Baker’s Beacon Blog – Week 6

13 October 2023

Dear Parents,

In Year 5 Geography yesterday we were talking about the weather in mountainous areas and how this compares with lowland regions in the UK. The boys had excellent cross-curricular knowledge of the water cycle and we were able to speed through the explanation and onto the graphs, making and explaining the various comparisons. Increasingly though, with the more dramatic and extreme weather we seem to face on regular occasions, schoolchildren, and particularly the typically intellectually curious Beacon boy, will ask questions that are difficult to explain. Primary school teaching of the weather is a fairly simple narrative but when using common temperature and rainfall data, children are right to question previously accepted ‘normal’ figures when they have experienced far higher temperatures and heavier rainfall in their short lifetimes. One question I have dreaded throughout my career is when someone asks, “If hail is frozen water, why do we get it in the summer?” The answer to this quite complex, and I am still found wanting when attempting an explanation to what inevitably becomes a confused and disinterested class. Unfortunately the fascination children have with hail is only set to increase with remarkable tales at home and abroad of abnormally large stones falling from the sky. My father-in-law told me when we were visiting him in France this year that a hailstorm in July had caused roofs to collapse and trees to fall down. Known to exaggerate, I checked the more reliable world of the internet and found that this was actually completely true – fair enough! My mum, rather less dramatically, shared a story of a hailstorm in Menorca this autumn and scaled with an egg, just so I could appreciate the size – great picture mother!

Wild weather is here to stay I fear, and us geographers need to keep pace with the science and new trends. To educate the young on why this is happening and give appropriate and accurate answers to those ever enquiring and inquisitive Beacon boy minds.

Have a good weekend,

Nick Baker

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