The Unhappiest Places in the UK?

thW3SM64BDThe Office for National Statistics has just released data outlining how happy people are across the UK, and the top 13 unhappiest places to live are all in England.

In their report titled “Personal well-being in the UK: Oct 2015 to Sept 2016”, the ONS asked people to respond on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is “not at all” and 10 is “completely,” to the following questions:

# Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?

# Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?

# Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?

# Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?

From there, the ONS produced mean ratings to apply to different locations. These can be converted into a ‘league table of unhappiness’, which could be a useful resource in the classroom.

The final results were:

13. Ipswich: 7.32 (much higher unemployment than the national rate of 4.7%, at over 8%)

12. Hackney: 7.31 (high gun and knife crime rates)

11. Enfield: 7.3. (high levels of gun and knife crime and issues with youth offenders and gangs)

T=9. Islington: 7.29 (cost of living has soared)  

T=9. Boston: 7.29



Boston – Bing CCL


8. Haringey: 7.25

7. Greenwich: 7.23 (cost of living has soared)

T=5. Lewisham: 7.14 (high homelessness and male life expectancy in Lewisham is 1.3 years below the London average)

T=5. Wolverhampton: 7.14 (high unemployment)

4. Preston: 7.06 (pockets of deprivation)

3. Burnley: 7.01

2. West Lancashire: 7.0

1. Corby: 6.86 (One in five children in Corby live in poverty, according to Charity Link. ONS figures also show that the town has one of the highest for unemployment compared to the rest of the county of Northamptonshire)



Photo – Bing CCL


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New Improved Look For Google Earth

An updated version of ‘Google Earth’ was launched on April 18th, and includes a range of exciting new features.

 The latest version has been two years in the making, and while it’s currently available only on Chrome and Android, it’s expected to roll out on iOS and other browsers in the near future. If you want to make use of the new version, load up your Chrome browser, and open the Google Earth home page (Earth.Google.Com/web). This has a new look, and you need to click at the top on  ‘Launch Earth For Chrome’, which opens up a window titled ‘Gain a New Perspective’. From here, just click on the blue bar titled ‘Launch Google earth’ to enter the new site.


 New features can be found on the left of the screen, and include:

·         “Voyager” – a showcase of interactive guided tours that will take you to a range of interesting locations including the Grand Canyon, Galapagos Islands, underwater sharks etc. The ‘Natural treasures’ section from BBC Earth is certainly worth a look. There is currently a library of 50 topics, with more to be added on a weekly basis in the future. This is part of the Grand Canyon tour:

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·         3D button – which shows any chosen place from any angle in full 3D. While in this tool, users can share ‘postcard’ images with others, allowing them to click the link to jump straight to where you were (virtually) standing. Here is a £D view of London’s docklands:

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·         ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button – that randomly selects a location, providing an image plus key information. I have a feeling this could be a useful tool in the geography classroom, stimulating discussion and questions and giving the teacher chance to put individuals or groups on the spot to provide a commentary or a description.

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 The information cards that pop up with chosen locations can be expanded to provide a wealth of information about different places – much improved content from earlier versions of Google Earth.

In class, Google earth was always instantly available on my desktop – and these new features  reinforce what an essential tool it is for all geography teachers.

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First Icebergs of the Season Attract Tourists

An interesting new type of tourism has emerged this week in Newfoundland thanks to a new visitor – one of the first icebergs of the season.

A towering 150 foot tall iceberg has run aground in the shallow waters next to the town of Ferryland, causing traffic gridlock as tourists and locals flock to get photographs of the giant wall of ice.



Photo: Reuters


The area off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador has become known as ‘iceberg alley’ at this time of year, and so far in 2017 the number of icebergs drifting through from the Arctic has spiked – causing major problems in North Atlantic shipping lanes.

Some 616 icebergs have moved into the shipping lanes so far this year, as compared to 687 in all of 2016 – further evidence of global warming, perhaps?

Read more:


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Polar Bear Map Of the World

I have come across some of these funky maps before – where the countries and continents of the world have been arranged to represent different animals – but this is a new version for me.

Polar Bear

It shows the countries of the world in the shape of a Polar Bear, and has been drawn by Kentaro Nagai for a Russian advertising agency working with WWF. Nice lesson starter for climate change lessons?

I have since discovered that Kentaro Nagai is a Japanese graphic designer who operates his own artistic form of continental drift to rework the continents into animal shapes. Perhaps his best known illustrations formed his 2007 project entitled “The Twelve Animals.” that represent the Japanese Zodiac – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar.

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Nagai actually named his project “Piece Together For One Peace” meaning that “peace” can be created by putting together “pieces” like a puzzle.

Some of the 12 animals are shown below, but you might want to check them all out at:


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Correcting Confusing Country Scales

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I’m not a regular reader of the Daily Mail, but this resource from one of last month’s editions could be really useful for anyone teaching about map projections or the differences in scale of countries from across the world.

It contains some great country comparisons that could be adapted for use in the classroom:

China Africa

Antarctica Australia

Map Proj Infographic


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City Aerial Photos To Start lessons

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 Since buying my first drone, I have become really interested in the use of aerial photographs in the classroom.

This site contains 12 stunning images that would be great discussion starters for lessons. The images have been produced by ‘AirPano’, a non-profit team of Russian photographers who shoot their 360-degree panoramic images from helicopters, airplanes, and hot air balloons.

How about this one of Hong Kong to introduce an urban geography topic:

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City Map Quiz

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There are plenty of geography-based quizzes available online, but I particularly like this one:

 Titles have been removed from 15 maps – and the quiz asks you to identify the cities they show.

USA City

 In addition, there are further links on the page to other quizzes on British seaside resorts, weird driving laws, airport codes, world flags and obscure capital cities.

 Try them with your students!

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