Let’s get practical!

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


Our final ‘In the Know’ webinar took the theme of ‘Grid references and map symbols’, one that links closely to geographical skills and fieldwork.

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, which is great to witness.

Maps are works of art.  There are many types of maps, but they all communicate information, spatially and pictorially, about a particular area, from a theme park to a country to the world.  Understanding maps is an important geographical and life skill, which can be improved with good knowledge of directions and compass points, distance and scale, features, symbols and grid references.

Again, 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 such still rather unpredictable times.

Judging by the reflections in the chat feed towards the end of the session, I think I had quite a positive impact and 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:

  • Great recap of map skills.
  • I need to buy a shed load of resources!
  • Great explanation of six-figure grid references.
  • Some really useful resources to look into and ideas to try out!
  • Feeling very confident with six-figure grid references and OS maps.
  • Useful resources.
  • Good recap; useful resource ideas.
  • The four-figure and six-figure grid references recap was useful.

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

  • The grid references story.
  • Map story using six-figure grid references.
  • Will try and use Digimap for Schools.
  • Digimap for Schools trial and the grid reference story.
  • Sharing different map projections when we next do our ‘wonderful world’ topic.
  • Create some local grid reference stories.
  • Will look at Digimap for Schools.
  • I want to take my class on a field trip using compasses and OS maps.

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

  • So many, Emma, so many!
  • Think more how to integrate ideas for mapwork skills into each of our topics – to help support other teachers.


  • Really interesting to explore the different map projections.
  • The interactive activities.
  • Very helpful on OS maps.
  • Teaching ideas for mapwork.
  • Really clear explanations.
  • I have two different projections of maps in school; it would be great to use some more.
  • Thank you for everything!
  • Thank you so much, Emma.


  • None!

PDF downloads are also available to purchase via the GA’s shop, either as ten individual titles or as a full set (https://www.geography.org.uk/ebooks).  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 have, once again, really enjoyed delivering this set of webinars for the GA.  The feedback from participants has been really positive, which makes the whole experience all the more rewarding.  Many thanks for being such a willing and enthusiastic audience too!

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