The following are some start of year exploration activities that I am integrating into my Introduction to Geography and Social Studies lessons over the first 2 weeks of school this year. Many of these activities were inspired by the Hangout for Geography Awareness Week which focused on exploration.
Photo activities (all levels)
- A scavenger hunt of photos taken by me around the school from a variety of perspectives. Some easily found through to harder and weirder perspectives – underneath chairs in the classroom, close-up photo of the corrugated iron external wall on the Social Sciences block etc.
- Students to take a photo that best represents our school on their phone etc. Pair/group activity so they discuss why that shot is a good representation and shots given to me by a certain time so can then share the photos with the class.
(Re)presenting the school
- Give Year 9 students a map of the school and get them to highlight/shade where they feel welcome/not welcome. Will do this within the first couple of lessons, then a week later and then at the end of term and we can see the changing? patterns.
- Students to create a haiku of words that are on signs around the school. A great literacy activity but also an interesting exercise in what language do we portray to students.
My first homework activities of the year
- The first will be for all year levels and is a Geostationary exploration homework activity. Essentially students will have to describe what they can see from where they sit to do homework. Is it a view of a park with children playing and rubbish blowing in the wind, is it walls of posters and plates from last week or is it a kitchen and living room surrounding them. I will do an example in class writing what I can see sitting at a desk in the classroom to give them an idea of what they could write.
- A Sense of Place box (for Year 9 and 10 classes). Students to bring in things that show our community. Whole class one or group activity and can then share with other groups and discuss our community.
I am also looking at getting my Year 9 to 11 students to enter the Barbara Petchenik Children’s Map Competition where they have to create a map that represents the theme of “My Place in Today’s World.”
And of course, Guerrilla Geography Day is on February 7th based upon gender inequalities so I will be getting involved with that as well!
What exciting plans do you have to introduce your students to your class this year?
Updated January 29th 2014:
Guerrilla Geography Day has evolved into a year long project now. Check out Guerrilla Geography Project to get your students involved in a creative project based upon the Misplaced this year.