Fierce Earth: An Ideal Primary Resource for Geography

There's nothing quite like an insight into the power of our planet to create an early interest in the natural world for younger learners, and the BBC's Fierce Earth series provides just that, making it an ideal primary resource for geography. The series is presented by Newsround’s Leah Gooding along with weather presenter Claire Nasir, climber Leo Houlding, storm chaser Mike Theiss and Earth sciences expert Dougal Jerram, otherwise known as 'Dr Volcano'.
Series 1 starts with Mike Theiss' speciality, Hurricanes, taking a look at the devastating power of the hurricane through the experiences of three people whose lives were changed when Hurricane Ike hit Texas in 2008. Thousands of families were left homeless in the wake of the hurricane and the financial damage was enormous. Though we may seem insignificant and powerless in the face of such an immense force of nature, we learn how building design is adapting to cope with such events.
The series continues with a close-up view of one of the most terrifying of natural phenomena, Wildfires. Wildfires can spread and cause destruction at an astonishing rate, and the heat from such a fire can reach a staggering 800 degrees, as Leo experiences for himself under controlled conditions in a specially-constructed chamber. And extreme heat is the subject of the next episode, World's Hottest, focusing on the punishing conditions in the hottest place on Earth, California's Death Valley. The programme examines the toll various activities, even everyday necessities like going to school, take on the human body when they have to be undertaken in the searing 57-degree heat of the Mojave Desert.
Wildfires - primary resources geography
We move on to the Tsunami. Primary geography students will be too young to remember the deadly tsunami of 2004, but they may remember something of the events of March 2011 when an earthquake off the coast of Japan caused a tsunami whose waves reached 40 metres in height. We meet some of the children who survived the disaster and look at some recent developments in defences against, and means of escape from, these fearsome events. Staying in Japan, we go on to look at Earthquakes in the city most prone to this type of natural disaster, Tokyo, and find out what steps the local population are taking in order to stay safe.
Next we move on to something more familiar to us in the UK, Thunderstorms, and meet a boy who narrowly escaped death after being struck by lightning. The team explore the formation of thunderclouds and find out more about the power behind the 2000 thunderstorms that are raging around the world at any given moment. The series goes on to delve into the anatomy of Volcanoes and Tornadoes, followed by a look at how humans and animals adapt to life in one of the World's Coldest places, the Yukon Territory in Canada, and concludes with the highly topical subject of Flooding.

In Series 2, the Fierce Earth team continues to showcase the destructive force of nature through stunning BBC footage, other archive material and witness accounts as well as through experiments and demonstrations designed to appeal to a primary geography audience.

We open with Deserts and find the team in the Sahara learning about the power of sand and quicksand in this harsh environment and meeting some of the kids who live a nomadic life here. We move from sandstorms to snowstorms in Blizzards as resident storm chaser Mike Theiss experiences last February’s Boston Blizzard which caused massive disruption in the city.

The team uncover the secrets of Ice and its role in shaping our planet. They look at terrifying ice storms in the US, find out how glaciers are formed and get up close and personal with the slippery stuff on a bobsleigh track in Switzerland. Next they look at life at opposite extremes, first in the world’s Driest place, Chile’s Atacama Desert, and the Wettest, as they track the course of an Indian monsoon and find out how the locals cope with the record-breaking rainfall the world’s biggest weather phenomenon brings.Atacama Desert, Chile

We gain an insight into the devastation wrought when snow and land collapse in Avalanches and Landslides respectively, including an exploration of Britain’s largest sinkhole. In Boiling Earth the team visit a country created by volcanoes - Iceland - and come face to face with the power of a geyser. They find out all about tropical cyclones, or Typhoons, and then don wetsuits to find out all about Waves and Tides at first hand, including a surf lesson from two of America's best teenage exponents of the sport.

This is a visually spectacular series, taking in some incredible places right across the globe and uncovering how the power of the planet makes itself felt at each location. The programme's engaging and entertaining format makes it a highly accessible primary resource for geography which is certain to capture and hold the attention of a young audience.