10 May 2022

Geography Fieldwork is BACK!

Geographers love getting stuck into a bit of fieldwork – especially when it involves pulling on wellingtons and wading into water! GCSE students got knee-deep into learning at Black Brook on a special Options Day that will count towards their GCSE grade.  

Geography teacher, Mr Webb, reports on how GCSE students got in the swim at Black Brook recently. "A field visit is a fantastic way to reinforce classroom learning and allow young geographers to see how the theory works in practice," he says.  

Black Brook was once an industrial beck but is now a quiet, leafy backwater. Rising near Scammonden Dam, the brook flows downhill through Stainland Dean before entering the Calder at West Vale. "The shallow, rushing waters are excellent for carrying out velocity and bedload tests, and access is relatively safe at Barkisland and West Vale."  

For those who have simply played Poohsticks on a riverbank, the term bedload describes the material carried, bouncing and rolling, by a river along its bed. River velocity or speed increases as water flows downstream, leading to a decrease in bedload size. As the water picks up speed, the brook picks up larger and heavier stones, which jostle together and break down into smaller pieces that become smoother and more rounded. That's the theory, and it's fun putting it to the test!  

Students engaged with their fieldwork, and topic-related questions began to flow too. "What's this on the roundness scale, Sir?!" and "You can see that the river is much wider here, isn't it?!" "When you hear questions like this, you know the fieldwork has a real impact. Students can see what is happening for themselves, which is more than any textbook or video can offer. It's wonderful to see their self-confidence grow as they prepare for those all-important GCSE Geography examinations!"

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