This module introduces students to the topical issue of conflict, a concept that can be challenging to teach. A particular focus of the module is the extent to which conflict can influence, and be influenced by, geography
Through the study of historical and contemporary conflicts on a range of scales, each lesson encourages students to develop an awareness of the causes and impacts of conflict, and of the interconnectedness that results in links between conflict and their own lives.
In the first lesson of the module, students define and differentiate between the concepts of conflict and war. They consider the scale (local to global) and chronology (historic to current) of conflicts that have occurred across the world and over time, and are introduced to the idea that the pattern of conflict in the world today can be mapped.
The majority of conflicts result from a narrow range of causes. In this second lesson, students consider these causes and apply their knowledge of them to consideration of where and why conflicts might arise in the future. In addition, the issue of climate change is explored as a contemporary cause of conflict through the example of water resource shortages in Darfur, western Sudan.
Conflict resulting from dispute over land or resource ownership can have a dramatic effect on world geography through the redefining of political boundaries. After the First World War, the map of Europe was redrawn following the Treaty of Versailles. In this lesson, students are asked to draw on their historical knowledge to consider the new geography of Europe that emerged at this time, before applying this to other conflicts which have had an impact on political boundaries.
The physical geography of a place can have a major impact on conflict in terms of both the siting of defensive settlements and in battle. Its role was recognised in the victory of the Normans in the Battle of Hastings, and in more recent conflicts. Focusing on the case study of Iraq, this lesson encourages students to consider and explain the influence that the physical landscape can have on successful battle strategy.
This lesson focuses on Afghanistan. Using a list of suggested resources, students conduct an enquiry into the impact that the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan has had on the development of the country. They write up their results in the form of a report for the BBC News website, and participate in peer assessment of each other's work.
The final lesson of this module encourages students to consider and explain the links between themselves and conflict in different parts of the world. These links may take a variety of forms, some of which may come as a surprise to the students, for example the supply of coltan for mobile phone manufacture from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Drawing on the knowledge they have acquired throughout the unit, students prepare a Google Earth presentation to visually demonstrate the links.
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