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Classroom activities


Globingo is a good warm up activity for finding out who knows what about the local area. You can prepare the game cards yourself or you can invite your students to prepare their own class set. If you create two sets, is your set different from the students’? Does this reflect a different way of perceiving place?

How to play:

  1. Find a different person to answer each question
  2. Get them to fill in the answer/sign the box
  3. Get as many answers as you can in a set time

Start off with a dozen different cards – see three examples below:

Places Bingo

Using a word list and local images, you can create a bingo activity to suit any area (or topic) to encourage observation and reinforce place specific words.

How to play:

  1. Open the Sheffield PowerPoint Presentation
  2. Students should choose ten of the words on slide six and enter them in the blank spaces on a bingo card
  3. Click through the photos of Sheffield and every time the students identify one of the words on their card they should cross it off
  4. The first with a full house is the winner

Sheffield places bingo

Blank bingo cards

Draw a map of your place

The main purpose of this exercise was to identify what the term ‘local’ means and find out what students think of as their places.

Students were asked to draw a map of ‘their place’. Most students had several places depending on activities, times of the day, who they were with and what their purpose was.

For some ‘local’ was their bedroom as this was the place of most social interaction for them.

This activity led to many questions and discussions including:

  • Do we need to consider what is local?
  • Is local an outdated scale?
  • What is a map?
  • Does this exercise need a purpose?
  • Does the map need a purpose?
  • Do we use electronic maps?
  • How might this determine what the students produce?
  • Will the map tell a story or record a place?
  • What are maps for?

See The Map Book by Peter Barber for some interesting ideas on maps.

Maps and aerial photographs

In this activity students were given a single aerial photograph tile to describe and attempt to recognise features and places.

  • What features can they see/describe?
  • Can they locate the small image on a larger aerial photograph?
  • Can they then locate the image on an OS map?
  • What does the image show that the map doesn’t?
  • What does the map show that the image doesn’t?
  • What can’t they know from either resource?
  • What can they see from the wider map and aerial photograph?
  • Which areas do they go to?
  • Which do they avoid?
  • What are their impressions of other places?
  • Can they locate the images used in the last exercise on the map?

What you need

Large aerial photographs, maps and small tiles.

These resources can be created by purchasing maps and photographs to cut into tiles or by downloading material from a range of websites. The following links provide some excellent ways to explore local areas using digital maps:

Maps can be purchased from site such as

Frameworks for talking about place

The PowerPoint presentation below uses a range of different frames to support an analysis of place. It encourages a deeper examination of images, a vocabulary for talking about place and a framework for understanding concepts such as place and space.

‘In the picture’ – frameworks for talking about place

Investigating my patch

In this exercise students use their ICT and map skills to explore a 16 sq km ‘patch’ of land somewhere in Great Britain. Once they have found out about their patch, they present their findings on an A3 sheet in the form of maps, drawings and photos.

Digimap for Schools is no longer free so your school will need to subscribe to this service.

Using ICT to investigate my patch

Peer assessment and speed dating

This activity is designed to sharpen oral presentations and support self assessment. It is intended to engage students with the quality of their work and help them reflect on how to improve it.

It can be set up as a one minute paired activity where students take turns to share their answer to a GCSE question with a partner. One student presents while the other listens and recommends a minimum of one extra word from word bank (and its context) to enhance the answer. The activity is then reversed and repeated.

Peer assessment and speed dating – full instructions

Doorstep geography

Doorstep geography is an idea developed by the GA’s Secondary Phase Committee. The committee has developed PowerPoint presentations and ideas to help teachers with ideas about how to use the local area in or near the school grounds.

Doorstep geography activity ideas

Doorstep geography

Doorstep geography – Manchester

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