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There's quite an atmosphere in Year 8 Geography!

Global mindedness is an interesting concept.

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By its very nature it is all-encompassing, broad and covers a multitude of angles as to how it can be interpreted. Geogblog this week would like to emphasise the global mindedness and awareness of our students by demonstrating how they look at their planet in detail and observe it in all its magnificence, starting with the thing that surrounds us all, keeps us all alive, protects us and yet which we take for granted perhaps too much and certainly ignore and disrespect at our peril; the atmosphere. Global mindedness is about respect and care for each other, and the planet itself, therefore we believe this starts with understanding how it works. After all, you can't care for and fix a car engine without understanding how it works, so why should Earth be treated any differently? 

Commonly thought of as just being 'the planet' that we discuss in being 'globally-minded', one often forgets that this idea also encompasses the atmosphere that surrounds it. The atmosphere shields us from too much U.V. rays from the sun, provides us with oxygen, and has just the right pressure to sustain human, plant and animal life. Without it existing as it does, we simply wouldn't be able to live on Earth. So clearly, an examination of it is important for being globally minded. Therefore our Year 8s last week got on their jackets and face-masks, and went outside to see what is happening up there in our all-too-commonly-overlooked 'atmosphere'.  

Measuring the wind speed with our new Geography department gadgets - two brand new digital hand-held anemometers - they calculated different weather conditions within a small environment - commonly known as microclimates. These mini-weather systems are dominant everywhere and create urban heat islands, localised wind patterns and can even affect atmospheric precipitation. The students measured several sites within their area to see if, and what, causes small differences be they walls, external heaters, aspect (sun angle north) and albedo (dark/light surfaces). 

By gathering this data in a scientific manner, students in Year 8 also learn the basics of good, solid research - which can be used to prove hypotheses and patterns. 

Handing over the 'tools of the trade' (2 brand new anemometers, a compass, a map, a pencil, and a sharp pair of eyes) to our young learners, gave them an opportunity to experience their learning more dynamically - as well as demonstrating how knowledge of our planet's weather characteristics (variations in temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, albedo and aspect) can help them to understand their planet before deciding on how to preserve and keep it well for future generations.

So, here are some snapshots of our young Geographers mastering the art of anemometers, note taking and true, vitally important environmental interaction."

Mark Stimpson

Head of Geography / KS3 - IB Geography / KS4 Global Perspectives/ Iceland 2021 Co-ordinator / 7MS Form Tutor