A Bedroom Fit For The Hard-Core Geographer

Center-of-the-Bedding-1This is a really strange blog entry – but I just couldn’t resist!

I came across this unique bedding set called ‘To the Centre of the Bedding’ on a web site by a company called ‘The Land of Nod’. You can find it in the ‘Kid’s bedding’ section.


The top quilt is divided into separate sections, each with its own material, texture, colour and pattern – designed to represent the different geological layers of the Earth.

Other designs with a geographical connection include rain forest animals, the solar system, and dinosaurs.



If you don’t fancy the full set – how about just a volcano throw pillow?

I bet Ian Stewart has got the full set!!





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AQA Fieldwork Toolkit



untitledAQA have recently produced an excellent ‘Fieldwork Toolkit’ to help teachers plan for work outside the classroom. Although it is directly linked to the newly accredited AQA GCSE syllabus, it would be an excellent support resource for teachers using different exam boards.


There are a number of documents to download as PDF files, including suggestions for different fieldwork opportunities, advice on data collection, ideas for data presentation, plus how to draw conclusions and make evaluations.

Download these from the AQA site:


Nice job, AQA!



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Australia On The Move ….. ?


If you are looking for a fresh way to  illustrate  dynamic plate tectonic activity, look no further than this recent National Geographic article about Australia. It describes how the continent has shifted by nearly 5 feet since 1994!


This sort of continental movement has come into sharp focus in recent times as GPS systems become more accurate, with advanced technology now pinpointing locations more precisely.

Australia has tended to move particularly fast due to its unique geology, and corrections have been made to its latitude and longitude four times over the past 50 years. The continent annually shifts around 2.7 inches (6.9 centimeters) northward, combined with a clockwise rotation of the land mass.

With various countries moving at different rates and in different directions due to plate tectonics, our models of the earth soon become out of date – if only by a few inches. As  GPS coordinates are calculated based on models of the earth, this system becomes increasingly inaccurate.

Australia’s longitudes and latitudes will be formally adjusted at the end of this year, so that GPS can keep careful track of the country. Over the past 50 years, similar corrections have been made four times. In 1994, Australia’s location was adjusted by 656 feet (200 meters).

Plate tectonics in action!

Further information:



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Walking the Coastline of the UK

Have you been following the progress of Quintin Lake? He is part-way through his photographic expedition called  ‘The perimeter’, which is based on him walking 10,000 kilometres around the coast of Britain.

The journey started on 17th April 2015 at St Paul’s cathedral and Quintin has been following the coast clockwise. He expect the journey will take around 5 years, and is currently around a quarter of the way through his trip after 97 days –


Follow his progress on his web site:


Or follow Quintin on Twitter (@QuintinLake), and keep up with the photographs posted each day, like this one from the Taw estuary in north Devon – just up the road from my house:



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Global Goals Classroom Resources


Anyone wanting to incorporate the United Nations ‘Global Goals’ into their teaching should check out the “World’s Largest Lesson” web site.


It is full of creative resources such as posters, comic strips, videos and so on ready to use in the classroom. When on the web site, just click on one of the goals in the summary grid (shown above) to open up a wealth of activities and materials to download.


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‘War Maps’ in London


If you happen to be in London over the next couple of months, you may want to call in to the ‘War Maps’ exhibition. It is running at the ‘Map House’ in Knightsbridge from September 23rd to November 18th, and will showcase a powerful collection of propaganda maps in use between 1900 and 1950.

Some maps from the exhibition include:


This map shows Roosevelt and Churchill in a tug-of-war over Africa, and was was created by Jean Fort in 1941 for the German propaganda unit that occupied France. It was designed to influence French patriotic feeling and resentment after the Allied invasion of French North Africa.



1untitledThis map represents the political squabbles and rivalries in Europe, and was produced by Fred Rose originally in 1877.






The Map House is London’s oldest antiquarian map seller –



ScreenHunter_01 Sep. 26 14.49.gif


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Ian Mercer Obituary


I was saddened to read last week of the death of geographer and naturalist Ian Mercer. In 1973, he became the first chief officer of the Dartmoor National Park – and I remember him presenting a number of videos about Dartmoor that I used in my lessons. I also heard him speak at conferences many times, and his love for the natural world was always conveyed with boyish enthusiasm.

Mercer fought hard to breach the rift between nature and landscape conservation caused by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act (1949), which created separate bodies to oversee these disciplines. It was therefore appropriate that she should be appointed in 1990 as chief executive of the newly-formed Countryside Council for Wales, which for the first time in Great Britain, brought nature, landscape and recreation together.

He was also a past President of the Field Studies Council, and at one time ran the Slapton Ley Centre in Start Bay.

Mercer wrote the second edition of the excellent ‘New Naturalist’s Dartmoor’, and in the introduction he noted: “Despite spending three-quarters of my working life as a rural public servant, I have always been a geographer.”

Ian Mercer CBE – died September 2oth, 2016 – aged 83.

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