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June 09th 2017

Hands-on Learning

Girls studying Environmental Systems and Societies, Biology and Geography got their hands dirty this term with fieldwork at Camber Sands and Horton Kirby.  As well as the learning and developing physical fieldwork techniques, the girls were also able to explore wider issues such as conservation and the impact of tourism.

Year 12 Geography and ESS students were the first to head out, visiting Camber Sands.  For Geography pupils, the trip was to collect data for their Internal Assessments.  The girls design and collect the fieldwork to complete a full write up to investigate the question: “To what extent do sand dunes at Camber Sands represent sand dune succession theory with regard to plant height, plant species diversity, percentage cover and pH?”

For ESS girls, the trip allowed them to develop their sampling techniques: discovering what organisms were present, and how many, as well as seeing if they can relate it to abiotic (non-living) factors such as distance from the shore/height of the dune, pH of the sand, wind speed and so on.  The girls also measured the presence/absence of living organisms and their distribution to compare with older data to see if changes are happening.  The trip also ties in with the topic of conservation: Camber has protected and non-protected dune areas, enabling the girls to look at conservation strategies put in place. They can also explore the extent to which tourism damages the dunes, for example, comparing litter near protected/unprotected areas and counting the number of people in the dunes.

ESS girls later joined Year 12 Biology students for a River Study at Horton Kirby, a site later visited by Year 9 Geography pupils. 

Horton Kirby provides students with the opportunity to practise and evaluate sampling techniques, and discuss the issues associated with reliability of data.  Girls were also able to look at the distribution of organisms and whether they are affected by river speed, type of substrate, and depth of water.  They also explored food chains/food webs and the wider impact this may have if part of the food chain becomes damaged by natural events such as floods, or human impact, such as pollution, damming, and tourism.

Year 9 girls investigated how the River Darent changes downstream, with the trip providing the opportunity to develop fieldwork skills in readiness for the iGCSE course. The girls wrote up their findings for their final assessed piece of work this year.

Watch highlights of the ESS River Study:

Watch highlights of the Camber Sands Field Trip:

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