Saturday, 3 January 2015

How much do You know about the Kalahari Desert?

I recently signed up for a free trial with Netflix and last night I came across David Attenborough's Africa series and watched the first episode and part of the second (ok I know it came out a year ago and I need to get up to date!).

Anyway, I enjoyed it immensely, the stunning photography, the narrative, the sound track - all beautifully put together. It starts with the mystery fairy circles, which I had never heard of but immediately diverted me for half an hour of Google searches and made me wish I could do a field trip there to take some soil samples and see whether I could find any environmental gradients. Or get hold of some remotely sensed images to examiner their distribution and see if there was a pattern.

The stories of the animals really draw you in, from the nightmarish invasion of the giant ground crickets, to the mischievous drongo, the amazing cartwheeling spider and the romantic encounters of black rhinos under the stars.

And if all that isn't enough, it's narrated by Sir David Attenborough, so how could you not like it! (Although I was sad to discover a few weeks ago that not only had some of my AS students never heard of him, one of them even asked me if he was a paedophile?! =O).

Of course, the best thing about it was that I couldn't help noticing all the links to geography. I found myself wishing all my students were watching it too! So, I decided at 11pm last night it would be a good idea to make a quiz to go with the first episode. It could either be used in class or set as a homework, but particularly relevant for anyone studying arid environments (deserts).

I hope it's useful to somebody, let me know if you'd like me to make quizzes for the other episodes too. By the looks of it they will be very geographical too, and I definitely plan to watch them all so I may as well make up some questions as I do! 

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