Sunday, 4 October 2015


I recently went to see the disaster film, 'Everest' and was left in awe by the landscape and the determinism shown by each of the climbers. It is well worth watching if only for the panoramas of the Himalayas. It gave me a greater understanding of the scale of the world's largest mountain and the challenges that climbers face, often before they even reach the snowy slopes of Everest.

I was so inspired by the film that I have spent the past week planning two lessons about Everest. There are some brilliant resources from the RGS for Key Stage Two students that I have used to inform my planning (link below). The first lesson focuses on the formation of fold mountains and in particular the Himalayas. The students have been learning about plate boundaries, earthquakes and volcanoes so will have the necessary base understanding.

There is a fantastic free resource on Teachit Geography which explains the formation of fold mountains using towels (to represent the rock strata) and heavy boxes (to represent the two plates). I have adapted the worksheet so that students explain the formation process and focus on key terminology.

The second lesson is focused on the 'Death Zone' - the area above 8000m where humans cannot acclimatise, become ill and can die - and how the climbers survive in this extreme environment. I have used one of the RGS worksheets which asks the students to calculate how the temperature changes every 1000m and how the air pressure changes. The second part of the lesson
asks the students to 'blackout'/redact stories of climbing Everest that I found in "The Mammoth Book of Everest: From the first attempts to today, 40 first-hand accounts" (edited by Jon E. Lewis) by Bear Grylls and Rebecca Stephens. This makes the students focus on the important parts of the text. I am planning on handing students black markers and asking them to be ruthless by cutting out words - I had a go earlier so that I can model it too.

I recently went to my first Middle Leader training session and planning these lessons links to one of the opportunities that I wrote in my SWOT analysis of our department. All of the changes to KS3, GCSE and A Level offer us an opportunity to create up to date and engaging lessons. I hope to change these lessons when the DVD of Everest is released to include some of the more memorable scenes. The trailer is in the links below if you are intrigued! If anyone is interested in my lessons, send me a message on Twitter - @Geog_enquirer

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