One of the ways that I like to stretch my most able students is by offering them the opportunity to enter nationwide geography competitions. The benefits of this are threefold: students get the chance to challenge themselves and expand their geographical knowledge; the profile of the geography department is raised; and older students gain valuable material to add to university or college applications.
- Young Geographer of the Year – Royal Geographical Society
A competition that my students enter annually is Young Geographer of the Year, run by the Royal Geographical Society. There are different competitions for each Key Stage (from 2-5). This year, students create an A3 poster or write an essay on the theme of ‘What is the geography of your favourite place?’ Students need to explore their favourite place and consider how it is being shaped by local, national and global process.
Closing date: 13 October 2017
- Photo, blog and video competition – Discover the World Education
Discover the World Education is trying to get students inspired and creative about the geography that they can encounter in the real world. Entrants are asked to produce either a video diary or photographs of their experience, and students can even enter on Instagram! Unfortunately, though, the competition is only open to those students who have travelled with them.
Closing date: 4 January 2018
- Physical Geography Photo Competition – the Physical Geography Special Interest Group, The Geographical Association
If your students can submit a photo of a physical landscape with 250 words that describes and interprets the physical geography behind its creation, then this photo competition is for them. This competition has two age categories (KS3 and KS4-5) and there are excellent prizes of Páramo clothing and atlases!
Closing date: 17 September 2017
- Land Economy Essay Competition – Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
Essay competitions run by universities are the perfect way to challenge your A Level geographers, as well as make their UCAS applications stand out. Look out for the 2018 competitions, such as the Land Economy Essay run by Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, which has strong geographical themes. Also, fingers crossed that the Geography Essay Prize is being run by Trinity College this year, too.
And finally, if you want to have a go yourself, take a look at the Rex Walford Award run by the GA in conjunction with the Young Geographer of the Year award.
There are plenty of competitions for your enthusiastic geographers to get their teeth into, whether they like writing essays, creating posters or taking photos. If your students enter any of these, let me know how you get on!
Rebecca Priest is a Geography Teacher at King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham. She is currently studying for a MA in Geography Education at the Institute of Education and presented a session on ISM at the GA’s 2015 Annual Conference.