Geography Department News
London is 49% what…?
Challenge Trip to ‘London as a National Park City’ Lecture
National Parks were established 100 years ago by a Scottish Geographer called John Muir, and currently 13 exist throughout the UK, provided areas where the natural beauty, wildlife and cultures are protected.
However can a city be a national park?
This was the question posed to us at a lecture held at the Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday 21st September in which 3 of our GCSE students attended. The concept of a national park city is a recent one, and originates from a Geographer who is proposing that by making London a National Park City it would help protect the green spaces within London from future development, whilst encouraging greater partnerships and environmental concern across the city.
We heard short presentations from a variety of speakers on a range of topics ranging from how wildlife will be enhanced, how the River Thames could become clean enough to swim in to how green spaces help improve the mental health and physical health of both adults and children.
The dilemma, is how can we protect some of the 49% of the London that is green space, whilst also providing new homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure? However with the new mayor’s approval we might soon be living within a National Park City.
Well done to Xavier Murrow, Vaughn Mulhall and Matteo Lucignano for attending.
Why is our country shrinking?
How do we stop it?
Or should we?
These were all questions facing and stretching the thinking of some of our Year 7s on Friday. As a reward for excellent effort and making outstanding progress over the year in Geography, at 8am on Friday morning 25 Y7s set off with Mr Lawrence, Mr Ryan, Mr Manning and Miss Odlum to the beach to experience some GCSE Geography!
We arrived at Kingsgate Bay where pupils looked at issues of erosion and how coastal features such as bays and headlands, caves, arches and wave cut platforms are all formed before exploring the caves, rock pools, sea and sandy beach!
After a quick lunch time game of Danish Longball we ventured off again to visit the historic Roman Fort and Saxon Church at Reculver. Here the low lying sandstone geology is significantly different to the high chalk headlands and cliffs of Kingsgate Bay meaning that the area experiences high rates of erosion (around 3-4m a year).
Pupils analysed the advantages and disadvantages of the various coastal defences used at Reculver including rock armour, groynes and a sea wall. Finally we discussed and debated whether the £12m price tag was worth it, or whether the surrounding farmland should be allowed to erode and flood in order to protect other valuable areas such as Herne Bay. An ice cream later and we set off back to school.
Well done Y7 for a fantastic day and for getting to grips with some GCSE content already!
Year 10 Geography Residential
Lake District 2016
At 5:45am, on a rather cold, dark, Friday morning, 16 intrepid, but sleepy, Year 10s loaded their bags onto the school minibuses ready to set off for a long weekend exploring the Lake District. After an 8 hour drive, which featured lots of snacks, bouncing balls and 90s singalong music, we arrived at the foot of Catbells in the Lake District, a 400m high mountain overlooking Derwent Water. Despite the steep slopes and some serious scrambling all 16 reached the summit to clear blue sky views across Derwent Water over to Keswick and Skiddaw.
Our home for the weekend was Borrowdale Youth Hostel, nestled in the heart of Borrowdale Valley overlooking the River Derwent, (but where there was not a single bar of mobile reception!) However where we occupied ourselves with pool, table tennis and table football and tucked into a 3 course dinner each dinner and full cooked English breakfast each morning.
After a slightly hair rising drive over Honistor Pass on Saturday morning we arrived at Buttermere, a village of only a few houses and an ice cream shop. We all set off around the lake, enjoying the views and the reflections of the mountains on the water. It was half way round whereby some of the group, led by Mr Ryan and Mr Lawrence headed up, 807m up to be precise, to the top of High Crag and High Stile to unclouded views across from the Irish Sea to the snow topped Pillar and Scarfell Pike. 6 hours and a steep descent later the group were reunited with those who had been enjoying the delights of locally made ice cream and set off to Keswick for some free time.
Sunday was to prove the toughest challenge yet. A steep walk up the 3rd highest mountain in England, Skiddaw where we walked up through the snow into the clouds!
The afternoon provided a chance to complete the swap shop challenge in Keswick (start with £1 and bring back the best item possible). After some dubious swapping from Charis’s team, Emma’s team returned with a bag of bird seed (but in hindsight should have stayed with the souvenir tea towel), but was blown away by the boys who returned with a locally made slate necklace and fleece, perfect for Mr Lawrence’s next visit and so were rewarded with pure sugar in the form of Kendal Mint Cake.
Sunday night featured a river side camp fire with toasted marshmellows and hot chocolate, followed by the now annual Bonus Lakeland Award Ceremony with key awards such as the Mountain Goat Award going to Othniel for bounding up Scarth Gap carrying his bag, and the 90s DJ Award going to Caitlin for her excellent taste in music.
A 6am start on Monday and an early breakfast meant we arrived in Grasmere village for some souvenir shopping before the long drive back to Lewisham (which was a surprisingly quiet drive as most people were sound asleep).
Mr Lawrence would like to thank all of the Year 10s who came for their outstanding effort and determination, whilst also being a great laugh and pleasure to be with.
Also a big thank you to Mr Ryan, Mrs Quinn and Miss Hill for being the extra staff who made it all work so smoothly, and to Miss McMahon and Miss Howard for ensuring that we were able to go safely.
It was a fantastic trip and Mr Lawrence has already booked again for next year ready for the current Year 9s.
Geography Department Update!
It has been a busy couple of weeks in the Geography department since ½ term, and we have been amazed by how hard our pupils have worked, both in school and out...
Year 8 Progress Reward Trip:
Last week 10 of our Year 8 pupils who are currently working significantly above their target grade were rewarded with a trip to the Olympic Park in Stratford. Pupils worked with a representative from the Field Studies Council to challenge themselves by carrying out some GCSE fieldwork techniques examining “how sustainable were the Olympics?” We looked at issues ranging from the creation of new wildlife habitats, to whether the new housing developments are affordable for locals and how the stadiums are being used in the future. To round off the day we took a trip up 114m to the top of the Orbit, for a 360’ panorama of the London skyline! A great day was had by all and the pupils rose to the challenge of working at a GCSE Level.
Year 9 Fieldwork in the River:
Y9s, as part of their new GCSE, are required to undertake 1 day of physical fieldwork on which they will be examined on at the end of Year 11. Consequently all of our Y9 Geographers have spent a day visiting the River Darent in Kent, donning highly fashionable pairs of waist high waders before getting in and measuring the width, depth and velocity along various points of the river in an attempt to prove their hypotheses. Pupils worked exceptionally well despite maybe getting a little wet! They will go out again next year for their human fieldwork, along with having trips to the beach and Lake District to look forward to as well. Well done Y9s!
Year 8 Disaster Zone Homework’s!
Year 8 Geographers have been studying natural disasters, volcanos, earthquakes etc and were set the challenge of building a disaster zone for their homework. There have been some truly outstanding creations (some of the best that I have seen in my entire career!) ranging from erupting volcanos, tsunamis, and even a working earthquake! There are still some models to come in and once all models have been received Mrs Holden is going to help us judge the winner and award the £20 prize. But well done for the truly phenomenal response Year 8, the best ever! (tip…after Easter we’ll be studying rivers…can you think about how you would make a working, maybe flooding, river model?)
Maps….in Japanese…? 日本.INマップ... ... ？
... Was the issue that our Y9 and Y10 GCSE Geographers had to face this Monday, and more importantly, how as the first people into an area after a natural disasters such as the tsunami that devastated Sendai in Japan in 2010, would you use maps to coordinate the response effort.
The workshop was held by the British Cartography Society and challenged pupils to practice and develop their map reading and making skills through simulating a real life response to the Japanese earthquake and following tsunami. Where would you evacuate people to? Where would you establish emergency field hospitals and search and rescue centres? Locating key infrastructure that they would need to be near too such as roads, railways and airports, though far enough away from the exclusion zone due to the nuclear power plant leaking out radiation!
Pupils enjoyed the session and began to understand how important cartography and mapping skills are in real life emergencies, whilst also practicing key decision making skills that will be important for their exams.
Well done Year 9 and Year 10