All Y7 are receiving this week their gift from the Department of Infrastructure – a brand new 1:25,000 map of the Isle of Man.
This is provided each year for Y7 students in all the island schools, and it is used straight away with SNHS geographers to create a project between now and Christmas called the ‘My Patch’ project, where students use maps, photos and other evidence such as fieldsketches to show geographical and mapping skills needed to describe their ‘patch’- the location and features of their home and surrounding area. The maps are then kept by the students to make reference to throughout their geography learning career!
Many thanks to the DOI for supplying the maps for our students to use.
Students from 7JKM with their maps
Y10 GCSE students investigated the impacts of quarrying, by going to a public enquiry!
Billown Lime Quarries Ltd, a member of the Colas group, have provided SNHS Geography department with a set of resources to teach about how to make quarrying sustainable, and the importance of resource extraction on the Isle of Man. The students each represented a character who would have an opinion about extending Billown Quarry, ranging from farmers, villagers, HGV drivers, the Steam Packet, Manx National Heritage and Manx Wildlife, as well as Colas and the quarry workers themselves.
Adam, Nialls and Michael were excellent as the public enquiry panel who had to make tough decisions to find a suitable compromise.
The public enquiry panel- keeping the meeting under control
Based on a real public enquiry that happened in 2004, the students have certainly gained a good insight into different interest groups, and will have learnt a local case study they can use as evidence in their exams.
The Colas Ltd team
Representatives from the HGV/ haulage companies and the island’s farmers ready to put their opinion forwards
Y13 braved the inclement (i.e. completely torrential cloudbursts) last week to try their hand at identifying species within ecosystems.
Firstly they ticked the box for ‘deciduous woodland’ by collecting leaf and minibeast samples at Molly Quirk Glen, enabling them to recognise native trees such as oak, ash and birch, and the dominant species beech. They also had to analyse site factors and location, to see how slopes and prevailing winds may have altered direction of branches and canopies, how the south facing side of the trunk was drier and less prone to moss or lichen, and also how leaf litter restricted growth on the forest floor and at shrub level. They also considered how management of the woodland influenced growth patterns- new plantings, removal of trees allowing light into new areas, and the planting of non-native species such as Rhododendron and other invasive species.
Molly Quirk Glen- doing a bit of tree spotting
Following this, the students looked at two contrasting ‘heather moorland’ ecosystems, one of which was above Creg-ny-Baa where the the heather has reached its mature stage and other species such as mountain ash, bramble and bilberries are becoming established due to restrictions on grazing and fire management in the area. This was compared with grazed moorland at Keppel Gate, where the heather is much less well established and at low level, and grass and reeds are more successful able to complete for light, nutrients and space.
And as for ‘Jumping Joe’? The best way to get through tall heather apparently. Hilarious!
Using quadrats to randomly sample plant species
Why do we do geography fieldwork? What do the students learn, and what experiences will they achieve? Why is fieldwork more than just understanding the concepts? Why is fieldwork an essential component of KS3 due to its role at GCSE and A-level? How do we know our children will be safe? Can we help out too?
If you ever wondered about some of these question when your child brought home a geography fiedtrip consent form, then now is your chance to find out. Further details are on the main SNHS school website and can be found here