Making Connections in Year 8 Geography

  • Middle School
ICS Wheel

As a teacher, I personally love when I see students making connections.  It may be that a student recalls something from earlier in the year, or even a previous year, and finds a way to relate it to what we are currently discussing in class.  Sometimes someone in class recognizes a connection to something she is studying in another subject or something experienced outside of school.  These types of connections are important and reinforce learning.

Another type of connection is found when we can recognise that our planet is an interconnected system.  Humans, wildlife and non-living natural things in the physical world all influence and have an impact on each other.  Things that happen in the physical world, such as melting ice caps or changes in weather patterns, in turn have consequences on the lives of humans and wildlife.  At the same time, the actions of humans, such as the emission of greenhouse gases or deforestation change the lives of plants and animals and contribute towards changes in the physical world - the rising of sea levels, for example.

While studying the consequences of Climate Change in Year 8 Geography, students created Spider Maps to help them visually see the connections between people, wildlife and the physical environment.  I divided students into groups.  Each group focused on one of the three parts of the system.  At the end of the lesson we came together to create a giant Spider Map.  The final, and most important step, was to draw arrows between elements in the three categories so that students could better recognize how an impact of climate change in the physical environment influences what happens to people; what happens in the physical world also affects the planet’s wildlife; and so on.

My hope is that by the end of the lesson, students were reminded that our lives are not somehow separated from the natural world, but rather tightly intertwined and interconnected with it.

- Mr Opas, Teacher of MHS Geography & English

Antonio's Spider Map
Giacomo's Spider Map
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