The ‘Grand Alpine Tour’, undertaken in the summer of 2014, encompassed a six thousand mile journey through some of the Alps’ toughest terrain
Where is the Aosta Valley and what is it like?
How might we manage landslides in Alpine areas?
How might monitoring landslides make the Alpine region a safer place?
What are the problems associated with different landslide management techniques?
Explain to students that now they have an idea of how research might be carried out in the field, they need to also think about how it might be useful in a practical sense to people who live in the Alps.
As an introduction to the location in question, students can be given a copy of ‘Introducing the Aosta Valley Handout’.
Students can choose which features they would need to add to a base map in order to better understand the region and the management of landslide risk.
Students should be able to justify their choices in the context of the wider decision making exercise.
Students can undertake a decision making exercise by working their way through the different tasks in the ‘Aosta Valley’s Landslides Decision Making Exercise Handout’.
All task outcomes can be recorded on the handout.
At each stage they can think about how the data or task helps them to understand the problem of landslides in the area and how researchers may inform this process.
More information on various landslide management techniques can be found in ‘More Information about Landslide Management Handout’.
Once they have decided on a management plan, the final task asks them to justify their choice with reference to all the information in the handout. This can be presented to their peers or fed back via an open discussion depending on the time available.
The base map of the region on the penultimate page of the booklet can be copied to A3 size if needed to create a presentation tool for students.
Students should now understand how Alpine researchers work as well as what impact their research can have on people’s everyday lives.
Given everything they have covered, students can be given the chance to think about their programme of study in a wider context.
Students can be asked to imagine themselves as a teacher teaching this unit of work. What would they teach as the next logical lesson? What patterns are there in the ways that geographers might study a topic such as this?
This can be done as a whole class discussion or as a ‘Think, Pair, Share’ exercise (one minute to think on their own; two minutes to discuss their ideas with a peer and then five minutes open discussion as a class) on the question.
Students can research the different types of landslide and how different climatic conditions might affect the likelihood of them happening. From this, students could write a ‘Recipe for a Landslide’ which combines weather conditions, human land use and geology as well as other factors which the students may research.
Using ‘More Information about Landslide Management Handout’, students could carry out a cost-benefit analysis in relation to each technique and for a particular region of the Alps.
Imagining themselves as one of the original ‘Grand Tourists’, students could write a diary entry for the day they enter the Alps. Details to include could be their first impressions, any problems they encounter and how they view the crossing.
'From the field' Awards - Inspiring fieldwork supported by the RGS-IBG
Delivered in collaboration with The Goldsmiths' Company, these awards enable geography teachers to work alongside practioners at the cutting edge of geographical research to develop educational resources for the classroom.
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