Category: Paper 1: Geographical Themes

A Volcano Case Study…LIC

A Volcano Case Study…LIC


Title: A Volcano Case Study…LIC

L.O: To investigate A volcano case study event in an LIC

Key terms:

LIC (Low Income country)

Causes and Consequences

Volcanic Eruption

Secondary Hazard


Lesson starter:

Image result for Key features of a volcano


Main development:

Crisis management with Google Earth

Montserrat eruption role-play (Part one)

A guaranteed excellent lesson which can’t fail, so ideal for Ofsted!

Pyroclastic flow
Photograph used with kind permission of MVO


I have come across several versions of the underlying concept behind this lesson, firstly at an INSET for Camden teachers in 1999 and subsequently in the Earthworks 3 text book by John Widdowson (published by John Murray, 2000). Earthworks, and the accompanying teacher’s resources, has been a personal source of inspiration to me for many years, and this lesson is very much based on John Widdowson’s work.
In collaboration with another colleague, I have developed some further activities and resources to enhance the role-playing element. Inevitably Google Earth offers an opportunity to extend the lesson into a very realistic learning experience, although the lesson is perfectly viable without it.

Special thanks to Sue Loughlin, Director of the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, and Adam Goss, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University for permission to use their photographs. Bill Innanen’s Montserrat Index page provided the missing link for a detailed map of the north of the island for part two of the lesson, as well as a host of other superb resources. Thanks also to Hodder Murray for permission to use the map extract from Earthworks 3 teachers resources. Adam Lawson has completed a brilliant movie to use as a lesson starter. Dan Williams contributed the risk assessment and hazard planning element of the exercise.


This is a well-established lesson idea. Students react to the events on Montserrat whilst in role as a crisis management team based at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. ICT is not necessary, though the lesson will be enhanced if one or more PCs are available. Google Earth and multiple computers provides the IC(T)ing on the cake.
There will be a lot of noise and movement, so be prepared! A colleague and I have recently tested the lesson with two classes working simultaneously, with great success.


Students will be able to describe the sequence of events on the island of Montserrat that led to a large scale evacuation of the island by…

Responding to a chronological sequence of events.
Annotating a map with the key events.

They will gain an insight into the process of crisis decision making through…

a decision-making exercise
Preparing a hazard map.



It is assumed that students are working in pairs or groups of three. Within the group there are roles for a geologist and a crisis planner and, optionally, an information coordinator (aka the runner). These roles are interchangeable. The activities will span two consecutive lessons. Ideally the following resources would be employed, although to be honest, the role-play would still work well without any form of ICT.
videoFootage from an exemplar lesson. This gives some indication of the key tasks and the sense of movement and collaboration that takes place (hopefully) Panic cam video clips (11.5mb WMV file, requires Windows Media Player)


Laptop computer or PC which acts as a teleprinter.
Digital projector & PC videoStarter movie by Adam Lawson (web site)
wordMontserrat map on A3 sheet and A4 (Word doc)
wordRisk assessment and hazard planning sheet (Word doc)
wordTeacher’s score sheet (Word doc)
wordHazard map from MVO (Word doc)
ppt filePower Point introduction (PPT)
ppt filePower Point Montserrat eruption (PPT) (2.1mb)
wordGoogle Earth help sheets

Google Earth files:
ge iconMontserrat placemark
ge iconMVO hazard map for plenary

The lesson:


Ideally there will be a PC and digital projector at the front of the class for the initial briefing and the final plenary session. A second PC or laptop situated in a corner of the room (or even outside the classroom in an empty room) acts as a teleprinter. If Google Earth is not available then there should at least be a wall map to locate the island.


Students enter the classroom and are directed to form teams of two or three. An introductory Power Point provides a simple 5Ws- type starter. A brief outline of the scenario is given to the students. Google Earth can be employed to locate Montserrat. Try the excellent Starter movie by Adam Lawson (web site)


The “teleprinter” Power Point is set to run for approximately 22 minutes. During this time there is frantic activity as the runners collect the information. The geologist in the team annotates the A3 map with details of the volcanic events. Following each report from the teleprinter, the crisis manager makes an appropriate decision. The governor (aka teacher) assesses each group’s performance in the risk assessment continually. This adds an element of competition between the groups, and provides an incentive to make the right decision under pressure.


Following the completion of the first activity, the Power Point is advanced manually to reveal the next task. The teams have approximately 8 – 10 minutes to prepare a map that divides Montserrat into three zones according to the instructions. This activity should see close co-operation between all three members of the team


Once time has elapsed for producing the hazard map the teams should display their finished work. This can be compared with the real hazard map produced by the MVO in September 1997. The real map is available as a Google Earth overlay, a Word doc or a live web page. If time allows, the highest performing group in the decision-making task and the hazard mapping, should be encouraged to talk about their successful strategies.



Discuss or comment on the lesson at Digital Geography

Web Links:

Montserrat Volcano Observatory online
Photographs from Adam Goss Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
Bill Innanen’s Montserrat Index page contains some brilliant resources, for example his animation of the MVO risk maps, and a quicktime VR panorama. Also on the site are the only detailed island maps available on the web. Absolute gold dust!
Montserrat information from Wikipedia
ZJB Radio Montserrat Live live streaming
Montserrat Newsletter
Article on redevelopment of the island from DFID
BBC Scotland have an excellent online activity that makes a good follow-up activity. Some curious spelling errors though!
Geography Pages has ideas for teaching about Montserrat
CNN report on evacuation
Montserrat Government press release covering the events depicted
Montserrat Volcano Observatory chronology of eruptive events 1992 – 1997
Soufriere Hills report from Volcano World
Montserrat information CIA factbook
Article on sustainable development of the island
Map Action is a British charity that provides maps for disaster areas around the world. It’s a good link for reminding students of the importance of maps when dealing with emergencies
Hodder Education (select Earthworks from the drop down box)
Predicting Volcanic Eruptions an interactive exercise from the USGS (thanks to Richard Treves)

Copyright Notice.

I have received permission from the owners of all the copyrighted material used in these resources. Please DO NOT repost any of the material from this page. The Creative Commons License covering the rest of the site does not apply to the images on this page.


Lesson 1: Global Population Growth…

Lesson 1: Global Population Growth…


Title: Global Population Growth…

L.O: To know how to describe and give reasons for the rapid increase in the world’s population

Key Skill development:


Reasoning (using PEEL)

Research Skills



  1. Rapid Population growth
  2. Population Distribution
  3. Population Density
  4. Densely Populated
  5. Sparsely Populated
  6. Birth Rate
  7. Death Rate
  8. Life Expectancy
  10. Over-population/Under-population
  11. Migration
  12. Population decrease

Starter: Task 1: Take a look at the world population clock on the homepage of Geoschooley. Try and guess what the clock will say at the end of this 1hr and 20minute lesson. As an extension – make a list of the factors that might have an impact on this clock increasing so rapidly…

Image result for india busy train

Main Development:

Task 2: Describing Global Population Growth

Complete the Global Population Growth Task Sheet using the Google Search Engine and the resources below:


Global Population Growth Task Sheet


Task 3: Why has the world’s population been growing so fast?

The following have been major factors in the world’s population growing so fast:

  1. People living longer (decreased death rate)…
  2. Increased Birth rate…
  3. Better health care to combat diseases…
  4. Fewer global wars…
  5. Lack of contraception in developing countries…
  6. A lack of knowledge of sexual reproduction…
  7. Cultural and traditional views of the benefits of having large families – particularly in developing countries…
  8. Improved living standards on a global scale…
  9. Improved technology…and many many more…

Can you turn the global population graph you have produced into a Living Graph? Can you develop the points further using PEEL on your graph…

Global Population Growth Living Graph Cards…


Image result for living graph global population example



An example of a “Living Graph”annotation has been done for you below…

A social reason…

  1. People living longer (decreased death rate)…

Point: People are living longer and therefore the death rate has decreased.

Explain: This has been happening because people are more aware about the advantages of living healthier lifestyles and so more and more people now attends gyms, eat healthier and participate less in activities such as smoking.

Evidence: This is evident in HICs (High Income Countries) as people in countries like Germany and Switzerland are have a greater life expectancy due to the above actions…

Link: If people are living longer this can result a greater level of knowledge in society through there being more older and experienced people in the workforce, therefore improving technology perhaps…

Task 4: Key independent research task: 

Watch the series of youtube videos below as part of the “How Many People Can Live on PLanet Earth” Series and try and make notes under the following subheadings:

  1. Why has the Earth’s population grown so much and so fast?
  2. Where is the world’s population growing so fast?
  3. What are the consequences of such fast growing population?
  4. Why might the world’s population growth rate slow down?


Define the following key terms in your notes for a key term quiz next lesson:

  1. Rapid Population growth
  2. Population Distribution
  3. Population Density
  4. Densely Populated
  5. Sparsely Populated
  6. Birth Rate
  7. Death Rate
  8. Life Expectancy
  10. Over-population/Under-population
  11. Migration
  12. Population decrease

Homework – independent work time:

Revise the above list of key terms for your quiz next lesson…

Extension task:

Access the sky news feeds on GeoSchooley and find any examples of where there is evidence of the world’s population slowing down (population decrease)…

Classifying Production…

Classifying Production…


Title: Classifying Production…

L.O: To know how to classify production into different sectors and give illustrations of each…


Task 1: You have until the end of the song to make a list of as many occupations as you can – try and make a wide variety in your list…


Main Development:

Image result for sector job graph


Task 2:

Answer the exam style questions based on the graph above regarding the UK…

  1. Identify the sector that digresses as time and development progresses (2marks)
  2. Describe the trend for each sector as time progresses (3marks)


There are 4 main areas of employment sector within industry…

Primary industry/sector

The primary sector is concerned with the extraction of raw materials. It includes fishing, farming and mining…(source:

Image result for primary sector Image result for primary sectorImage result for primary sectorImage result for primary sector

(source: Google Image Search)

Secondary industry/sector


Secondary industries are those that take the raw materials produced by the primary sector and process them into manufactured goods and products.

Examples of secondary industries include heavy manufacturinglight manufacturing, food processing, oil refining and energy production…(source:

Tertiary and quaternary industry

The tertiary sector is also called the service sector and involves the selling of services and skills. They can also involve selling goods and products from primary and secondary industries. Examples of tertiary employment include the health service, transportation, education, entertainment, tourism, finance, sales and retail.

Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast

The biggest area of expansion in the tertiary sector in the UK has been in financial and business services. According to government statistics, 25 years ago one in ten people worked in this industry, now it is 1 in 5.

The quaternary sector consists of those industries providing information services, such as computing, ICT (information and communication technologies), consultancy (offering advice to businesses) and R&D (research, particularly in scientific fields).

The quaternary sector is sometimes included with the tertiary sector, as they are both service sectors. The tertiary and quaternary sectors make up the largest part of the UK economy, employing 76 per cent of the workforce (source:

Task 3: Work through the below task sheet answering all questions…

classifying production task sheet

Use the link below to help complete the task sheet…












Inequalities between and within countries…

Inequalities between and within countries…


Title: Inequalities:


L.O: Identify and explain inequalities between and within countries…

Key Skill Development:




Key Terms:







Starter: Task 1: What do you think these series of cartoons are trying show? discuss with your partner and be ready to share with the class…


Image result for inequality cartoon

(source: Google Image Search)


Image result for inequality cartoon

(source: Google Image Search)

Image result for inequality cartoon

(source: Google Image Search)

Main Development:

Task 2: Inequality on a global scale…


Key Question:

  1. Explain what the Gini Coefficient is (3marks)

Image result for global inequality gdp map

Key Questions:

  1. Define GDP (PPP) Per capita (1mark)
  2. Describe the distribution of GDP (PPP) Per capita on the map above (3marks)

Why is there inequlaity in the world…? Remember this video..???

Use the above links to answer the following short essay style question…




Task 3: You are to use the resources here on GeoSchooley to conduct a 5W Enquiry style case study of economic inequality within the USA… 

A Case Study Investigation Structure for my Notes…

Where is the case study?

  • Write a description of where you are focusing on – where is the biggest economic inequalities…
  • Include a map of the location with vital geographical points of interest…
  • Produce a sketch map of digital print off (or both) of the location (you should highlight key areas)…



Map of USA on a global setting (source: Google Image Search)


Image result for state map of usa

Map of the US states (source:

Data and visualization…


Image result for map inequality in usa



Image result for map inequality in usa


Image result for map inequality in usa



Image result for wage inequality each state in usa



When did this situation become an issue? For how long has inequality been around?

  • Dates
  • Duration
  • Include the sequence of events (like a timeline) to show the speed of onset and the pace of management and recovery

Why did it happen?

  • The physical/social/economical geographical reasons why inequality has taken place…
  • What’s its economical setting?
  • Produce a flow diagram to try and summarize the WHY?

Who has been affected?

  • What were the impacts of inequality within the country?
  • Use SEEP to categorize the impacts…





What happened?

  • Describe the management of inequality – before, during and after?
  • Planning, preparation, prediction, hazard mapping, evacuation, warnings.
  • Help with recovery, aid – local, regional and international, role of NGOs.
  • Finally – produce a one paragraph summary of inequality within the USA.

Homework Independent work time:

Using your knowledge and learning from this lesson answer the following 7mark case study example question from an IGCSE paper…


Q. Using an example you have studied, explain why there are inequalities within a country? (7marks)


Development Indicators…

Development Indicators…


Title: Development Indicators:

L.O: To know how to use a variety of indicators to assess the level of development of a country…

Further Guidance from syllabus: Indicators of development (including GNP per capita, literacy, life expectancy and composite indices, e.g. Human Development Index (HDI)


Task 1: Use your ipads or course text book to define the following development indicators in your note books:

  • GNP per capita
  • Literacy Rate
  • Life Expectancy
  • Human Development Index
  • Single Indices
  • Composite Indices




Image result for cartoon ipad

Main Development:

So what are development indicators…?

Image result for development evolution

Development indicators are a series of data we can use to compare how developed countries are.For example, we can use life expectancy (how long people live for). In Portugal the life expectancy is 82 years of age, whereas in Niger it is 62. This shows that Portugal is more developed than Niger (source adapted from

Why do we have rich and poor countries?


Task 2: Use The below task sheet to investigate The development levels of The following countries using the indicators we are focusing on…(tasks idea derived from

  • Norway
  • China
  • Portugal
  • UK
  • USA
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Australia

Development Indicators task sheet



Could the fact that France won the world cup be an indicator for Development? Explain your answer…


Homework – independent work time:

Create your own table evaluating single indices development measures and composite indices development measures…You have defined the two in your lesson starter…