DEC Scan Journal : Volume 36 Issue 3
2017 Volume 36, Issue 3 18 Contents Editorial Learning & teaching Research Share this Resource reviews Rather than waste his winter worrying about the garden, Liam spent it preparing for spring. Liam used his indoor time for researching secondary information. He acquired it from books, perhaps from gardening shows on television and by interviewing and surveying his family and neighbours about plant care. Process geographical information We don’t know how Liam processed his primary and secondary information in order to make connections and draw conclusions. Perhaps he generated a chart of plants and their habitat requirements, perhaps graphed their growth and/or mapped their spread. Maybe he created a KWL chart to list what he still wanted to know or created a futures chart to predict the spread of the garden. After three cold months ... Liam rolled his new gardening gear over to the railway. Communicate geographical information Through his visible actions, and through the expansive spread of the garden, Liam communicated what he had learnt. The community watched with interest and were inspired to join in. Respond As his response, Liam applied his knowledge and undertook individual action. He could predict that the garden would continue to explore the rest of the city as a result of his actions, but he didn’t expect its far-reaching impact of engaging the community and bringing them together. But the most surprising things that popped up were the new gardeners. The protagonist, Liam, is a curious boy with an inquiring mind who likes working geographically in the outdoors. His actions lead to extensive change. Question The first step in a geographical inquiry is to formulate a geographical question and a set of inquiry questions that ask What is where? Why there? Why care? When Liam stumbled on a dark stairwell, he asked himself: What is up there? and Where does it go? At the top of the abandoned railway Liam noticed plants that were brown and dying. He didn’t spend much time on the question: Why there? but moved straight to Why care? and returned to water and prune the plants. Acquire data and information ... the plants waited patiently while Liam found better ways of gardening. ‘Liam found better ways of gardening’ is the acquiring data and information step in the geographical inquiry process. Liam acquired primary data in the field through fieldwork that immersed him in the patch of garden. He probably used the visible thinking strategy of ‘see-think-wonder’. We know he experimented with gardening methods and made insightful observations. Over the next few months, Liam and the curious garden explored every corner of the railway. In his fieldwork, Liam gathered primary data through immersive and sensory experiences. He learnt the smallest details of the natural and human features of the place, tuned into its sounds, smells, colours and textures. He observed the interconnections between plants and animals in the garden and of people in the city. He would be able to sketch it, map it and describe how it made him feel. In the acquire step, a picture book can set the context of the inquiry and stimulate curiosity. It can provide the springboard for formulating a set of inquiry questions to guide the inquiry. As visual representations, picture books can be used as a geographical tool for acquiring information. They provide a secondary source of information represented from the perspective of the author and illustrator. Picture books are created with a specific purpose and as such the intent of the creators needs to be evaluated by students in the process step of a geographical inquiry. Symbols and icons used in illustrations in picture books can be used as models when students represent their own geographical information. Students can replicate these in maps, infographics and diagrams. A communication product in themselves, picture books provide an example of how geographical information and sustainable actions can be communicated in a mulitmodal form using words and pictures. Students can compose their own picture books, cartoon strips and digital texts to communicate information and to promote individual and group action. The Curious Garden – an analogy for the geographical inquiry process What would happen if an entire city decided to cooperate with nature? Peter Brown, author The Curious Garden by Peter Brown can be used as an analogy for the geographical inquiry process.
Volume 36 Issue 2