Geography GCSE: Understanding contour lines and gradients

Joe Crowley helps learners to understand contours. Joe explains that contour lines connect points of equal height and that each is marked on a map by a number denoting height above sea level in meters.

The clip shows that if you cross contour lines you are going up or down a gradient, and the closer the lines, the steeper the gradient.

Joe explains how to relate contour lines to actual physical geographical features like valleys and hills.

Contour lines can be used for navigational purposes, which Joe demonstrates using an unusual section of landscape.

This clip is from the series Get Lost.

Teacher Notes

Could be used when introducing the concept of contour lines, or when teaching basic map reading skills.

Useful when discussing height above sea level, gradient and steepness, and communicating how contour lines translate to real landscapes.

Encourage students to understand landscape features and discuss the importance of observing their surroundings and matching them to a position.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Geography.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC KS4/GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 in Scotland