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Six secondary school pupils standing on a beach inspecting pebbles.

Innovative Geography Teaching Grants

The Innovative Geography Teaching Grants provide funding for geography teachers at secondary level for the development of imaginative and creative educational resources, with a university collaborator.

About the Award

Two grants, each of £1,000, will be awarded annually to each teacher-higher education team.

The aim is to serve both geography pupils and the wider teaching community through the creation of teaching materials. The materials produced will be published on the Society’s website.

Deadline: 15 February

Apply now

All prospective grant applicants should read our Advice and Resources pages, which include more information about the grants programme, its conditions, and what is expected if your application is successful. Please read this information carefully and send your application, or any enquiries, by email to grants@rgs.org.

Two supporting statements are required. One referee statement must be signed by the Head of Department, Head Teacher or Employer of the lead applicant. References should be sent by email directly to grants@rgs.org by the application deadline. Applications will be jeopardised if referee statements are not received on time.
 

Previous recipients

2021: Dr Tristram Irvine-Fynn and Graham Goldup (Aberystwyth University and Cardinal Newman Catholic School, Hove). 'Immersive teaching toolkit: landscapes of West Wales'

Geography teachers have faced immense challenges during 2020-2021, through school closures, restrictions to ‘normal’ classroom or fieldwork practice, and curriculum content gaps. Teaching has had to adapt quickly and flexibly to new, increasingly digital, online methods, but often with limited resources. Establishing a new teacher-university partnership, this project will deliver a free, accessible, online teaching toolkit targeted at Key Stages 3-5. The teaching toolkit will comprise 10 evaluated ‘virtual tours’ of curricula-relevant environments with focus on water and carbon cycles, changing geomorphology and anthropogenically-affected landscapes. Access to these complementary teaching resources will be facilitated by the Society's website.

 

2020: Daniel Parsons (University of Hull). 'Cliff-quakes: monitoring climate change impacts on rapid sea-cliff erosion with seismometers' (subject to final approval)

The Holderness has some of the most rapidly eroding coastline in the world, with sections of cliff retreating >10m per year. These rates are due, in large part, to the soft composition of the boulder clay cliffs, but rates are accelerating rapidly in response to climate drivers, particularly storminess and sea-level rise, which is increasing wave loading and impacts across tidal cycles.

A local school community, Withernsea High-School, situated close to the eroding cliffs, will be engaged with measuring active geomorphological processes in the coastal zone. We will install a seismometer in the cliff top which will measure broadband vibrations in the landscape. Essentially applying technology used to record earthquakes in order to study cliff erosion processes. The data obtained will engage the students in new and active ways, allowing the detection of waves crashing on the beach, and allow delineation of when, and over what time periods, waves impact the cliff, along with the frequency and magnitude of cliff failures. These data will be combined with a suite of resources and activities (e.g. drone and TLS surveys) to aid interpreting the data and exploring how changes in climate driven forcing will alter these rates of erosion into the future.

 

2019: Dr Lisa Ficklin (Manchester Metropolitan University). 'Hazard toolkit for secondary geography teachers'

Working with Dr Billy Haworth, a lecturer in Disaster Management at the University of Manchester, a toolkit will be developed that focuses on the simulation of a disaster event from different actor perspectives in real time. Students will analyse data from images, GIS data and policy documents to produce a dynamic response strategy that responds to changes in the simulation. The aim is integration of physical and human geography through enquiry based learning and contextualised problem solving.

 

2019: Grace Healy (Hewett Academy). 'Geographies of Sustainable Development: what does Bolivia teach us?'

The 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out a global agenda for people and planet, responding to the increasing urgency of climate change by balancing agendas for economic development, social development and environmental wellbeing. In this teaching resource, developed with Dr Jessica Hope (University of Bristol), we ask what Bolivia teaches us about sustainable development, focusing on the environmental remit of the SDGs and thinking about what it means to protect life on land and nature.

To do this, we listen to the ideas and voices of Bolivian indigenous leaders (interviewed on film in 2019), whose ideas of sustainability and development are grounded in long-running struggles for land and territory and challenged by global demand for natural resources (including fossil fuels). We draw from indigenous territorial politics, conservation and resource conflicts to assist students to think about what it takes to create a sustainable future. 

This resource (and teachers guide) problematises sustainable development from and by Bolivia (and within students’ geographical education). It engages students with geographical questions that illuminate how interpretations of sustainable development vary and that the United Nations 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are just one (particularly powerful) iteration. The resource enables students to engage with related local, national and global debates and provides them with an opportunity to make connections to their everyday lives. In particular, it highlights the unsustainability of both fossil fuel dependence and contemporary patterns of global resource consumption.

 

2017: Alan Parkinson (King's Ely Junior). 'Inspirational Places: Changing Places'

Working in partnership with Dr Peter Knight (Keele University), online resources will be created that support teachers in their understanding of key themes in the 'Changing Places' topic - the section of the A Level geography specification focusing on people's engagement with places and their experience of them. The resources will provide teachers with practical strategies for teaching and a bibliography of additional reading for exploration and research.

 

2016: Catherine Owen (King Alfred School, Somerset). 'Interactive tour of Kampala'

In partnership with Dr Kevin Cook (University of Northampton) the aim of this project is to develop an interactive tour of Kampala using GoPro footage, video and photographs to create a unique point of view tour. Exploring an interactive map of Kampala will enable students to evaluate the extent to which the Millennium Development Goals have been achieved. Students will be able to interact with the tour as a continuous transect of Kampala or interact with key moments.

 

2015: Raphael Heath (The Royal High School, Bath). 'Investigating the geography of crime'

The purpose of these resources are to provide teachers and students with the information and skills required to be able to conduct a sophisticated investigation into UK crime patterns using GIS mapping techniques using primary and secondary data. An interactive online version of this resource is available here.

 

2014: Alan Parkinson (King's Ely School) and Dr Benjamin Hennig (University of Oxford). 'LondonMapper: exploring a World city through Census Data'

By focusing on London, this project provides a context which has national relevance, but is on a more manageable scale. A framework has been produced for using Census data and a range of visually stunning maps to support imaginative enquiry work, which will also extend students’ critical thinking as they explore the sprawling city of London.

The materials produced are hosted on the London Mapper website, and a teaching guide to using them can be found on the Society's GIS Educational Resources pages.

 

2014: Paul Turner (Sevenoaks School) and Dr Adam Dennett (University College London). 'CENTRISt (CENsus teaching ThRough gIS)'

A scheme of work will be developed for sixth form students, which will allow them to learn new quantitative analysis and GIS skills through exploring the 2011 Census data, while also engaging with wider substantive and increasingly important themes such as the North/South Divide in the UK or widening inequalities between London/the South East and the rest of the UK at a variety of spatial scales.

 

Prior to 2014, the grant scheme offered different opportunities to individual teachers. Recipients included:

Rachel Atkins (Bristol Grammar School). 'Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) Templates - Interactive Geographers'

This project aimed to inspire teachers to use easily-adaptable IWB techniques for excellent teacher and student interaction.

Jo Debens (Priory School). 'International link between Priory School, UK and the Cape Fear Centre for Enquiry, USA'

This project formed a link with the Cape Fear Centre for Enquiry in the USA, enabling students to explore and compare their personal geographies and explore how living near the coast affects their lives.

James Mutton (Featherstone High School). 'I-Pod Touch'. 'Using mobile technology inside and outside the classroom to enhance the delivery of geographical education'

Samantha Coulson: (William Farr CE School). 'Geography of Film - Scheme of Work'

This project explored geographical issues through the medium of film by giving context to theory. Using a variety of film clips pupils will investigate how film instils a sense of place, culture and change over time.