Exploring attitudes and opinions is at the heart of geography, and the opinion line activity allows pupils to do this. Opinion lines give pupils the opportunity to try to understand and appreciate other people's viewpoints as well as defining their own. It provides opportunity also to explore the issue of conflict between different groups/stakeholders.


Preparation of this activity centres around identifying a suitable issue to explore. It is then necessary to prepare a series of statements/ characters that are to be positioned between two defined extremes. In addition to the statements, pupils need to be provided with an 'opinion line' with these two extremes labelled at either end. It is also possible to further explore opinions by deciding upon a second set of extremist views to further divide the statements.



It is useful to start this activity by getting pupils to appreciate the fact that people do have different opinions for a variety of reasons. Using a local example within the classroom to stimulate conflict can be a useful launch into this activity. E.g. Present to the pupils the opinions: "The BNRR should be built", "The BNRR should not be built", and explore their responses, requesting reasons for their decisions.



1) Arrange pupils into suitable sized groups- pairs is perhaps the most appropriate.
2) Distribute the opinion line and the accompanying statements. Pupils need to read and discuss before making any decisions as to where the statements should be placed along the opinion line. Remind pupils that they can change their mind throughout if they feel necessary.
3) Circulate the room to observe how pupils make their decisions and to pick up on any features you may like to refer to in the debrief. It will also be necessary to track the pace at which each of the groups' work.
4) Take time to debrief after this first activity. Pupils' feedback not only on how they placed the statements, but also on how they made their decision. Prompt discussion by asking questions.
5) Proceed with the second activity, providing the pupils with the second opinion line where they rearrange the statements.
6) Final debrief.

Managing the activity

The activity is perhaps best done in pairs, and it is essential that plenty time is set aside for the debrief.






Which people were the easiest/most difficult to place along the living graph and why?
Did the wording used in the labelling of the opinion line cause you any problems?
Where would you place yourself along this opinion line and why?
What conflicts could arise within the characters at different points along the opinion line?