Fieldwork is crucially important. At this point in time, where many activities for children exist indoors, it is more important than ever that pupils are allowed to explore and interact with the environment around them. People like Dan Raven Ellison and his London National Park concept are at the forefront of this nationally but as Geography teachers we must offer as many chances to interact as we possibly can do.
This year, we have had a real focus on combining the exploration nature of fieldwork with a series of guided building blocks to create a piece of Geographical fieldwork.
In year 7, a little bit of doorstep Geography looking at pollution levels on the school site and fully scaffolded report structure. Trip to the Dorset coast to explore and marvel at some features they had not seen before and undertake 1 A3 sheet of reporting using the guided headings and data collection methods from previous work. Cross curricular with English by creating a documentary style piece of filmmaking.
Year 8 has a focus on not just exploring but gaining knowledge from a fieldtrip. Off to RHS Wisley to explore rainforest like conditions and feed back on plant adaptations with a focus on creating plants. Cross curricular with Biology to allow pupils to understand links between subjects.
Year 9 off to the New Forest to look at Tourism, Honeypot Sites and impacts. GCSE style and content but heavily guided with regards to data presentation, complex methods and conclusions linked to hypotheses. Ideally, some linkage with Art/Graphics as the level of sketching and mapping may require cross curricular skill.
A residential trip to Somerset/Exmoor in year 10 with a focus on data collection methodologies and independent methods- allowing challenge for the more able and hopefully a chance for pupils to move put of their comfort zones to structure their own work and time.
Year 11 has a day trip for controlled assessment ( although this will be gone in the near future) to a tourist hotspot for pupils to create their own work with very limited guidance and scaffold. A chance for them to show off and hopefully engage with a different location!
Sixth Form get a week in Snowdonia, seeing the features that their Cold Environments work tells them about. This is more about bonding as a group and refreshing the fieldwork skills that have been used in the previous years!
All in all, fieldwork NEEDS to be integral to each year group and particularly in areas where fieldwork opportunities are limited outside of school!