Saturday, 24 January 2009

Avalanches

I have been preparing resources for a joint SfE / GA conference which was being organised for the new GCSE specifications, but has unfortunately been cancelled.

One focus area was that of Avalanches

What pedagogy could be used to teach about avalanches ?
What approaches to delivering 'content' so that it sticks, and becomes part of the learning process, and can also be assessed in a way which allows students to achieve ?

The first area that has to be tackled is to look at the specs and see what will be part of the assessment.

Edexcel ‘A’: Avalanches and their management

a. The physical and human causes and effects of an avalanche in a named location.

b. Prediction and prevention of the effects of avalanches by forecasting, the design of buildings and defences, planning and education.

So let's choose a location first of all.

Where would be appropriate ?

The Alps are a popular ski destination, and have been for many decades. There are many ski resorts, and the area is also a possible case study for other elements of geography: it could be used to deliver work on climate change, impact of transport network enlargement with the tunnels beneath the mountains, glaciation, impact of tourist development.

Wikipedia page has useful maps....

Check out an old favourite: the VIRTUAL MONTANA site for more on the Alps.

Also something in this GOOGLE BOOK SEARCH result.


How about a starter video courtesy of YouTube




Location: The Alps
Too wide ?
Narrow it down to a region of the Alps, based around a particular resort that has an avalanche risk, and has perhaps managed it in particular ways.

To protect skiers, resorts will employ PISTEURS. These are people employed either full or part time to keep an eye on the snow condition, and the development of the SLAB.

They may well use explosives to clear small accumulations of snow before they have a chance to develop into cornices or larger accumulations.

If we look at the second part of the specification section, it refers to prediction and prevention. This is an opportunity to introduce the HAZARD RISK EQUATION, which forms part of some 'A' level specifications, such as the new Edexcel specification.

There are a range of AVALANCHE RISK flags which are used in areas.

These flags could be generated in advance of the lesson...
Here are some that I created and placed on SLIDESHARE in advance of the conference....


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