Geographical Association (GA) ‘In the Know’ webinar series


Thursday afternoon soon comes around again … time for another ‘In the Know’ webinar.  This week the focus was on ‘Mountains and volcanoes’, one of my favourite themes to teach when I was in the classroom.

Word seems to have spread about our weekly webinars as our audience continues to grow, both in real time and for listening/viewing when time allows.  If you have yet to attend one of the webinars, but wish to discover more, then further details of the course programme and overview, along with its overall aims and outcomes and fees, can be found by accessing the web-link below:

Mountains can be tourist attractions, national symbols, a country’s borders, the source of a country’s mineral wealth, inspirational, spiritual and challenging, as well as loved by artists, climbers and engineers alike.  The connection between mountains and volcanoes lies at the molten core of our planet, where the gradual cooling of the Earth’s core over millions of years has formed the mountains and volcanoes we see today.  This geological formation of Earth is constant.  Often, in the News, volcanoes demonstrate the raw power of nature and are a stark reminder of how our world was so violently created and how our human existence is dependent on a thin crust of the Earth’s surface that lies above these primal, elemental forces beneath.

I endeavoured to integrate a number of interactive activities and teaching ideas into the webinar as previous feedback suggested these were features that participants had particularly enjoyed and appreciated.  It also helps teachers feel they are part of a supportive community, something that must be reinforced during these challenging times with still limited face-to-face contact.

Judging by the reflections in the chat feed towards the end of the session, participants found the webinar to be extremely useful; a quick, easy and cost-effective means of boosting their subject knowledge.  Some of their concluding comments (summing up their learning in five words or a sentence or two) can be viewed below:

  • Types of volcanoes and their features.
  • Fun!
  • Different types of volcanoes.
  • Types of volcanoes and how they are formed.
  • Types of mountains.
  • Deepening of understanding of a volcano.
  • It really deepened my knowledge of mountains and volcanoes (features and facts) with great classroom ideas!
  • Interesting facts about mountains.
  • Developing overall confidence and knowledge.
  • Deepened my knowledge on volcanoes.  Very interesting.
  • Interesting and helpful ideas for mountains and volcanoes.
  • Cross-curricular links to English.
  • How volcanoes/mountains are formed.

When asked to list any of the suggested teaching ideas that they might ‘give a go’, many stated the following:

  • Oracy activities.
  • Creating the 3-D cross-section of a volcano.
  • Use maps re: ‘pin the tail on the donkey’.
  • 3-D models.
  • Use of websites/webcams to identify mountains/volcanoes.
  • Using a photograph for descriptive writing.
  • Maps; 3-D models.
  • Generating sentences about an image in English.
  • 10 adjectives to describe the picture, then sentences.
  • Answering a question by placing themselves on a continuum line.

Attendees were also encouraged to consider any changes that they might make to current teaching and learning in their school.  These included:

  • Probably the depth we go into.
  • Use Google Earth Pro.
  • More emphasis on embedding subject- specific vocabulary.
  • Using the GA to inform planning in KS2 (which we are growing; currently we have up to Year 3).
  • Use of subject-specific vocabulary.
  • Download resources, etc. and save video for further CPD.
  • Using Digimap for Schools more.
  • The RGS-IBG scheme of work/module is fantastic!
  • Including the oracy links as a focus as we are an ‘oracy school’.


  • Pace, content and delivery.
  • Useful teaching ideas.
  • Pace and content were brilliant.
  • Useful practical teaching ideas.
  • Everything – knowledge and activities.
  • Teaching ideas and web-links.
  • Really informative.  Useful links.
  • Thanks for the links.
  • Lots of useful ideas to use in the classroom.  Great links to try.
  • That was great, thank you once again.  See you next week.
  • Thank you; great again
  • Thank you.  These are a great resource for us all re: CPD opportunities.


  • How to differentiate the activities?

PDF downloads are also available to purchase via the GA’s shop, either as ten individual titles or as a full set (  These provide straightforward, accurate and trustworthy background knowledge, explanation, diagrams and glossary on topics in the geography National Curriculum so that teachers can develop their geography teaching with confidence.

I look forward to our fourth webinar of the series next Thursday afternoon, which will explore ‘Latitude, longitude, day and night’.

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