So apt given the ‘geography in the News’ at this moment in time!

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.  Having an active chat feed, open discussions and a Q&A slot also helps teachers feel they are part of a supportive community.

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:

  • Different types and features of mountains; volcanoes.
  • Lots of new vocabulary.
  • Interesting; new vocabulary.
  • Interesting and informative, especially with the different types of mountains.
  • Great classroom ideas and resources!
  • Refreshed knowledge, inspired geological activities.
  • Different types of mountains, where they are found and how volcanoes are formed.
  • I was interested to hear about the different types of volcanoes and the features of mountains.  I learned many new words.

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

  • The diagram to be labelled.
  • Labelling rather than drawing.
  • Continuum line – challenging learners to reason through their choice of position on the line.
  • Viewing the volcano webcams.
  • In role/hot-seating someone from a photo on a mountain.
  • The mountain description and creating a cross-section of a volcano.
  • The volcano websites/webcams.
  • Incorporating Forest School.
  • Modelling the volcano.
  • The volcano webcams.
  • Loved the description of the photograph and hot-seating the person skiing.

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

  • Asking the children to be in role on a mountain side to encourage higher order thinking.
  • Make sure prior knowledge is used.
  • Really embed the vocabulary used.
  • Questioning why people live near volcanoes.
  • Purchase ‘Running on the Roof of the World’ to support colleagues.


  • Good ideas.  Looking forward to reading the book you recommended about the mountains.
  • Refreshed geographical knowledge and provided a good range of teaching ideas.
  • The session was very informative with links to websites.  Great teaching ideas!
  • Teaching ideas.
  • New ideas to integrate into current practice.
  • Useful websites.
  • Good ideas for activities.


  • None.  A good opportunity to put aside time to think about geography.

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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