Investigating interdependence in a local town or village, the scale determined by age of pupils, and school location. Pupils study similarities and differences in environmental quality, land-use, local services & transport. Can be adapted to suit whatever has already been studied at school to allow a direct comparison.
Making a map of a given field site, which could be the area around where you stay or another interesting place nearby. Maps are created using compasses and pacing, or more simply, depending on the group. We can then compare the pupils’ work with the Ordnance Survey & other published maps.
As well as classic orienteering at one of the many local permanent courses, we can also offer a number of variations in the grounds of your accommodation or nearby – that could include very simple map work as an introduction, looking for leaves/objects/features, brass rubbing at controls, or Norwegian orienteering for advanced groups. Pupils can also experiment with creating their own course(s).
‘Forensics’ -Taffy the Welsh Mountain Sheep (or a similarly colourful local character) has been kidnapped, but has been able to send messages describing the route to the hideaway. Using his clues, pupils find him with maps of the area and other clues –possibly using some tracking symbols too.
–navigating with GPS and/or grid references to find caches (hidden containers) which contain activities and directions to the next cache, linking with a local geocaching.com cache(s). Activities are generally connected to the mountain environment/mountain travel, and so the route tends to be on a local hill, although other opportunities can be explored for less able/mobile groups.
Using a local river to investigate the water cycle -a simple experiment looking at how rivers change in terms of landforms and processes along their length. We typically measure width, depth, velocity and gradient, and assess the size of stones on the river bed. The number of measurements/repetitions and sites used can be varied to reflect the age and understanding of the pupils.
Using the Glamorgan Heritage coast, we are able to demonstrate a range of coastal processes, and investigate how they are managed. Themes of erosion & weathering, cliff recession , long shore drift and/or storm beaches can all be introduced/exemplified with this study.
Investigating a Local Issue
The Brecon Beacons National Park and the local towns offer many opportunities to study local issues, including managing tourists, flooding and development issues, allowing us to tailor the chosen study to your scheme of work, and the backgrounds of your pupils. We complete a number of surveys to measure the impact of the specific issue of people and environment and, where possible, carry out questionnaires.
How does weather vary around a site? An investigation of temperature variations whilst climbing a hill, and the factors that affect it, such as land use, aspect, wind speed and gradient. Similar investigations could be completed around buildings, water bodies, forests and in valleys, again depending on your group’s fitness and ability as well as the amount of time available.
We are also able to facilitate farm visits, museum visits (Big Pit is nearby, as are several other excellent sites) and a number of days could also include visits to Forestry Commission or Brecon Beacons National Park visitor centres. Occasionally a small fee is required, depending on the visit.
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What are the local buildings made from, where have the materials come from & why did the builders use them? Using photo guides on a walk through a local settlement, pupils are encouraged to identify building materials and their properties. Can be connected with the Contrasting Locality study in the Geography section.
Using the hostel/centre grounds and surrounding area to explore a range of habitats, including managed lawns, fields, woodlands, orchards, gardens, hedgerows, soil, and, where available, freshwater. Depending on the chosen habitats, pupils could compare plants and/or invertebrates. How are they adapted and what sort of food chain exists?
Befriend a Tree
A blindfolded child is taken to a tree by their group and uses other senses to find out about it, is taken away from it, then tries to find it again. Could also find the oldest/tallest tree. Easily combined with a Comparing Habitats day.
An investigation of the way in which plant & animal life changes with distance from the sea, on the rocky foreshore of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast. This study is tide dependant, and may not be entirely applicable for all groups.
A study of vegetation changes along an environmental gradient, from “dry” moorland to wet peat bog. How are the plants suited to the environment they grow in? Can be combined with a walk to the summit of the Blorenge.
- Paper planes –how far can the pupils get them to fly, how do they fly, what’s the best design?
- Great egg drop – designing a protective structure from paper and other selected items to prevent an egg from breaking when dropped from height.
- Making a “missile” (soft balls/water balloons) launcher from bamboo canes/similar, string (and maybe elastic) -how far can the pupils get it to travel? Alternatively we can make use of water rockets for a shorter session.
- Levers & pivots -team-building games in which forces must be balanced to succeed.
How can we generate electricity without a power station? Where is the best place to put a wind/hydroelectric turbine around the hostel/centre site? How do they work? Pupils are allowed to experiment with working models to see how much energy they can produce.
What’s in a soil? Investigating different features of soil around the centre/hostel, which could also involve a walk in the local area. How do the soils change? What’s living in the soil? We also could dry it/sieve it/do soil paintings back at base.
Using a combination of Google Sky Map and printed star maps we try to identify the dozen of constellations visible in the UK’s most recent Dark Skies Reserve. There are a number of associated activities, which allow us to continue even when the skies are cloudy, or during daylight.
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The History and Cross-curricular activities are not described in further detail, but please feel free to contact us to discuss the options further.