Geography in the News

Geography is all around us — in both our physical and human worlds.

As part of the Irish Secondary School Geography curriculum, students have to engage in two classroom-based assessments (CBAs). 

The first of these — in 2nd Year, where students are aged 13-14 — is a Structured Inquiry titled: Geography in the News. 


Cover page of ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal, with title text and a globe image.

Geography in the News gives students an opportunity to engage with the world around them. 

This learning experience takes place during class time over three weeks, and students then submit their final project. 

It is a wonderful opportunity for students to focus on a Geographical event that interests them and create a project in a format that best highlights their understanding of it. 


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal showing the Contents Page.

I designed this journal, for use with Pages for iPad, to assist students as they engage with their structured inquiry. 

They are encouraged to use the journal to suit the chosen format of their final project. 

It is flexible by design, and can be used as a planning guide, interactive journal, or as a portfolio. 


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal of the page ‘How to use this journal’.

They can delete pages they don’t need and can add extra template pages by tapping ‘+’ in the bottom left of the screen. 


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal. The ‘+’ icon has been tapped, showing the extra page template options.

First, they research and draw conclusions about a real-life geographical event, as reported in the media. 

To do this, students focus on these key geographical questions: 

Who, what, where, when, how, and why?

They can submit their completed structured inquiry in any format or in a mixture of formats. This could include video, photo, maps, artwork, text, graphic design, infographics, animation, a podcast, music and more!

This provides students with lots of choice, allowing them to personalise the format of their chosen project.


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal showing the Format page, suggesting options to students.

Students can use pinboard pages to gather their research and ideas, and then use mind map template pages as they interpret and evaluate their data.


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal showing a ‘Pinboard’ page with blank post-it notes.


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal showing a blank mind map page, focussed on key geographical questions.

Inspired by the title, ‘Geography in the News’, the journal has a news and media theme. There are icons and template pages based on newspapers, radio, TV news shows, and podcasts. 

Some of these pages include media placeholders, making it even easier for students to add images, screenshots, and videos to their project. 


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages journal showing a video media placeholder page with a TV frame.


Screenshot from ‘Geography in the News’ Pages Journal of a newspaper-style template page for students to add text and images.

Once they have researched and gathered all their data, it's time for students to get creative as they present the information in their final project. They can showcase their chosen topic in any format or in a mixture of formats. This could include video, photo, maps, artwork, text, graphic design, infographics, animation, a podcast, music, and more!

Although I designed this journal for use with the Irish Secondary School Geography curriculum, it could easily be adapted to suit any context. Feel free to edit, add and delete pages or content to suit your classroom and your students. (To edit, tap the elements on each page and then tap ‘Unlock’.)

The Pages journal is attached below for download.

And, you can also download it here.

Or, maybe it will spark some ideas and inspiration for you to create your own learning journal with Pages for iPad. 

I hope it’s helpful! 


All Replies

Posted on January 09, 2023

Eoin, I love the flexibility of this inquiry, it is such a creative way to assess student knowledge! Your guide and instructions for students is so helpful.  And wonderful students are given a variety choices of media to show what they know.

Such a good model for assessment.  Appreciate the Pages journal download!

Posted on January 12, 2023

Thanks so much, Cheryl! 😊

It is one of my favourite parts of their three year journey with Geography at that level. Such a wonderful opportunity to learn and develop new skills as they showcase their understanding!

The journal emerged out of necessity during the first Covid lockdown to help outline and scaffold the learning experience for them during remote learning, but has been very successful and central to how my students continue to learn and engage with the inquiry process since we returned to school.

Posted on January 12, 2023

It is so interesting to hear about the creative initiatives teachers put together during the Covid lockdown that remain viable and workable in any educational environment - inspiring!

Posted on January 16, 2023

I totally agree! Even in times of such great difficulty, a lot of great work, ideas and resources came out of those lockdowns. It is wonderful to see those continue to be used as teachers reflect on and evaluate those experiences.

Posted on January 19, 2023

Love this learning journal, Eoin! The scaffolding and flexibility to support students' creative expression make this a great tool for learning. Excited to share this post with others!

Posted on January 23, 2023

Thanks, Jessica! 😊

Yes, exactly! I think the strength of this definitely lies in the scaffolding, and the creative freedom this then afford students within each learning experience — whether it’s this example or others.

Posted on March 26, 2023

Beautifully designed scaffold for student inquiry! I enjoy seeing parallels to Challenge Based Learning, specifically in the Engage and Investigate phases. How amazing would it be to empower students to create an actionable solution from a Challenge they framed from their geography inquiry and research! You are so generous to share such high-quality content for the classroom-- thank you!

Posted on April 03, 2023

Thanks so much, Katie — I appreciate the very kind words! I’m always very happy to share my work with others.

That is an amazing ‘Yes, and..’ suggestion for this project! 🌟

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