Practical fieldwork for Sixth Form Geographers

January 10, 2017

In December Farlington’s Lower Sixth Geographers, accompanied by Geography teacher Mrs Edgar, participated in two days of fieldwork at the Field Studies Council (FSC) centre at Juniper Hall in Dorking. The girls were completing their first A Level fieldwork investigation which now forms a central part of the new 2016 Geography A Level specification.

The students spent Wednesday researching how humans have modified the water and carbon cycles through changing land use cover. Research was varied and included calculating the biomass of trees in a local woodland to identify the carbon store in this environment.

Research also included measuring infiltration rates on different land surfaces. Significant data analysis followed and the girls were working late in the evening with Mrs Edgar completing statistical tests.

Starting early on Thursday morning, the girls visited Dorking to investigate ‘What is in a place?’ as part of the Changing Places Making Spaces unit. The girls collected both qualitative and quantitative data to create a profile of the town.

By examining the geographical context of Dorking, the girls were able to investigate how local, regional and national connections helped shape the identity of Dorking. The girls spent the afternoon at the FSC centre at Juniper Hall completing a written report on their methodology as well as using ArcGIS, geographic information system for working with maps and geographic information, to present their data on environmental quality. The girls finished by creating a display of their results to conclude their investigation.

Following these two successful days of fieldwork, the girls are looking forward to their next research day with the FSC in which will focus on the Sussex coast from Newhaven to Seaford. They will be considering how coastal landscapes can be viewed as systems and through their research they will be able to critically reflect on the management strategies being implemented at Seaford.

According to the Royal Geographical Society ‘fieldwork is not just an important part of studying geography, it offers a wonderful way of seeing the world and a chance for personal development’.

The Geography Department at Farlington strongly embraces this philosophy towards fieldwork. Not only does fieldwork enable geographical concepts and theories to come to life by advancing knowledge and understanding, it enables students to take responsibility for their learning by gaining confidence and developing skills such as leadership and teamwork. Farlington seeks every opportunity to establish a range of fieldwork opportunities for every year group.