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Beyond the syllabus - Seafloor Spreading and an Innermost Core


Part of the Geography International A Level syllabus (9696) for Rocks & Weathering is tectonic processes and landforms (3.1). I’m a firm believer in taking students beyond the syllabus as it prepares them for further study, challenges and extends even the highest level achievers in the class too and opens students’ minds to the vastness of the countless subdisciplines within Geography. It makes them question the textbook (and teacher!) further and hopefully inspires them along the way too. As an educator - I also feel very challenged by this approach and my pre-reading deepens my own subject knowledge. It is great to know how much I can learn  when I begin to study the huge mysteries of geographical theories that still need light shining upon it and have big questions unanswered. 


I would like to draw your attention to the following website and resources contained within: https://www.seafloorspreading.com/ . It takes a deep dive (pardon the pun) on sea floor spreading. I taught this alternative theory with its big questions to my A level students recently and although they grappled hard with some parts of it, they were amazed at the depths, costs and sheer hard work went into extending just one part of tectonic theory. It opened their eyes more to the complexity of geosciences and geology. 




In another lesson about Plate Tectonics, their eyes widened a little more when I explain it is also now hypothesized that there is an innermost inner core (discovered back in 2002 and reconfirmed last in 2022) and this information has yet to make it into the textbooks or syllabus. 


As a teacher of Geography A-Level though, it is important to highlight when new ideas/concepts/processes/theories are not in the syllabus so as not to confuse them when it come to taking the exams. It is also a question of fine balance in terms of time management to get through so much course content in time for the exams and still have time for revision and exam question practice sessions. 

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