On Tuesday, the composite year 9/10 geography class ventured to Lyndhurst and Oberwater in the New Forest. They were very fortunate with the weather with the rain starting about 15 minutes after data collection finished.
The trip was something of a first for all of us, an SDL field trip! Students had previously set their own ‘Big Question’ or hypothesis prior to the trip and devised their own methods for collecting data to either prove or disprove it. Students were therefore fruitfully engaged in researching problems associated with traffic, environmental quality, type of shop and temporal variations in flows of traffic, pedestrians and even coffee shop patrons. Some of the students did their best to distort the findings in the latter category and the chippy, ice cream, sweet and cold drink shops also benefitted from first hand surveys! The students who struggled most were those relying on questionnaires as they found visitors who knew little about the town and locals jaded by a constant procession of visiting school groups asking the same questions.
Miss Powell, who kindly accompanied the trip, and I were both really impressed with the behaviour of the students around town and their punctuality in getting back to the minibuses driven by Mrs Holley, Graham and Steedman to whom thanks are due.
We then drove on through the picturesque part of Brockenhurst to the second place we were visting, Oberwater. This is a quiet rural area with mixed vegetation and a large grassy area, ideal for football as the boys soon discovered. After a short lunch break students embarked on collecting data for their afternoon surveys which focussed on tourist facilities, footpaths, vegetation communities and, most popular of all the Oberwater stream. Students were intrigued by the rubber ball they were using actually heading upstream due to an eddy before finally going the right way. Resisting the temptation to trial the home made cross-river swings, installed by intrepid tourists, students made their way back to the minibuses for the hour journey back to Wilton.
The trip ticked the boxes for the new GCSE requirements as well as giving an insight into what the Independent Inquiry element of A level might be like. Students found the trip informative and fun. Here are a few quotes:
‘A really enjoyable trip. Would do it again any day!!’ Courtney
‘Thanks very much for the amazing trip Mr Wilson. We had a lot of fun and the people were very friendly to us, and helpfully told us how the town could be improved.’ Trixie
“Awesome trip, I liked doing it in an SDL style” Anne
“Brilliant trip, especially the fact that as students, we had a lot of freedom to carry out the things of our choice to enhance our learning.” – Levi