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Montserrat re-development (part two)


The lesson starts with a PPT to sum up the events and to stimulate a discussion about the priorities for future development. Students then work in pairs to consider how to spend a limited amount of money on essential restructuring. Once they have established priorities, they construct a map, or a series of Google Earth placemarks that describe and explain their choices. There are opportunities for peer assessment at the end of the lesson.


Students will be able to recognise the differences between short and long term needs by...

Completing a decision-making exercise.
Drawing up an action plan.

Students will understand the concept of sustainable development by...

Preparing a sustainable long term management plan in the form of an annotated map.


Digital projector & PC
Google Earth available on a few PCs for the second lesson.
wordGoogle Earth help sheets
wordMontserrat map on A4
wordMontserrat restructuring sheet
ppt filePower Point introduction

Google Earth files:
ge iconMontserrat map overlay file for Google Earth
ge iconDetailed map overlay of north Montserrat
ge iconDetailed map overlay of central west Montserrat
ge iconGoogle Earth sample placemark for modeling the outcome

More able students might benefit from access to this article on sustainable development of the island from the Sustainable Ecosystems Institute.

Large scale detailed island map on paper, or the equivalent Google earth overlay

In the absence of Google Earth Plus or Pro, students may still be able to add polygons to their folder of placemarks to represent land use zoning. An online tool from Simple Spatial Solutions called KML Writer offers a simple solution, although in practice can be fiddly to use. Use the advanced options in the placemark edit box to change the colour of the polygon.

The lesson:


A Power Point introduction recaps on the events from the previous lesson. At the end of the presentation, students should try to imagine what views would be held by Montserrat residents on the immediate and future needs of the island. This is a good opportunity for paired discussion.


This is a thinking skills exercise, requiring students to establish priorities for development. After the task has been completed they should be encouraged to discuss how they completed the task and the difficulties they experienced. Students can prepare a short action plan based on their decisions. Small groups would probably work best.


Students will then use Google Earth to locate their suggestions for new developments. The placemarks should contain a description of the proposed developments and the reasons for the location. There is a sample Google Earth file to demonstrate for exemplar purposes. See picture below:
Alternatively, this task can be done using a large sheet of paper to create a conference diagram. There are many opportunities to extend the work, for example preparing designs for new buildings, or a marketing campaign for the new business or tourist developments.

google earth screenshot

Before embarking on this task, it might be desirable for the class to agree on a set of success criteria in order to facilitate a peer assessment exercise at the end of the work. Success criteria should include social, economic, environmental and sustainable factors.


Groups can present their work to the rest of the class. There would be opportunities for a peer assessment activity.


Discuss or comment on the lesson at Digital Geography

Web Links:

Montserrat Volcano Observatory online
Photographs from Adam Goss Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
Bill Innanen's Montserrat Index page contains some brilliant resources, for example his animation of the MVO risk mapsand a quicktime VR panorama. Also on the site are the only detailed island maps available on the web. Absolute gold dust!
Montserrat information from Wikipedia
ZJB Radio Montserrat Live live streaming
Montserrat Newsletter
Article on redevelopment of the island from DFID
BBC Scotland have an excellent online activity that makes a good follow-up activity. Some curious spelling errors though!
Geography Pages has ideas for teaching about Montserrat
CNN report on evacuation
Montserrat Government press release covering the events depicted
Montserrat Volcano Observatory chronology of eruptive events 1992 - 1997
Soufriere Hills report from Volcano World
Montserrat information CIA factbook
Article on sustainable development of the island
Map Action is a British charity that provides maps for disaster areas around the world. It's a good link for reminding students of the importance of maps when dealing with emergencies
Hodder Education (select Earthworks from the drop down box)
Predicting Volcanic Eruptions an interactive exercise from the USGS (thanks to Richard Treves)

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