As part of their IGCSE Geography, students have to complete an Alternative to Coursework paper, which involves an investigation linked to one of the physical geography topics and one of the human geography topics. Therefore it is extremely important that students have experience of doing this, and are as competent as possible when using the equipment which they are likely to be asked questions about in their exam.
To this end, the BSB Geography department organised two field trips in a row for students to carry out an investigation so that questions in the exam will not be abstract to them. These outings also gave them a chance to see some of the theory they had studied in class, which, especially for the physical geography topics like rivers and coasts, make much more sense when they can see it first hand.
The students were performing investigations into the river Tordera, by the Montseny Natural Park on Thursday, 11th June. This involved going to different sites and measuring the depth, width, velocity, particle size and channel gradient, and then see how and why this changed from the source to the mouth of the river. On Friday, their investigations in Sitges comprised coastal erosion, transportation and their landforms, which included taking measurements at different sites along the beach. Students also investigated the effects of tourism on Sitges, by doing land-use surveys, pedestrian counts and a questionnaire in 5 areas of the commercial district of the village.
Through our IGCSE Geography syllabus, we aim to help students develop a ´sense of place´ by looking at the world around them on a local, regional and global scale. The syllabus also tests pupils´ knowledge of practical geographical skills. Consequently, these trips are an invaluable way to enable them to understand how to use the equipment, how to carry out an investigation and to help consolidate the learning they have done throughout the year in Geography. Furthermore, they will also be able to build on the trip by writing up their investigations, which will give them the opportunity to graph their results, analyse the data and evaluate the process.
Miss Girvan, their IGCSE Geography teacher, explained “This was the first time we have taken this year group on these 2 fieldtrips, but we hope to have it as a regular trip now. It is very important to get out and experience geography, especially as we have so much to help their knowledge and understanding of Geography on our door step.”
Most importantly, the students really enjoyed the two days and found the experience very useful. They said they now feel more confident on the physical Geography topics and how to use the equipment when carrying out an investigation, which is the best feedback we can receive on our teachers’ work and commitment to meaningful learning.