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20th March 2017

Geography A-Level fieldtrip

Miss Baker

Geography A-Level fieldtrip

Last week 16 A-Level geography students and three members of staff packed up their clipboards and waterproof jackets and headed off down the motorway to North Wales. The best way to learn Geography is by getting out of the classroom, and that is exactly what we had planned for the next three days.

We spent our first afternoon in the lovely little village of Betws-y-coed exploring whether or not the ‘formal’ representations of Betws-y-coed (maps, Census data etc.) are actually mirrored in reality. Students trialed a range of qualitative data collection techniques – some fairly traditional, such as interviews and questionnaires, and some a little more quirky. One of the activities involved following a bird in order to explore areas you might not normally think to look! After a hearty meal of Welsh cawl (stew!) students collated their data and had a go at analysing their findings, which included the tricky task of interview coding.

The next day we were up bright and early for our trip to the beach. Criccieth is a stunning coastal area backed by the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia and overlooked by a 13th century castle. It was the ideal location to assess the sustainability of coastal defenses. The weather was also on our side, which made the task of measuring beach profiles all the more enjoyable. If you ever find yourself in the area, then we can definitely recommend the ice cream shop at the top of the hill as well! The evening was spent trying to eradicate the fear of statistics in geography, and playing a few games of table football!

On our final morning we headed out to the old slate mining village of Llanberis. We visited the fascinating slate mining museum and used some new fieldwork techniques to assess the success of re-branding in the village. We found that the owner of the slate quarries was so hated by the workers (with good reason!) that after his death when his coffin was driven through the village, the inhabitants spat on it.

Then it was time to head back to Sheffield, tired but with a whole bank of trialed and tested fieldwork techniques (and some Welsh cakes!). AS students will be tested on some of their new skills in their exam, whereas A Level students now have to decide which of these techniques they might want to try in their own independent geographical investigation.

Well done to all students involved, and thank you for all of your hard work.

Miss Baker, Mrs Bonner and Mr Russell