Geography in the News

Thunderstorms leave a path of destruction

Three thunderstorms swept through Malta between 2nd and 3rd September 2012, dropping more rain on the Maltese Islands in two hours than its normal monthly average for September.

The storms drove traffic to a standstill for hours on end and wreaked havoc on the roads. The torrential rainfall triggered floods that swept and overturned cars, uprooted trees, flooded houses and collapsed walls. Besides all this a man died when he was fatally struck by lightning while taking shelter in a field in Marsascala.

In a statement, the MIA Met Office reported that in 24 hours, 42.4mm of rainfall was measured at Malta Airport Met Office in Luqa, while the peek wind gust reached 48 knots.

The thunderstorm was the result of cold air penetrating into the western Mediterranean which led to the formation of a very slow moving cold pool. The cold pool system extended southwards on creating warm and moist south-westerly air streams close to the central Mediterranean. In the meantime a depression developed over Libya and continued to extend northwards merging with a wide low pressure system over northern Italy. This long area of low pressure across the central Mediterranean triggered the development of thunder clouds which, finding a very warm Mediterranean Sea with a lot of available moisture grew rapidly into large thunderstorms with copious rainfall and strong wind gusts.

Streets were flooded in several localities particularly in Birkirkara, Msida and Qormi, but also in other areas such as Bir Id-Deheb, Bulebel and Burmarrad.


A man died when he was fatally struck by lightning while taking shelter in a field in Marsascala.


Rain came down in bucketfuls


Watch these videos on the devastation caused by flash floods (1) (2)

Geography in the News

Crises in the Sahel

A severe drought is again affecting the Sahel region of West and Central Africa threatening millions of people with hunger. This is resulting into a potentially catastrophic food crisis in eight countries namely, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, Cameroon, Nigeria and Senegal. Millions of children are at risk of severe malnutrition. This year rain was sparse and came late and this will have a devastating effect on most people who live on what they grow. When the rains don’t come on time, harvests fail, animals die and people start going hungry. Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world where children already face daunting odds of survival. The current crisis makes their survival even more tenuous.

Tchyllah, a desert village in the Sahel belt of Chad – a donkey is used to pull up water from deep below the ground. Even so the water is not clean and unsuitable to drink.

Visit this interactive map  of the Sahel for a quick overview of the situation in each country.

Preparing for the Crises in the Sahel region in Africa.  Watch this video produced by UNICEF on food crisis in Sahel.

What's New

Environmental Studies Project 2013

The list of topics for the project to be submitted by students sitting for Environmental Studies has changed. Candidates may now choose any one of the following topics: 

Topic A The human impact on a stretch of coastline in the Maltese Islands
Topic B The use of Solar Energy by Maltese Households
Topic C An architectural legacy from the times of the Order of the Knights of St John in Malta
Topic D The Maltese way of life about two hundred years ago
Topic E An EU-funded project in Malta
Topic F Lifestyle of Maltese youth in the past and present


The project should consist of a report of approximately 1500 to 2000 words about the chosen topic. In their write up candidates are expected to develop the topic in their own words and to supplement their account with appropriate statistics, graphs and photos/sketches/diagrams (with appropriate captions). While candidates are encouraged to use the available literature and the Internet for their research, they are reminded that plagiarised work will be heavily penalised. This work shall carry a total mark of 30/200 or 15% of the global mark of the examination. 

This practical component shall be assessed by the schools during the candidates’ course of study. Projects are to be available at the candidates’ schools for moderation by the Markers’ Panel. Moderators sent by MATSEC have been advised to apply the following Marking Scheme during the moderation exercise.  

a)   Planning and the candidates’ initiative to work on their own;

b)   Development of the work indicating the candidates’ ability to face situations and people

      so as to be able to make observations and collect and assess information;

c)   Effort to ensure that the report is the result of personal work, observations and ideas;

d)   Ability to make use of information, surveys and statistics;

e)   Conclusion indicating ideas, observations and suggestions which the candidates make as  a result  of all that they observe and judge. 

Candidates may also be called for an interview to verify authenticity and to check for plagiarism.

 For further information teachers are strongly advised to consult the syllabus at:

Professional Development Courses

July Inset Course 2012

More than 60 secondary school teachers attended an in-service training course held by the geography section within the CMeLD aimed at teachers currently teaching Form 1 and 2 students. The 3 day-course was held at St Margaret College, Boys’ Secondary School Cospicua. The purpose of this professional training course was to help teachers improve the quality of their teaching and thus enable students raise their level of educational attainment. The course also focused on revisions applied to the Form 1 curriculum following feedback received from teachers who were implementing it for the first time during the present scholastic year. All the participants had the opportunity to reflect and discuss important aspects and approaches put forward by this the new curriculum mainly student-centred learning, enquiry approach and differentiated learning.  

Teachers were also provided with support material including an interective DVD containing all the new documents and all the resources required to implement the curriculum units including maps, images and diagrams, videos, interactive games as well as an extensive list of related websites.


3-day programme 

New Resources Why Geography Matters

A new textbook for Environmental Studies

A new textbook entitled Environmental Education – Malta and Beyond, edited by Mr George Said Zammit, has been published. It provides students and teachers with a resource from which to get the most out of Environmental Studies as offered in schools.

It follows the requirements of the Environmental Studies SEC 13 syllabus.

The book is written for students of average and above average ability and encourages both students and teachers to address the wider environmental issues of the 21st century.

The book, whose authors are experienced practising teachers, follows the specifications of the syllabus closely, covering the six themes: The World-Our Home, Management of Resources, Human Resources, Human Population, Human Communities, Work and Leisure and Managing a Nation.

Contemporary issues such as climate change, biodiversity, renewable sources of energy, waste and water management, housing, health services, transport, heritage, the economy and work in Malta are also covered.

This textbook provides clear and precise information, facts and case studies; well-explained concepts and current issues; full colour photos, maps and diagrams to help illustrate points; a bright and colourful layout; coverage of the three-year course; a clear explanation of geographical processes; ideas for the practical component of the exam; an easy-to-follow format, with difficult words explained in the glossary and a list of related references and websites.

New Resources What's New

New Form 1 and 2 Geography Curriculum

The Geography section within The Curriculum Management and eLearning Department informs all stakeholders that the new Geography curriculum documents for Forms 1 and 2 are now available in the syllabi page of this website as well as on the curriculum website at: .

They will replace the current Form 1 and 2 state school syllabi as from September 2012.

The curriculum documentation consists of a revised handbook for the teaching of each subject, curriculum units with examples of teaching activities for each form together with another document listing the teaching objectives and learning outcomes that need to be covered in a year.


These documents promote constructivist approaches for effective learning and teaching, where learners are actively engaged in using a wide range of resources including communication technologies (ICT). They also provide teaching objectives along with pedagogical suggestions for good practice. They are meant to inspire teachers and are flexible enough to allow teachers develop their own ideas and activities in order to meet the different abilities of the students in their classrooms. 

The objectives, teaching activities and outcomes of the curriculum units have been designed to accommodate teaching approaches that support the learning needs of all students. They encourage teachers to ensure that all students have the maximum opportunity to learn whatever their level.

These documents are available to download from:

 Handbook for the Teaching of Geography.  Click here

Teaching Objectives and Learning Outcomes Form 1.  Click here

Form 1 Curriculum Units with examples of teaching activities.  Click here

Teaching Objectives and Learning Outcomes Form 2.  Click here

Form 2 Curriculum Units with examples of teaching activities.  Click here


New Resources

New Wall Map of the Maltese Islands

The Geography Section within the Curriculum Management and eLearning Department has just produced a large wall map (100cm x 70cm) of the Maltese Islands which will be distributed to schools this scholastic year. Each and every class will be supplied with such a map. The map was designed by Mr John Barbara and Mr Conrad Fenech under the assistance and advice of the Geography Department.  

These new maps are an excellent teaching tool and a stunning addition to any classroom wall. The map will enable students to display, record and analyse information about their local physical and human environment. Teachers are encouraged to make extensive use of this new resource in class since understanding and using maps involves the simultaneous use of a number of concepts and skills including aerial perspective, proportion, map language and arrangement. Students should be given the opportunity to develop their map literacy so that they can use the map to discover and interpret their country in a critical and informed way. The map displays all major towns and villages as well as the principal roads. The physical content includes the main water courses and valleys, headlands and beaches as well as the altitude represented in five different colours. 


download a large copy of the map from here