A military view and a telescopic unicorn.
An introduction to geography from Professor Rachel Woodward's perspective proved to be thought provoking and widened horizons.
An early question from the floor being
" What exactly is the point of a Professor, what do you do?" As Rachel was quick to point out it is always good to have these calls to consider what you do and why . Rachel contextualised her work and her role as a Professor and the children were soon all offering ideas and opinions and asking for clarification when needed.
After a classroom based sharing of knowledge and experience, Rachel led us off on a brief military landscape tour of South Shields, complete with our bespoke looking devices, cunningly disguised /camouflaged as A4 paper. As one child commented it was a "bit like James Bond , you get special kit that doesn't look like what it is". The special kit did at times also become a unicorn horn and a light saber but personally I like a creative multi use tool and lets face it that's what a Swiss army knife is all about.
Ways of looking and reasons for looking were discussed, the children were encouraged to read the land from a military perspective ;what and who might you be looking for and why might it be good to know this information? Beacons and their placement were discussed as a means of communication with only one child looking for the plug ( really they did!)
Look no wires
The land the sea and the air were considered as places that were filled with potential information and for measuring things such as distance and risk but most importantly as a different way to interpret what the children usually think of as "The" view.
This experiential walk alerted them to the possibility of their being more than one way to view what was familiar to them and built on our earlier thinking with Dr Matt Jenkins about the relational nature of geography.
It also helped deepen thinking about our theme of near and far, inspired by Alastair Bonnett's book What is Geography?).
The afternoon was nicely rounded off with the viewing of a real life secret squirrel. Clearly we had been under surveillance the whole time ! The children are looking forward to seeing some of Rachel's books as they are utterly excited about her being an author as well as a Professor and they all trotted off home telescopes in hand with tales to share.
(please click through images) Photography - Iain Garrett