I have been running a small experiment with one of my year 7 classes. I have been looking at whether practical demonstrations of geographical concepts improve their understanding. Against this, I have introduced some concepts with a far more textual based approach.
The most recent was longshore drift whilst studying coasts. The whole class came outside and one pupil was given an inflatable globe, I explained where the sea was and where the beach was and told everyone to have a sunbathe and listent on the ‘beach’ whilst we went through the ideas.
The first pupil was a wave and the globe a piece of sand. We walked through the prevailing wind ( luckily it was windy that day so we built that in), where the materials goes and the notion of the backwash being at 90 degrees.
Then the class had to all pretend to be sand particles and get from one end of the ‘beach’ to the other, whilst being fired differentiated, directed questions about the process.
Normally, I may have just used David Rogers’ excellent dream teachers clip to walk the class through it, so the summary of the demonstration was to draw a perfect longshore drift diagram. 90% of the class produced a diagram of GCSE standard and those who didn’t only had the angle of the backwash or swash/backwash the wrong way round!
Even though this worked perfectly, it is clear that all of one type of task is not the answer as this practical approach was not great with the Burgess Model, so I am going to keep going to see exactly which tasks it works brilliantly with!