Year 7 have just finished off their washing line geography - making connections between us - piece of work. This was a newly designed piece of work that I have used to launch secondary school geography for the new Year 7 students. The original idea was inspired by the Geography for a Pound session that I attended at a GA conference in Derby a couple of years ago in a session run by Tony Cassidy, Alan Parkinson & John Sayers. Amazingly today, just as I was putting the finishing touches to my display, Briley Habib tweeted that her class had produced a cross section of a hurricane for the grand total of £3 too!
The activity is based on the mini scheme of work here on geographypods. It is still a bit rough around the edges and needs the worksheets and instructions altering to make more Year 7 friendly but the concept worked really well and the students were focused and worked hard on the whole process. The main thing to avoid are connections that are superficial like we both like Coca Cola or too many personal attributes. Year 7 will go down this route unless you give them strict rules about the number of times they can use each category in the activity. Mine ran out of steam somewhat in places and fizzy drinks, monkeys & pasta made an appearance and it's something that I'll work to remedy next year ... somehow!
However, some great connections came out like we both have iPhones and they are made in China, we both have shoes made in Vietnam, we can both speak French & English or we have both have a €1 coin from Ireland. The aim was to bring out a whole series of interconnections that covered language, technology, culture, place, experiences etc etc. I think that my Year 7 class did this well in the initial post-it note activity and I was also impressed by how well they categorised the post-it display into some of those titles above without any prompting from me.
Hopefully, these connections have allowed the students to see at an early age that the old categorisation of geography into strictly human, physical and environmental sub disciplines are perhaps outdated in nature and we should be viewing and celebrating our experiences as unique connections that are truly global. The Y7 actually quite a lot about this stuff and are keen to explore them further. Facebook and other social media would add an extra dimension to the work but I was mindful that Y7 shouldn't have a profile until they are at least 14 years old. Perhaps, when we come back and visit this display in Year 13 (Global Interactions for IB) in 2021, those students still here will laugh at the amount of progress that we've made since the "well old fashioned" days of the iPhone 6! We'll see.
Author of geographypods.com.