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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
What's on the map? Bird's eye view on Europe
Is Europe a proper continent? Is the Mediterranean a proper sea?
What's so special about the Mediterranean?
Zoom in on Italy: A country of Cities and Regions
Zoom in on Bologna and the Bolognese – A City of Education and a City of Food
Everyday Life in Bologna

The Mediterranean - Everyday Life in Bologna

This final lesson focuses on the lives of pupils from Bologna. The lesson explores how their calendars and daily activities are impacted upon by the city they live in.  There is also the opportunity to explore how the pupils’ lives differ, and make comparisons between life in Italy and the UK.


Key questions

  • What are the yearly activities like for these pupils?
  • What is similar and different between a typical year in Italy and one in the UK?
  • What might be the geographical reasons for these similarities and differences?
  • What is a typical week for these children?
  • What similarities can you find between the three children?
  • How does one of the pupil’s weeks compare to yours?
  • Why might our daily routines be similar and different?
  • Can we say that all Italian children lead lives like this? (Discussion of the dangers of stereotyping)

Subject content areas

  • Locational knowledge: Location of Bologna as a city and the location of the pupils’ homes and their school in comparison to the heart of Bologna’s City. Pupils will also locate specific destinations mentioned by the pupils. 
  • Place knowledge: Understanding micro scales – localities within the city of Bologna and developing a sense of place from a child’s perspective.
  • Human and Physical Geography: Identification of the impacts of physical geography on these pupils’ human geography – how are the activities pupils undertake influenced by physical geography? Pupils can explore the similarities and differences in holidays and festivals in Italy.
  • Geographical Skills and Fieldwork: Use of mapping to explore the localities identified by the pupils in Bologna. Use of film to develop knowledge of a locality. Pupils could conduct fieldwork in their locality to create their own locational diary to share with others – what would be important to include? 



Begin the lesson recapping the enquiry cycle and the features of Bologna. Explain that this is a very special lesson where pupils will be exploring the lives of four children living in Bologna.  Discuss the notion of stereotyping and how important it is not to assume that all children living in Italy attend a similar school and enjoy the same activities.

Share the introduction sheets for each of the children and use Google Earth to locate where they live in comparison to the centre of Bologna.  Go to International School of Bologna website and explore what the school has to offer.  Watch the video of the tour of the school and ask pupils to explore what they like about the school and what they have learnt about school life for these children.

Explain to the class that the children have each prepared a calendar of a typical year. Divide the class into four groups to explore one of the calendars each. Give pupils five minutes to observe the calendar and note anything that catches their attention. Share initial observations.

As time allows, the class could explore the places the child visits during the year, the festivals the children celebrate in Bologna or the differences in the school year. Why do children have such a long summer holiday, for example? 


Divide the class into small groups and provide the weekly diaries to each group.  Explain to the class this gives an idea of what a typical week looks like for the children.  Ask the pupils to compare the four diaries, for example:

  • Do they eat the same things? 
  • Do they wake up and go to bed at the same time? 

After ten minutes, ask pupils to highlight parts of the diary that show that the children live in a Mediterranean climate. 

Following discussion, ask pupils to find the similarities and differences between the weeks of the children from Bologna. How do these compare and differ to their own, typical week?  A blank diary is provided if time allows for the class to complete their own diary.


Bring the class together and remind the class of the journey they have gone through during this unit of work. Using Google Earth or similar, begin in Bologna and continue to zoom out to Europe, where pupils began in lesson one. Reflect on the experience.  Ask pupils to share one aspect of the unit that they will remember and might want to think more about. 

Give pupils the rest of the lesson to complete their final assessment presentation.

Assessment Opportunities

Formative Assessment: This could be developed through creating reading comprehension questions relating to the children’s calendars and diaries.

Summative Assessment: Assessment of the end-of-module presentations completed by pupils.

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