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An empty cardboard box, placed on its side so you see see inside it

Set up Time: 5 minutes (plus time gathering items)
Activity time: 10 minutes

Aims of activity
Students should be able to work together to identify different features of a single item and its geographical journey. For example, a phone could represent global communications, the physical components and the manufacturing, or globalisation in general. 

Key messages
Allowing students to explore the range of geographical links connected to one item or theme. This activity encourages students to think creatively and use their geographical knowledge to make connections and think beyond the obvious.

Pick some items and put them in a box, then get students to pick out an item and identify one geographical link to the item and then pass it around the class getting each student to identify another geographical link.

Materials Required

Simple items that you can use in a classroom.

Items could include (but not limited to): 

  • Old mobile phone

  • Rocks (Sedimentary, Metamorphic, Igneous)

  • Plastic Toy vehicle (Train/Car/Plane) (Ideally made abroad)

  • Packet of seeds

  • T-Shirt

  • A flag

  • Fruit

  • Tickets/Boarding Passes/Bus tickets

  • Plastic Bottle of water 

  • Sea glass

  • Shells 

  • Fossils

  • Pen or pencil

  • Newspaper

  • A paper straw

  • Coffee

A box or something to conceal the items to present a “surprise”.

Changing up the items to reflect different geographical features, focusing on physical geography, human geography or items that represent careers within geography. 

Using just one item and seeing how many different (obvious and removed) links to geography and geographical themes the class can make. 

Challenge the teacher - using one item, the teacher makes a list of geographical connections and so does the class. Who can think of more connections?


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Hot Topics Box instructions


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Hot Topics Box instructions (1)


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