How to incorporate model-making into geography.
Model-making in geography can be a creative and inspiring way for pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. Constructing a model in 3D enables pupils to visualise features, describe processes and remember subject-specific terminology in a way that 2D diagrams cannot. Model-making is enjoyable, but to be successful, model-making should have academic rigour and be an integral part of a scheme of work, reinforcing core knowledge, and with the same high expectations in terms of outcome as any other piece of work.
I teach pupils from Year 5 to Year 8 and use model-making in every year group. Cardboard, paper, straws, plasticine, polystyrene, Lego, wooden blocks, sand, gravel, soil, turf and food (such as cake and chocolate fingers) have all featured in my model-making armoury. From these we have made models from across the curriculum including the cross section of waterfalls, contour maps, features of coastal erosion, the structure of the Earth, population pyramids and settlement shapes.
The physical act of making a model ensures that pupils engage with geographical logic. It necessitates discussion and peer support. Differentiation can also be seamlessly included. While all pupils will be expected to make a feature and include basic labels, more complex features and the processes that form them can all be added to labels according to their ability. In my experience, model-making fosters an enthusiasm and desire to impress that writing essays can't quite match! Models can also quickly highlight misconceptions and misunderstandings - you can see these being made right in front of your eyes - helpfully these can then be ironed out. Reworking a piece of plasticine is quicker and less soul destroying than crossing out a large piece of text and I find that pupils take feedback much more positively.
Here are some examples of some of the models my pupils have made
Model-making is a fun way to bring geography to life. However it is vital to keep your expectations high. Model-making should enhance and extend knowledge and understanding in both physical and human geography; not be a filler or undemanding end-of-unit activity.
Anna Brace FRGS
Head of Geography, Keble Prep School
North London Representative of IAPS Geography
By placing a booking, you are permitting us to store and use your (and any other attendees) details in order to fulfil the booking.
We will not use your details for marketing purposes without your explicit consent.
You must be a member holding a valid Society membership to view the content you are trying to access. Please login to continue.
Join us today, Society membership is open to anyone with a passion for geography
Cookies on the RGS website