Mrs Humanities

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Resource – Hexagon Revision Tasks


After making the suffragette market place and visual hexagon activity yesterday, I realised how easy visual hexagons were to make.

In the final week of this term year 11 are doing some revision, after a suggestion from Mr Logue I thought I’d make a a visual hexagon activity to go along with the other tasks I have created to help them revise the current topic on the Economic Change.

changing economy

I then got a bit carried away and started making a few more. I figured I could add them as a revision resource to the GCSE Help Yourself Resource Display. I’ve not used them in class before but I imagine they are a productive revision tool, so it won’t be wasted time.

I thought I’d shared what I’ve created with you, simply go to the dropbox to access & download them.

The ones I’ve made are based around the content of the Edexcel B Geography Spec, but I’m sure they would be applicable to others.

I’ll add more as I make them. Please feel free to add your own.Mrs Humanities

Note: Visual Hexagon Inspiration from JIVESPIN

Note: I do not own the copyright to the images within the hexagons; to find the source of images please click the image in the document.


Using Sources Support Mat history

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Resource – Using Sources Support Mat

Using Sources Support MatAs part of the ‘Help Yourself’ Resource Station, I’ve been making ‘slow’ progress on creating resources for my students to use to develop their independence in the classroom.


The idea is if a student is stuck they can collect relevant resources from the station to support them. Resources come in two types – topic specific such as information sheets on the subject content stored in the Current Topic or skill support such as literacy mats and source analysis overlays stored in the trays on the table below the board.

Last term one of my year groups focused on source interpretation in their History topic, next term they are looking at source analysis. To help them become more independent with this I’ve created a support mat, this is likely to be used in conjunction with the Source Overlays from ActiveHistory and on their own later in the topic/year.


Download – Source Mat

Hope it can be of use to you.

Mrs Humanities


Directed Improvement and Reflection Time Sheets

I’ve always felt marking to be an important yet time consuming aspect of the job. Throughout my NQT year I felt that my marking went unnoticed by the students most of the time; they just wanted to know what grade they got and didn’t take notice of the advice they were given. A  lot has changed since then and I’ve realised the power of meaningful feedback.

This year I’ve worked on engaging learners in the feedback process by developing meaningful self and peer assessment as well as incorporating Directed Improvement and Reflection Time into the planning of my schemes of work.

I feel if we spend the time marking, it might as well be beneficial and productive for the students; it should have an impact and encourage development of their work. Therefore a few months ago I set about creating some DIRT sheets, which I’ve used with my classes in a number of ways. For instance after GCSE students completed an exam question, they were given feedback and re-wrote their answer to the same question – it was quite clear when marking it the second time around that the feedback had been beneficial and they’d progress. Another way I’ve used them has been after KS3 pupils have created a piece of extended writing, pupils were given feedback and then had the choice to either improve their SPaG, to level up or to quite simply improve their answer.

Since creating my original DIRT sheets which have been used across the school, as well as my departmental DIRT display I’ve become more and more interested in marking and feedback. I was recently invited to take part in the work scrutiny which I found really insightful and have since been researching additional techniques.

Whilst I was thinking about and researching marking and feedback, I decided to make a few subject specific DIRT sheets for other staff to use.
English directed improvement and reflection time geography directed improvement and reflection time history directed improvement and reflection time maths directed improvement and reflection time science directed improvement and reflection time tech directed improvement and reflection time
French directed improvement and reflection time tech directed improvement and reflection time

Can you work out the subjects?

How to use

The idea is that once learners have read and taken on board the feedback in which they are given, they then improve or level up their work on a DIRT sheet.

I’ve found they help to make the improvements stand out in their books and for some reason they help to improve presentation, which is never a bad thing.

If you’d like to use my DIRT sheets, you can find them here. 

Feedback is always appreciated.

Mrs Humanities

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Resource – Rainforest Role Play Game

Rainforest Role Playing GameSome of you may have noticed my post last month on twitter about my proposed role playing game to teach about the tropical rainforest.

Now that we’ve finally played the game I thought I’d share it with you.


Primarily a decision making exercise; pupils are given a role to play and have to make decisions and contributions to the game based upon their role. In this scenario pupils are taking on the role of a variety of pre-created roles but you could easily get them to come up with their own.

Game Scenario

Pupils were introduced to the survival scenario – they were in a private plane as part of a group going tio carry out research in the Amazon rainforest when they hit trouble in the skies causing their plane to crash just south of the Amazon river. They now need to work as a team, using each others strengths to survive.

RPG game scenario


Each role was carefully thought out in advance to ensure the pupils would be able to ‘think’ like the person and so they had a particular skill to contribute to the challenge.

RPG character roles


In order to play the game, each group were given a copy of the instruction sheets, a set of 3 option cards and a pack of cards with a variety of natural and human resources that would be available to them from either the rainforest environment or the plane. They were also given 12 blank cards and a white board pen.

In addition some groups were provided with ‘Survival Cards’ these were tips and ideas to help them consider what to build and how to survive.

Option Cards

RPG option cards

Resource Cards

resource cards 1 resource cards 2

Survival Cards

survival cards

At the front of the room I had a “Mission Complete” table where paper, colouring pencils, scissors were kept along with the dice to roll as part of missions 2 and 5.

The Game 

Each group were given a variety of cards – firstly the option cards, secondly natural resource cards and thirdly human resource cards. They then had a number of blank cards to add a suitable resource they may have had in their luggage or on the plane that could help them to survive; whilst the captain and plane hostess had up to 3 – the captain had a spare for later on in  the game.

RPGOnce roles were chosen and pupils had sorted the cards into separate piles the game started. For each mission they had to design something to meet the challenge on the option card they’d chosen. If they had read the instructions carefully before started they would have realised that they had very little water and this would should be their first option as they had shelter in the form of the plane and a short supply of food available.

RPG game

The pupils carried out each mission in turn, showing their completed design to me after missions 1 and 3 to confirm whether they passed or not. Essentially what I had been looking for was a labelled their diagram, an explanation of their design and justification of their reasoning behind it; if they achieved these they were allowed to move on. Failure to meet these criteria meant they were sent back to ‘adjust’ their design.

Pupils were encouraged to use the names of features found in the rainforest as well as the layers etc. in their explanations. Whilst they did well at referring to the layers and characteristics of the layers developed from the previous lesson, the one thing I found was they were not using the natural resource cards to full affect.


How did they win? Well in short they had to complete all of the missions set, unfortunately when I played with the first class only 1 team worked together effectively enough to make it through the missions and survive the rainforest. The second class however…. well they all perished as a result of to much enthusiasm. They just simply did not read the instructions or work effectively enough as a team to complete the challenges; perils of the rainforest I guess.


Firstly the decision making aspect of the game was most effective, there were so many ideas being discussed with a variety of debates over heard. The pupils were using their knowledge of the rainforest layers studied in the previous lesson to make decisions, along with the work we’d done on Preparing for Natural Disasters in term 3 where they considered human needs and survival skills.

Secondly it developed my pupils use of geographical terminology and reasoning; it was very interesting overhearing conversations and debates where pupils were disagreeing with one another based on their understanding.

Thirdly, it appealed to the boys. Raising boys achievements has been an aim this term; this worked. They had the opportunity to design, verbally discuss, lead etc. all of which involved little to no writing. They were pleased yet they made such progress. #win

Areas for Improvement 

More time – an hour was not enough. 1.5 hours would be ideal for this activity to give them the time to design, label and explain effectively.

More role play – whilst some groups truely took on the role of their character their were many that just thought like themselves. Next time I’d like a few props to get them into character.

More use of the resource cards – pupils were clearly making use of the human resources, there were designs with straws and bottles to catch water, ponchos over tree branches for shelter and so on but they lacked natural resources in their designs. Whilst they discussed for instance they layer in which they’d hang their water catchers and why, they weren’t using a great deal of the terminology introduced during this lesson. Next time I’d make a rule that they have to bring up the resource cards used and demonstrate where they’ve used them in their designs.

Overall though it was a very enjoyable success.

Can I use it?

If you’d like to use my resources head over here for the resource.

download here

Since I don’t own the copyright on the images on the resource cards, I’ve taken them out. I’ve left the Survival Cards images as I’ve hyper-linked to their source.

Let me know if you use it, any feedback would be appreciated.

Mrs Humanities

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Resource – Farming and Diversification

farm diversification At the moment year 8 are studying a topic on Food and Farming.

They started by looking at different types of farming, then moved onto subsistence vs. commercial farming.

Later they carried out a historical enquiry into how farming has changed – we looked at a local case study of hop picking.

We spent two lesson interpreting historical resources using the source overlay I shared last week and a set of rotation squares. They then spent a lesson writing a levelled report on how hop picking has changed using the sources they had previously studied.

To bring the topic together next week we are looking at issues in farming and the idea of farm diversification. Mrs Judd aka @geographyJudd very kindly sent me her resources for a recent lesson she had carried out on farm diversification which is going to be great.

I’ve adapted it to suite my learners and was then inspired to carry out an enquiry into the possibility of farm diversification within the college site. Fortunately the school is located with the grounds of a rural, land based college so we are fortunate to have agricultural land around us.

In the 1 hour lesson my students will be going to 3 fields around the site that are used in different ways.

Two are pastures for livestock, one near a road the other near the school car park, whilst the final site is the college playing field.

Students will be expected to work in groups to carry out a landscape detective survey, visual analysis and annotated field sketches. The landscape detective survey and visual analysis were inspired by work from FACE-Online.  I’ve taken their ‘How farmers make decisions’ exercise and adapted to suit my needs.

The aim of the investigation is to determine which of the 3 sites the college should use to offer ‘Glamping’ facilities during the summer months to earn an extra income from the agricultural land. They must think like farmers in order to ensure the land can be returned to his former use after the summer. They will have to consider the needs of the holiday makers as well their own.

Each group will be given an investigation booklet, clipboards, a compass and the aim of the investigation. The higher ability students I will encourage to be independent, they can read through the booklet and ask questions whilst the lower ability I will go through each task to ensure they understand what is expected of them.

First student must  read through the booklet and take responsibility of a task in the field.

front cover

Pupils will then start by recapping the 4 and 8 point compass and then as a group must carry out a risk assessment.

risk assessment task

The tasks include the following for each site


analysis 2

Finally there’s a page for additional notes


Once jobs have been divided and pupils are clear on the expectations we’ll head to the 3 sites and carry out our data collection.

I’ve never had the opportunity to carry out field work other than with GCSE groups for their controlled assessments so I hope it works.

Finally for the next two weeks they will write up their findings and present either a power-point presentation or written report on their decision.

report writing

I want them to start using graphs and data presentation they might be expected to use at GCSE, so I’ve planned for a computer lesson to enable each student to create and complete a kite diagram on the visual analysis of each site.

kite diagram

Hopefully it will work out. If not, it’ll be an experience to reflect upon and improve for next year.

Hope it’s given you ideas. If you’d like a copy of the resource click here.

Mrs Humanities


Resource – UK Population Distribution

UK Population Distribution Resources
Last week it was our self-evaluation week so observations galore. Fortunately we know in advance when we will be observed, giving us time to prepare.

I was booked in to be observed teaching a low ability year 7 class. The topic of the lesson was UK population patterns. I’ve taught the topic many times over the last few years but had never come up with a way to make it distinctly ‘active’. Usually it has involved discussing population distribution in the classroom, demonstrating sparse and dense population densities and looking at a few maps to describe and find reasons for the patterns.

I knew this would not be engaging enough this time. I struggled for ideas initially but eventually came up with this…..differentiated task pots

I’d set similar tasks to those I carried out in the past but created more choice, challenge and engagement.

There were cards sorts instead of a powerpoint, worksheets instead of well a powerpoint… I’m sure you get how it’s been carried out before.

I started by creating 3 levels of task, identified by a spice grading.

l3 worksheet l4 worksheet l5 worksheet

(please note I do not own the copyright of the maps used, they were in resources I’d used at a previous school and I’ve taken them out of the versions you can download)

I’ve used spice rating many a time before but thought I’d add some intrigue to the task by placing the card sort materials into takeaway cartons. And yes, it worked, the students were eager to engage with the tasks in order to open their carton.

spice 1 spice 3 spice 2

In each container there were cards suited to the task set on the worksheet.

Level 3 (spice rating 1) – cards to sort into sparse or dense
Level 4 (spice rating 2) – cards to sort into those relevant to London or the Scottish Highlands
Level 5 (spice rating 3) – 4 location cards and both picture and text cards to help explain why there would be a sparse or dense population.

The opportunity to write on the tables with a white board pen I imagine helped make the activity engaging.

population distribution task

I used for the first time WAGOLL  (what a good one looks like) to demonstrate to the students what I would be looking for as part of the level 5 card sort task. It helped them to focus on what my expectations were and how they should go about it. Will definitely use WAGOLL again.


The feedback from the lesson was very positive (judged Outstanding, even though I don’t like gradings).

You can download my resources below.

I’ve take images out but you can easily replace them.

level 3 worksheetlevel 4 worksheetlevel 5 worksheetpopulation distribution card sort population distribution

Hope the resources are of use.

Mrs Humanities


Resource – Source Analysis

source analysisLast month on twitter I spotted this post and knew I could make use of this idea.

I responded to the tweet and they very kindly sent me a copy of their source analysis overlay along with the original idea by @russelltarr aka @activehistory. I immediately made my own version following the inspiration.

original source overlay

It’s quite simple to create the overlay, you just cut out the ‘white’ area of your printed sheets and laminate or pop them into a plastic wallet like I did.

I’ve used the idea twice so far. First time I used it was with year 8 to help them to interpret primary and secondary sources; initially they used it to make sense of the source and then they started to consider how useful the source had been to their enquiry about farming and land use change in Kent. The discussion and interpretation was interesting to hear. Although I think this group need a lesson on the difference between wine and beer 😉

IMG_0365 (2)

They’ll be using this approach again this week, but I’ve changed the questions a bit to encourage them to make interpretations of the sources they are looking at rather than assess the usefulness of the source.

source overlay

The second time I used it with year 11 in their study of Rosa Park’s actions on December 1st 1955 and the resulting Montgomery bus boycott. The task encouraged them to interpret and assess the usefulness of the sources. Something I’ve had to spend a lot of time on since taking over the department. They said they felt ‘wrong’ writing on the tables which really seemed to engage them, it’s not often that I have such a quiet classroom with this class. The next lesson they wrote an extended piece of writing using success criteria, which clearly demonstrated their progress from this lesson.

yr 11

You can download my templates by clicking on the images or download them here.

If you use them share the results with me on twitter and I’m sure @activehistory would be keen to them as well.

Hope it’s another useful idea.

Mrs Humanities


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Resource – Population Study Mat

population matMy year 10’s have all come from a variety of different secondary schools before joining ours in September. As a result it is a struggle finding out what they do and don’t know for each topic. Usually it is very varied and often I find quite a significant number have very patchy KS3 knowledge of Geography.  Therefore much of the time I have to teach KS3 content before I can move on to teaching the KS4 content – not great when there is such depth and breadth required by the specification and only 2 hours a week to teach the course.

For the next 3-4 weeks we are studying population dynamics. To speed things up a bit I’ve created this Population Study Mat. Each pupil will have a copy of the double sided mat with key terms and helpful hints to use each lesson.


I’m encouraging them to make use of revision sites at home so have used images that would be familiar to them. These are not my own images hence why I have included the original source.

In the downloadable version I’ve removed the images but you could easily add your own.

download population mat

Click the image to download the word document

Hope you can make use of it.

Mrs Humanities

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Antarctic Exploration – The Shackleton Vs. Scott Debate

Antarctic explorationRecently Mr Humanities and I were discussing which was the greater explorer, Scott or Shackleton. Now my money was on Shackleton, fortunately Mr Humanities and I are like peas in a pod and he agreed with me before I’d even started my triumphant speech. It got me thinking though…. this could be a great class activity.

Next time I teach the ‘Exploration and Adventure‘ topic, I’ve decided I’m going to lose a lesson on a modern adventurer and instead teach about both explorers. For homework the pupils will then compare and contrast the expeditions, discoveries and achievements of both parties in preparation for a debate lesson.

I remember studying both Scott and Shackleton briefly at University. It sparked an interest and I wish there’d been greater opportunity to study their expeditions and achievements in greater detail. Now is the time to further expand that knowledge. So with today being the birthday of Ernst Shackleton, here are some useful links to support the teaching of their historic adventures.


Ernst Shackleton
BBC Biography

Shackleton Epic – An Australian site with lots of interesting information and a variety of teaching resources.

Shackleton in Schools – Interesting site with a small array of resources mostly aimed at KS1 and 2, the links page is particularly useful.

South – The story of Shackleton’s 1914-1917 expedition – downloadable e-book.

Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure  – resources to accompany the film with the same title.


Robert Falcon Scott
BBC Biography

Scott’s Last Expedition – New Zealand based website with lots of relevant information to support teaching

Scott’s Last Expedition Teacher Resource Book – variety of activities

Captain Scott’s Journey – Resources to about the environment and experiences of Scott’s team during the Race to the South Pole.

Captain Scott of the Antarctic  – Teaching resources of the expedition


Other Resources
BBC – What makes a modern hero? – a possible way to introduce the two explorers, discussion could take place around what do pupils think makes a modern hero/adventurer/explorer?

Antarctic Heroes – Plenty of information and resources from another New Zealand based website – particularly useful for looking at the lives of explorers whilst on expeditions to Antarctica.

Scott Polar Research Institute – An interesting site with an array of polar research that could be relevant to the classroom

RGS Resources on Antarctica – Resources for KS1-2 which could be adapted for KS3, particularly low ability students.

Education Through Expeditions – a website I’ve recently discovered for a “non-profit organisation with a vision to inspire young people to learn more about the world around them and provide resources which can enhance the way environmental education is delivered in the classroom.”


Hope these are of use.

Mrs Humanities


Resource – Exploration and Adventure

assessment resourcesThis term year 8 have been studying the world of exploration and adventurer. I found this great scheme of work and resources on the TES and have used it as the basis for this terms work.

Whilst I did a lot to make the lessons suitable for my students, the resources were brilliant informative and engaging.

I liked the homework idea of the adventurer profiles and kept with them but made 3 templates for the students to choose from. I wanted them to investigate the types of adventure others have had and to understand their motivations and challenges. This worked well for the higher sets but some of the lower set struggled with the research, my fault really. Next year I will give some ‘fact-sheets’ to the lower ability students with key information and they just need to decide what information is relevant for their profile.

My favourite part of the topic has to be the assessment. I want my students to want to explore the world, we’ve looked at an array of explorers and adventures throughout the past 100 years or so and now it’s their turn to design their own adventure. For homework the week prior to the assessment I have set them the task of coming up with their ideas and bringing in some research to aid their decision making.

The homework set for each ability group was slightly different.

Set 1 had the task of researching 3-5 locations they would like to visit on their journey, which had to include 2 different environments. This wasn’t limited to the destination but could also include the journey. I wanted them to also bring in some key information about their chosen locations such as daily/night-time temperatures, annual rainfall, hours of daylight etc to help them consider the challenges they might face.

Set 2 were similar except the key information was suggested as a stretch and challenge task within the homework set.

Set 3 were told to research just 1-2 locations they’d like to visit. I will be providing them with fact sheets on 3 different locations which they will choose from in addition to their own choices. In addition they were provided with a sheet of possible choices to support their research.

The Assessment

Yes the National Curriculum underlies the basic ideas of the assessment but my main purpose of THIS assessment is to develop their interest in the wider world and their locational knowledge. I’ve noticed over the last few years that learners have a limited general knowledge of the world, often influenced through media and the likes. I want this to change which I why I was eager to develop a topic on adventure and exploration this year to inspire that interest and intrigue to the rest of the amazing features of our planet…. hopefully it might encourage some  of them to take a higher role in conserving it.

The assessment scenario is that the Royal Geographical Society* are running a competition to fund an expedition with a prize of £10,000. The pupils have to plan their adventure and complete one of two tasks based upon ability. The higher task will be letter to the RGS outlining the adventure idea whilst the other task is to complete an application form about the adventure.

higher ability assessment task assessment task

This assessment is to be covered over two lessons. The first lesson is the so-called planning stage – pupils will be given an A3 sheet with a series of questions to enable them plan their adventure. I’ve two versions of the sheet, one with a few more hints than the other to direct thinking. The second lesson students will be completing the extended writing task.

higher ability assessment plan lower ability assessment plan

In order to scaffold students the application form features questions and sentence starters to focus their answers on the details required. Here’s an example –

Application Template

In addition I created a feedback grid to go with the application sheet to make marking less time consuming whilst giving success criteria for the levels.

AFL feedback sheet

Last week after introducing the homework I had a number of students tell me there wonderful ideas, hopefully the rest will be as excited about this assessment next week.

For a download of each resource click the icons below

assessment taskassessment task sheetplanning sheetplanning sheet with scaffoldapplication template

Thanks for visiting. Feedback welcomed.

Mrs Humanities

* please note the RGS are not running such a competition and have no affiliation with the resources produced here.

Creative Commons License

These resources are created by Mrs Humanities and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Based on a work at