AS & A2 Geography field trip: Following the River Rea

AS & A2 Geography field trip: Following the River Rea

In March we took a group of six students on a Geography field trip to the River Rea to study the way in which a river develops and changes as it moves downstream. From humble beginnings at the source of the river at the Waseley Hills, we studied sites at Daffodil Park, Rea Valley Drive and Holders Lane Playing Fields before examining a final site at Cannon Hill Park which signalled the moment when the river completed its transition into a canal.

A crucial part of AS Geography is giving students the opportunity to get their hands dirty as they develop their knowledge and understanding of sampling techniques. As we moved down the river, the geographers had to take sediment samples, measure depth and test the velocity of the river. Students were encouraged to work independently and spent time prior to the trip planning, coming up with hypotheses and examining maps. Each student had a hypothesis and a number of questions that they needed to find answers to in order to prove or disprove their theory.

On the day of the trip, the weather held for the most part and the students clad in wellington boots started at the source of the river where they studied their surroundings. They took photographs and were quizzed as to how they were going to get the results they needed. They divided themselves into teams in order to get results efficiently and everyone had to take their turn at standing in the river to record results or measure the length of the riverbed! Students were also able to see in reality how a river can be affected by erosion, transportation, deposition and human interference, all key elements of the AS specification.

All students were able to gather all the data they needed and once armed with the results to their queries students then collated, analysed and presented their results using graphical and statistical skills. They were also encouraged to discuss and debate ways in which their fieldwork enquiry could be improved and suggest areas for future study.

On May 16th students sat an exam based on their fieldwork and we are all crossing our fingers for them regarding the results!