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A Shared Lesson Plan for International Geodiversity Day

Elaine Hooton, BA(Hons.) PGCE NPQH

For most pupils and students, and indeed many of their teachers, the word ‘geodiversity’ will be far less familiar than ‘biodiversity’. As healthy ecosystems are a complex inter-relationship of living (biotic) and inorganic (abiotic) elements these two words reflect these inter-relating parts. Geodiversity relates to “ the variety of geological, geomorphological, pedological and hydrological features and processes” as outlined by one of the leading researchers in this field, Professor Murray Gray ( ). In this way it is the abiotic equivalent of biodiversity and is the foundation upon which the variety of life on Earth can flourish.

This shared slideshow and article seeks to provide some ideas for how this concept can be introduced to secondary school children and A-level students. Hopefully it can provide a basis for a short section of a lesson, a whole lesson or even a short series of lessons, depending on the age of the students and curriculum time available. As with any teaching resources it is envisaged that it will be adapted, edited and/or added to so that the learning needs of specific classes are met. But a springboard can often be useful!

International Geodiversity Day 061022
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Slide 1 – as the class enters or gathers teachers could focus their attention on the idea of a ‘special day’ or the idea that this year is the inaugural IGD eg what other special days are students aware of and what do they commemorate? Or focus on ‘diversity’ – what do we mean by diversity and in what ways is the world diverse?

Slide 2 – this sets the scene and asks what ‘geodiversity’ is. Asking the students this question through an online interactive tool using their mobiles, such as Mentimeter, encourages and allows all students to be able to articulate their ideas. These can then be projected onto a whiteboard if IT allows and used as a good basis for discussion of the different aspects that they suggest. Teachers can set up Mentimeter accounts for free to do this and there are other interactive softwares available . If IT is restricted then students could be invited to do the same using Post-it notes onto the front board or wall.

Slide 3 – playing the short video linked on this slide helps to clarify the definition of ‘geodiversity’ and will help students to visualise geodiverse places well too. This leads onto asking why it is important and students could do a ‘think-pair-share’ activity on this at this stage (think about the question on their own for a minute, then discuss their thoughts with another student as a pair and then some pairs can be invited to share their discussion with the rest of the class).

Slide 4 – teachers may need to lead students through these three aspects of geodiversity one at a time here. Different rock samples could be brought in for ‘materials’ and images for ‘topography’. If accompanying worksheets are created students could record their ideas for ‘other examples’ individually or it could be the basis of group discussion and recording which is then shared. Examples could be tailored for the local and more immediate area too.

Slide 5 – here the emphasis is on the more complex notion of how aspects of geodiversity interact and so teachers will be able to think best how to explain and exemplify this for their specific classes.

Slide 6 – this slide offers the opportunity for group or individual research. The five aspects could be allocated to five groups within the class to explore and find more detailed information. Younger pupils may need website lists provided to help. Modelling some of this for older students would probably be helpful eg choosing one aspect and one of the prompter questions at the bottom and then demonstrating how an online search for information could be started using search words or questions. For example agriculture+soil or how does soil affect farming.

Slide 7 – this slide focuses on the link of the IGD to UNESCO and thus the UN. Students could be introduced to the SDGs if they haven’t come across them before. As there are 17 of these this could be a paired activity with each student pair using the IGD website to find out how geodiversity links to one of the SDGs and producing a written summary or illustration of this to share. They could contribute a slide onto a collaborative class slideshow covering all the SDGs if IT allows.

Slide 8 , 9 and 10 – these slides invite students to speculate on where the geodiverse places are. They could then focus online research on the specific geology of the place and how this has influenced what happens or has happened there eg the siting of Edinburgh castle on a high point overlooking the city and this topography being an example of the result of it being very resistant, volcanic rock ( ) These are UK based images but easily edited to cover elsewhere!

Slide 11 – as well as providing the answers for guesses this slide gives teachers the opportunity to invite students to think about the layers hidden beneath their feet. We are often invited to look up into space and wonder but it is equally open to the imagination to think about what may lie beneath familiar surfaces. What is there and how did it get there? It may also be helpful to emphasise the life found in underground layers too -

Slide 12 – to wrap it up the IGD logo can be shown or coloured in or made into a badge? And the international aspect of the day emphasised. Using the link to the IGD website allows exploration of the ‘find an event’ GIS map which shows the variety of places engaging and celebrating the wonderful world of GEODIVERSITY.

Enjoy your IGD celebrations!

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