well when the room is buzzing with people asking each other questions and taking no notice of you.
You know it's time to pull the plug when you hear voices saying "I've been round everybody and I can't find anyone who ..."
A resource that would help
Fieldwork File: For the primary years edited by myself and Stuart May on behalf of the Geographical Association. Lots of suggestions for fieldwork investigations based on child friendly questions. For more information see: www.geography.org.ukshop.