Thursday, 28 April 2016

Local Studies: 4 Hands-on Geography Lessons

Locality based learning is a huge part of the Geography curriculum. With that in mind, here are some simple lesson ideas and resources that can be connected to the children's local natural and human environment. 

1. Rocks and Fossils:
Discuss the PowerPoint below. If you are teaching in a 5th/6th class you may want to bulk out the information by mentioning the specific categories these rocks fall into: Metamorphic, Sedimentary and Igneous and explaining how they are formed.

Types of rock from SeniorInfants
You can download and edit this PowerPoint from Dropbox here.

After they understand the different types of rock in Ireland (and how they are formed), give each group a set of three rocks (marble, limestone and granite) to draw, name and answer questions on using this worksheet for a 3rd/4th class or this worksheet for a 5th/6th class. As a follow up, the class can be brought out on a nature walk to find specific rock types in the locality. 

2. Transport in the Locality:

In pairs/small groups the children can complete this worksheet. It includes activities where they: name different modes of transport and list ways transport could be improved in their area, survey what transport children in the class use most often, and map out their school's catchment area. 

Note: Since this activity focuses on local transport, it is necessary to edit some of the activities to suit your own school. My school is situated in a rural area so some of the questions about the school's catchment area may need to be altered if the activities are being covered in an urban environment.

3. Mapping The Locality:
Begin the lesson by discussing the purpose of maps. Look at some sample maps online (I like this map) and ask why there are pictures, letters and different colours on the map. Discuss what a key is and how symbols are used to represent some important things in the area. Show them a map like the one of Dublin Harbour and ask what symbols they can spot on it and what they might stand for.
After this, they could complete the Make a Map Key activity on this page, by finding the symbols used in the map of Raheny. They could also play this matching game as a class or on their computers.
As a follow up lesson, have the children draw a map of their journey to school including symbols to represent features of the local environment (roads, water, forestry, bogs, churches, schools, etc.) and a key. Give an example of how this would be done on the board by describing and drawing your own trip to school.

4. Trees of Ireland:
Having discussed the different types of trees that can be found in Ireland using the PowerPoint below, each group can be given some leaves to trace around and name in their copy. 

Trees from SeniorInfants
You can download and edit this PowerPoint from Dropbox here.
In the following lesson, the children can be brought on a nature walk to answer questions on this activity sheet.

If you are interested in more lessons ideas for senior classes check out my posts on the following topics: MyselfItalySpaceFood and the Aztec Empire.

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