Geographers investigate cities and rivers

Friday 22 September 2023

Our GCSE Geography cohort have embarked on various field study visits over the last couple of weeks to help them prepare for their upcoming mock examinations and ultimately their summer exams.  The two field study enquiries were carried out in contrasting environments to show an understanding of both physical and human geography in a fieldwork setting to help them prepare for Paper 3: Geographical Applications, which make up 30% of their overall GCSE grade.  

On our first field study visit, we ventured around Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, exploring the challenges we face in terms of transport, crime, accessibility, dereliction, and land-use and whether regeneration has occurred, and if so, had it been successful.  Our step count was up by the end of this day, walking from Monument to the Ouseburn, the Quayside and back to Haymarket.  To collect a breadth of data, students had to do pedestrian counts (a common question was if dogs counted!), land use surveys and environmental quality surveys.  We also studied graffiti to discuss which was intentional graffiti like that along the Ousburn, used as piece of art to show the history of the Ouseburn, compared to graffiti which could be associated with crime.  We even did some re-photography, where students were given a photograph of the Ouseburn from the 1800s and they had to sketch and annotate how that space was different now. 

On our second field studies this week, we explored the Derwent River to assess how its characteristics change from source to mouth, in terms of width, depth, wetness, velocity, gradient and bedload shape and size.  We started our enquiry in Blanchland Village, approximately 40 miles north-west of Emmanuel College. Our equipment involved metre rulers, metal chains, dog biscuits, tape measures, clinometers and, of course, wellies!  We did have a few soggy feet by the end of the day as water levels were higher than expected at Blanchland, but the students took it in their stride and showed resilience!  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in at Carrick’s Plantation due to the high water levels and fast flowing current, but students were back in the river again at Allensford Park.  

The character the students displayed on both days was exemplary, particularly when around Newcastle.  Their conduct around their peers and the public represented the College in a fantastic light and the resilience students showed to the ever-changing weather and the somewhat tricky data collection methods was admirable.