I’ve been teaching Year 8’s about coal mining.
To find out how coal is extracted, the class recreated modern long wall mining techniques, summarised in this illustration from UK Coal (who produce some excellent resources by the way)
Props included all the tables in the classroom, most of the chairs and deployment of the students in various roles as development tunnellers, coal face workers and some extremely scary recreations of the collapse of the roof behind the coal face which can’t really be mentioned in public. Apparently our department isn’t doing enough active learning (whatever that is) or group work – yeah? well we were all underground when you “dropped in” weren’t we?
Students also drew “living graphs” to describe the rise and fall of the coal industry. One objective was to get students to consider the social and economic impact of pit closures. I found that the video to Rewind the Film by the Manic Street Preachers fitted the lesson perfectly. The narrative is both simple, and haunting and led to some really good discussion questions. The video would work well for illustrating a variety of post-industrial geography issues at GCSE and A level as well.
Here’s to former colleague and Manics fan Dave Harris who got a number of mentions during the lesson. Hope things are going well back at the coal face 😉
What’s that? More you say??