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Outdoor Learning this year

To some, it may have seemed that I’ve dropped off the planet over the past few weeks.  This has been quite deliberate as we get ourselves organised for a year of getting outside and also while I finish a book project. This post aims to outline some of the activities we plan to do, and how they are linked in to the curriculum, and outline some of the activities during the upcoming Year 10 GCSE fieldtrip to the Dorset Coast.  In particular, I outline how technology and creative techniques are going to be used.  I will be speaking more about this topic at this year’s Microsoft Innovative Education Forum in November.

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I strongly believe that outdoor learning is central to developing young people’s understanding of the world beyond the classroom and is pivotal in encouraging personal development. 

This year, as a department, we have organised many of our outdoor learning opportunities – this means organising paperwork, etc etc. The development of outdoor activities also links to our Ofsted targets.

I thought that we would share some of the activities that we plan to do, and also highlight the unofficial Twitter channel. @field_geography will contain details of the visits and its stream will be aimed mainly at parents and other educators.

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So the visits are (so far):

  • Year 11 GCSE fieldwork in the local area based upon investigating housing issues.
  • Year 10 visiting the Dorset Coast in order to investigate the effects of coastal management and practice their enquiry.
  • Year 7 head to the farm for a day to investigate sustainability issues.
  • Year 8 and 9 take part in two off-site visits for the BBC School Report.
  • Year 8 head to the North Downs for their Eco-Challenge for four days investigating sustainability and conservation.
  • Years 8,9 and 10 will head to Iceland to explore around Easter.

This compliments our use of the School Grounds for fieldwork, including our Guerrilla Geography units.

Year 10 Dorset Fieldtrip

The main purpose of the visit is to practice those skills that will be needed for the Controlled Assessment as well as exploring some landforms around the Highcliffe to Hurst Castle Spit area.

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The aim is to have a wide range of activities and get pupils considering the validity and reliability of different types of data. The Barton-on-Sea are is a classic case study of the effect of coastal management.

Highcliffe Car park

  • Learning walk down to the seafront - pointing out signs of erosion / cliff retreat and management strategies. The classic mantra of ‘eyes were invented before books' will lead this section.
  • Interview people. One of the mainstays of geographical enquiry is the questionnaire, so pupils will discover the pitfalls of collecting data in this way.

  • Field sketch from the clay of Barton cliffs. A field sketch with a difference, using the sand and clay of the area to create and colour a fieldsketch of the area.

  • Plan and shoot a video describing and explaining sea defences in the area. This will be done in small groups of 3 using two Flip Ultra HD cameras.  Pupils will have to be concise during their 30 second clip.

  • Identifying land use from satellite images - these will be transformed into Google Earth placemarks and tours linked to photographs.

  • Record audio describing the coastal management – this will be an optional activity where pupils record short descriptions of the area using their personal devices.

  • Taking photographs of management techniques and evidence of erosion using our Olympus Tough cameras.  The aim is to turn these into collages back in the classroom

  • Soundtrack matching the mood

  • Annotating a map - evidence of coastal management - to be followed up in the classroom and turned into information posters.

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Comments

  1. How lovely to see your plans. Thanks for sharing. I think many secondary teachers remain overwhelmed at the thought of taking students outside to learn and it's such a wasted opportunity.

    I think it's partly because the work has to fit so carefully into the ongoing curriculum and to create outdoor experience that do this just takes time.

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