GEOGRAPHY FOR AS. Edited by Clive Hart. Cambridge University Press. pound;15.95.
AS LEVEL GEOGRAPHY. By Ann Bowen and John Pallister. Heinemann. pound;16.99.
CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS. Edited by Sue Warn and Michael Naish. Longman. pound;15.99.
The introduction of AS geography has brought with it a refreshing new range of textbooks. Each of these three books is aimed at students following a particular AS specification, but they will also have general appeal both at AS and A2.
Geography for AS covers the requirements for the OCR specification A, and provides a comprehensive coverage of its three AS modules, physical environment, human environment and geographical investigations. It has a logical, clear, student-friendly structure, which is tied exactly to the specification requirements. Key words are highlighted throughout and there is a detailed glossary. Activities on most pages help students to consolidate their knowledge and the book's layout and colourful maps, diagrams and photos make it suitable both to support classroom teaching and as source book for individual study.
The authors have succeeded in presenting core content in a new and refreshing style, for example in the chapter on atmospheric systems and produced new case studies of Los Angeles, Mexico City and ecosystems. The chapter on geographical investigations provides a concise but thorough summary of how to collect, present and analyse data. It is likely that students continuing to A2 level may well wish to keep this as a support book with a wealth of relevant geography.
AS Level Geography is a comprehensive coursebook covering all topics in the AQA specification A. The attractive, easy to follow, visual layout will appeal to students, and a comprehensive overall glossary of key words is provided. Questions occur throughout each chapter, which help students to go over ideas and case studies, and examination-style questions are provided at the end of each topic, with mark schemes.
Pupil activities iclude a clear emphasis on skills and on the use of ICT for research, although given the comprehensive range of geography covered in this book, the last chapter on geographical skills and techniques could have included more practical examples.
Recent, topical case studies and ideas are featured throughout, and especially in the climate hazards, energy and life, and population dynamics sections. This book will successfully support learning both for AQA specifications and will also provide a source of examples for other geography specifications at both AS and A2.
Changing Environments is a stimulating detailed textbook written for the enquiry-based Edexcel specification B. Its four chapters on river environments, coastal environments, rural environments and urban environments contain a wealth of good geography, providing a sound basis of core knowledge and data and examples for enquiry-based learning. Pupil activities make use of the wide range of maps, statistics and case studies and clear supporting diagrams explain processes.
Glossaries for key words in physical and human geography are provided, although these could be more comprehensive, given the range of terms used in the resource materials. A welcome number of new geographical examples appears, particularly in the managing coasts and managing rural environments chapters, which will excite students with a genuine interest in management problems of the real world. Indeed, students studying these topics as part of A2 specifications will find much of interest in this book, as will teachers looking for a source of ideas and issues for fieldwork studies.
All three books are produced to a very high standard. They will be of great value for every student following the AS courses for which they are designed, but will also have wider appeal for both students and teachers making them appropriate purchases for department and school libraries.
John Davidson is head of geography at Exeter school, Devon