Natural Disasters




Natural Disasters (Week 7 & 8)


Todays lecture in Sustainable Development was focused on disasters. As teachers, I think it is crucial we teach this subject – although it is a sensitive subject- we have to ensure children are not completely sheltered from real life situations which we cannot avoid. It is important to steer clear of using words such as ‘death’ when discussing this as some children will not react well to this and worry it is going to happen to them.

What is a natural disaster? A disaster can be clarified as a sudden catastrophic event that has a serious impact on the functioning of a community/ country. We need to emphasise to pupils to make the appropriate link between disasters and climate change.

(Elsevier, BV.)

Before, todays lecture I was unaware there was different levels of a disaster. We watched a few videos on YouTube to begin the topic. I feel ‘Newsround’ would be a useful website to use for children when explaining disasters as it does not have explicit content.

To begin, we did some science experiments with Andrew. The first station for us was geology (the study of rocks). The main objective was to study how various rocks reacted to different interactions such as trying to break it with a hammer. This activity would perhaps not be appropriate for the classroom as I wouldn’t feel comfortable providing children with tools. ‘A world of disasters’ would be the most suitable task in my opinion as this activity permits children to gain vital skills such as teamwork/ leadership and critical thinking skills through researching disasters and where they occur in the world. If you had the correct apparatus, I think children could interact best with the volcano experiment. This provides a visual aid of how quickly a volcano can cause destruction. This might provoke children to feel sympathy for other countries who experience this trauma.


The second workshop was based on the political perspective of disasters. We discussed what people can do:

  • Prepare
  • Respond
  • Recover

For children it can be a shock to hear the challenges other countries face. We are very fortunate to live where we do where we are unlikely to experience a disaster. The first task we completed was to look at a picture of the aftermath of a disaster and write down our initial thoughts. This is ideal for in the classroom as it gives the children a chance to write their previous knowledge. This task could be used a lesson starter once they are familiar with the topic to then convey to the teacher what they have picked up on over the last few lessons.

We discussed ‘Social capital’ which I believe is a very relevant term when discussing topics such as this. A perfect way to describe this to children could be to discuss a town/village they might be familiar with. Giffnock, for example, is well looked after with beautiful, tidy flower displays and no visible graffiti etc. However, if you drive somewhere within a 5-mile radius such as Darnley, you will then notice that Giffnock has more social capital. The local governments regularly try to maintain Giffnocks cleanliness, whereas, Darnley wouldn’t have the same treatment. This provides children with a real-life example which they can then relate to and perhaps comprehend more.

We then, scrutinised two case studies in Louise’s workshop about two earthquakes that happened in two contrasting locations. Both earthquakes happened around similar periods. One earthquake took place in Haiti, Africa in 2010- the other- in 2011, situated in Japan. This task would be convenient to complete with children as it emphasises the difference it can make to live in a wealthy country when disasters occur compared to a poorer nation with less government support. You need a reliable, close community to be able to bounce back from disasters.

We were then tasked with creating a presentation for the following week based on a specific natural disaster. My group were allocated- floods. Throughout the week we met as a team to create the presentation and practice who was going to say what. Our presentation included relevant experiences and outcomes. We then presented to the rest of the cohort on Friday. Personally, I found this microteaching experience very useful as it allowed us to get a feel for being the teacher. I found it helpful watching the rest of our sections presentations as this provided me with ideas on how to deliver this topic to children in the most suitable way to accommodate specific learners.

Natural Disasters is a topic I will ensure children are familiar with in the most appropriate form to suit the year group. It is important, everyone has an awareness of what is happening in other countries. This has expanded my knowledge on natural disasters, specifically- the political impacts and how much of a say the government has.



Elsevier, B.V. (2019) Natural Disasters [online] available:


Interdependence (Week 3 & 4)

Before today, I had no idea what ‘Interdependence’ was and how it linked to teaching. In simple terms-interdependence- is the way in which living and non-living things depend on each other to grow and remain healthy. (Palhelke, 2009). For instance: we rely on food to keep us alive and a shelter to keep us safe and warm. In return, it is man who builds our homes and grow crops to produce food which keeps us alive.

There are three main ways in which we are interdependent:

  • Economic- world trade, multinational financial organizations and legislation within the EU.
  • Social- dominance of technology, cultural integration and pollution
  • Environmental- climate change, global actions and consequences and decreasing numbers of natural resources.

As part of this module- we were fortunate enough to visit two dairy farms. I was looking forward to experiencing a dairy farm as I had never visited one previously. The first farm we visited today was called ‘Strathhead farm’. This was a large intensive farm dependent on technology.  After having a discussion with the farmer, I grasped the main objective of this farm was to produce large quantities of milk as cheap and economically as possible. In reference to social interdependence- farmers are under extreme stress due to the increasing population of vegans in the United Kingdom. (BBC news) Many people have the false perception that all animals are treated unfairly in farms which is not the case.

Some pics of Strathead Farm:












This process consists of the farmer breeding the cows to produce large quantities of milk.  The consumer buys the milk in bulk at a lower price to then be sold in supermarkets.  The cows are kept indoors which appears against nature without a deeper understanding of the situation-however- the farmer believes it is beneficial for the cows as they can put themselves under more distress in the wild. Typically, when they have been let out, they return shortly after, as they prefer being in the barn than out in the wild. Their diet is crucial as they need to stay large in order to provide pure quality milk. At this farm, the cows can be milked up to 5 times a day! It amazed me how reliant this farm is on technology. The cows have collars attached to their necks which monitor everything they do through robots. The collar sends signals to the robot- that can track if the cows are under abnormal stress or if they are unwell etc. The robot sends info to the farmer for them to monitor and decide if there’s any implications. Similarly, they are fed and milked through machines. I was stunned at how advanced this farm was- and how economical it is– as it would cost the farmer more to hire farmers to: feed/milk/ monitor the cows 24 hours a day.  However, this farm has a negative impact on environmental interdependence as it produces an exceeding amount of greenhouse gases which is polluting the earth and resulting in more climate change which is destroying our planet.

The second farm we visited was also a dairy farm-but- this farm was a small organic farm. Interestingly, this farm was originally founded by Robert burns brother. It was then taken over in 1993 by another family. Everything is completed on the farm (milking/ pasteurising etc.) This specific farm focused on economical interdependence. Bryce who owns the farm is very passionate about his job and maintaining the family name within the farm. He is very knowledgeable about the detrimental impact of livestock farming on the environment (global warming). Therefore, he has tried to reduce the number of chemical fertilisers and pesticides used including those discovered in their food. As an alternative, they use organic fertilisers and the soil is regularly checked.





Our independent study task was to create an info graph using Piktochart based on ‘Sustainable Seas.’ I focused on WWF when participating in this task. I was not aware of how many small, coastal communities could be out of business if we don’t stop polluting the sea and causing the extinction of multiple species and destroying their natural habitats. Encouragingly, Piktochart would be an excellent software to use with the upper school to display their findings on any given topic. I can’t wait to experiment this software with my own class.

Overall, the farm experience would be hugely beneficial for children as it provides a chance for them to see where their food comes from. This lesson would be very hard to explain without a visual explanation. The trip allowed us to put interdependence into a context. As a teacher, I believe outdoor learning is vital as it provides a learning experience we can not give in the classroom through interaction with nature.

To conclude, I believe after the last couple of weeks I have become more ‘ethnically minded’ about the part I play in interdependence as a whole. I would love to be able to promote organic farming as it is more economically and socially friendly. However, this is not always feasible as organic products are often more expensive. On the other hand, I will now be able to support my pupils in making the correct decisions around interdependence.



BBC news (2017) Welsh farmers raise concerns over veganism  [online] available:

Pahelke, R. (2009) Introduction to Sustainable Development: Globalization, Interdependence and Sustainability. UNESCO ELOSS available: [online] Accessed 15th October 2019

Climate Change

Sustainable Development- Blog 2 (Climate Change)


Week 3

We were introduced to the theme of:


There can be confusion about the exact definition of ‘climate change.’ In simple terms- when referring to climate change- it is when we are discussing a period of weather at a specific point in the year. Furthermore, when the weather doesn’t remain consistent (usually climate change is mentioned for periods longer than 30 years). Climate change incorporates a wide range of areas, for example:

  • Fossil Fuels
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Global warming

We discussed the ‘Greenhouse Effect’ in the lecture. This refers to the way the earths atmosphere conceals some of the energy produced from the sunlight.  Then, some solar energy is produced back to space. A small amount is absorbed by greenhouse gases and retained as heat which is then reflected in all directions to warm the planet. Without this process, the planet would be approximately 30 degrees cooler. This effect can be explained through a diagram or a video to children- encouraging multi modal texts.

I am very interested in this topic as I believe it’s so relevant in our current generation. Our planet is going to continue deteriorating unless we all make a small difference. Over the last century, the temp of our planet has risen by 0.6% mainly due to increasing emissions of carbon dioxide from man-made activities.


Factory farming has a huge influence on the current situation as well as this release’s potential harmful fumes to the environment- large quantities of greenhouse gases-. Flooding could destroy crops in low lying areas. In addition, increasing temperatures in low water areas could make it more difficult to grow crops due to shortage of water, possibly encouraging pests and diseases. Strong winds can also lead to soil erosion which will interrupt the plantation process. (Compassion in world farming)

The government have tried to take action to tackle climate change, however, it requires a whole team effort (everyone.) People take part in protests all over the world to prevent climate change.








In the workshop, we completed a task collaboratively which consisted of us rearranging statements in order of importance about climate change from a politician’s perspective. If I was completing this task with my own class, I would allow them to have the independence of assigning roles to give them more freedom within their learning. Perhaps, this would inspire ideas for a debate. From completing this activity, I developed my critical thinking skills as I was having to make crucial decisions based on facts in my team to accommodate everyone’s needs.

We are all guilty of not doing all we could to prevent harm to the planet. Politics have implemented initiatives to try reduce the large amount of waste products. For example: In 2015, the ‘5p bag’ policy was implemented- every plastic bag costs 5 pence. This was to try encourage customers to use boxes or bags created from raw materials to reduce the amount large amount of plastic used causing damage to the environment. However, the process of creating a law is not simple. An MP can create a bill but this bill must pass both stages of parliament before becoming a law. There is always controversial views and opinions- this makes it difficult for everyone to agree on an idea.

Last week, me and my cohorts took part in science experiments linked to climate change. Our lecturer had set out stations for us to work around. To begin, our first activity included using one beaker of hot water from the tap and a beaker of cold water from the fridge. We also had a tank filled with room temperature water. Next, a few drops of food colouring (blue for cold and red for hot) were added to each beaker. Both beakers were placed in the tank and tipped over. What happened next amazed me. The different temperatures cause the molecules to circulate differently. The hot water remains at the top of the tank and the cold water went to the bottom. This produced a layer of red at the top and blue on the bottom. Our experiment was completed successfully- we were very precise with the advised instructions. Therefore, I can’t wait to complete this task with my own class. A minimal amount of resources were required which makes it very convenient to complete in schools.

Climate change is a reoccurring topic of conversation due to changes happening everywhere to our planet. This topic will be taught in my classroom as I am very passionate about this topic. I now have a wider understanding of what I can do to make a difference. Hopefully, I can encourage children to do the same!



BBC News (2018)  What is Climate Change [online] available:

Compassion in world farming

Diversity Blog

Hiya! I’m Niamh- welcome to my blog. Over the upcoming months; this blog will help provide a deeper insight into my ‘Sustainable Development’ (LFS) journey.

Our first week contained a brief overview of the course and what we will need to do in able to succeed at this module. In addition, we discussed the benefits of this for children, our community and the global community. LFS is becoming widely recognised and promoted throughout schools in all areas of work. When a whole school gets involved, this can encourage skills, knowledge and confidence to make wise decisions to create a more sustainable, equity world. (General Teaching Scotland) For example: community litter picks/ beach or river clean ups etc is an excellent way to keep our community tidy where everyone can take part free of charge. I will also continue to encourage recycling more in the classroom (get rid of plastic!)

The Vision for 2030 is for all pupils to be familiar with ‘Learning for Sustainability’ in schools and appreciate the natural surroundings of their environment, culture and heritage. (Education Scotland,2019) When on placement, during inspections, we might get asked what is being referenced about sustainability in the classroom. I wasn’t completely sure what sustainable development actually involved until today. I was feeling a little apprehensive about how I would teach this to children. However, I was a lot more familiar with the concepts of this than I realised:





After today’s first lecture with Louise, I am very eager to begin this module – mindful of the fact science is not my area of expertise- I am keen to further develop my knowledge of all 3 areas interlinked: Science/ technologies and Social Studies. This module focuses on 6 main areas of sustainable development:

  • Diversity
  • Climate Change
  • Interdependence
  • Energy use
  • Disasters
  • The environments

Each area will be covered over a period of two weeks. Afterwards, we will then complete a blog post as a reflection of our knowledge on each theme.

In the workshop today, two ladies came in from WOSDEC to inform us about what they do in the workplace. They work alongside teachers in Scotland purely focusing on LFS. They discussed with us the importance of celebrating diversity and embracing everyone’s differences. In groups, we completed different tasks about poverty/ natural disasters/ climate change etc and had a plenary afterwards to identify what we learned. Using the ‘Graduate attributes table’ I feel after this lesson, I am universally more aware of other cultures and have a clearer understanding of where our clothes and food actually comes from. This makes me appreciate what I have and feel very sympathetic for the people making a very low income for doing such complex trades. ‘The global goals for Sustainable Development’ is a plan set up that we want to achieve in the future to create a more stable, positive world for everyone where we value our planet more and treat it with a little more care.


Week 2

We were introduced to the controversial topic of ‘Diversity’ in today’s lecture. It is such a prevalent topic today in the classroom. It should not be something we avoid speaking about as everyone is entitled to freedom of speech (as long as they are still respecting others in the process.) ‘Rights Respecting School’ is reinforced throughout the curriculum to ensure all childrens rights are being considered.

‘Whiteness/ Values/ Gender/ Race/ Sexuality/ Religion’

It is vital, we as teachers, become more mindful of these factors within ‘Diversity’ as a whole. Notice the dominance of white people. I didn’t even realise ‘whiteness’ was a thing until it was mentioned. No person should be made to feel excluded due to the colour of their skin/ what they want to assign their selves as or who they want to be in a relationship with. Each individual is unique and that’s what makes our classrooms different.

‘Safe space’- we were made familiar with this term at the beginning of the lecture so everyone felt comfortable speaking aloud about their personal opinions. This is crucial as we need to be able to accept an opposing view, in contrast, to what we are familiar with. Our role as teachers in the classroom is to try remove preconceived opinions children have formed of specific religions. Allowing them to form factual opinions of their own without an input from someone else.

We should all appreciate the vast range of foreign languages spoken in Scotland as it has multiple benefits to our society: culturally, historically, socially etc. Encouraging a diverse nation is so vital in schools as everyone should feel respected and included even if their mother tongue is not English. ‘Respected’ and ‘Included’ are two indicators from the ‘Getting It Right for Every Child’ (GIRFEC) well-being indicators. I feel very passionately towards they two indicators specifically. In my classroom, I will always find a way to involve everyone and ensure everyone is being respectful. GIRFEC was implemented to ensure every child’s needs were being fulfilled.

Finally, in the workshop, me and my cohorts discussed various statements- put on the board- in a non biased form to raise topics for discussion:

‘In Uganda, it is illegal to be gay’

This makes me feel physically sick. As a teacher, it is crucial we erase all prejudices from our heads and look at everything with a non-biased point of view to ensure every child in our class is participating and feels welcomed by all.

I am keen to explore more of this module. It is very interesting and appealing to me as a student teacher. This is something I want to be confident teaching in the classroom as it is vital issues children need to be aware of.



Education Scotland (2019) A summary of learning for sustainability resources [online] Available:

Scottish Government (2014) Getting it right for every child [online] Available:

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (2019) Learning For Sustainability [Online] Available: