Geography Department News

 

 

Space Masterclass

 

Y9 GCSE Trip to the River Darent 2019

 

Each year every Y9 GCSE Geographer visits the River Darent for a day, where we follow it from it's source near Westerham, down to it's mouth at Dartford. Over the course of the 5 different sites that we visit each group gets the opportunity to wade in (kitted out with a pair of waist high waders to dry and keep dry!) and conduct a series of fieldwork experiments, ranging from measuring the gradient of the river valley, the river's cross section, it's velocity and the sediment load. Ultimately pupils get the opportunity to gaining valuable skills in conducting fieldwork, just like they would do in the world of work, whilst also testing out their various hypotheses and theories they have learnt in the classroom, and can begin to critique them.

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The Lake District Residential 2019

 

At 5:30am, on a rather cold, dark, Friday morning, some 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 a 9 hour drive, which featured lots of snacks and McDonalds, 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 reached the summit to clear blue sky views across Derwent Water over to Keswick and Skiddaw.

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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 it was where we occupied ourselves with pool, table tennis and table football and tucked into dinner each evening 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 set off on our most challenging walk yet, walking alongside the Crummock Water before climbing up to the highest waterfall in England, Scale Force, at over 120ft tall. From there we climbed up over 805m to the summit of Red Pike. However the cloud was coming in thick and fast and meant a detour from our usual route and instead taking the early exit route down Red Screes back down to Buttermere. After a slightly bumpy way down, and after walking 8 miles and for 7 and ½ hours we reached the bottom at Buttermere Lake, having completed a phenomenal day of walking which many adults would find gruelling! Strangely they all slept soundly that night!!

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Sunday was a slightly different day. Rather than walking we headed round to get kitted up with a thermal onesie, waterproof trousers and tops, before climbing approximately 250m. From there we descended in a fast flowing mountain stream (known as a ghyll) instantly getting frozen! We then had to make our way back down the mountain by wading through the ghyll, sliding down rocks face first, head face, forwards, backwards, diving through narrow crevices and jumping off 10ft waterfalls into plunge pools! This was exhilarating at it’s best!  

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Thoroughly soaked and very cold we headed back to the hostel to dry off and a change of clothes! A couple of hours free time in Keswick was then spent bartering and trading in the legendary Swap Shop Competition – teams were given £1 at the beginning and given 2 hours to swap their way to the best prize they could, returning with a decorative plate, a teddy bear and a necklace!

Sunday night featured a river side camp fire with toasted marshmellows, and strange mystical blue fire, followed by the now annual Bonus Lakeland Award Ceremony.

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 Rayney, Miss Fullilove, Miss Odlum and Mr Jasper 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.

 

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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!

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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.

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Well done Y7 for a fantastic day and for getting to grips with some GCSE content already!