Longshore Drift is the process by which the sea moves sediment along the beach. In order to ascertain whether or not this hypothesis was true, students needed to measure the sand either side of the groynes on the beach.

As part of the new OCR B GCSE course, students are required to participate in 2 days of fieldwork investigation in order to sit an exam. In June, the Geography department took the Year 10 students down to Swanage Bay to complete the physical geography element of this.

As there are 99 students taking GCSE this year, the trip spread across 2 days. On both days we had beautiful weather so it was great for students and staff to be able to enjoy learning outside the classroom.

Upon arriving in Dorset, we first made a stop to go and see Old Harry Rocks. We took a short walk up to the viewpoint and students were then able to look out over Old Harry as well as surrounding cliffs which showed some good examples of biological weathering. Old Harry Rocks are a formation of headland erosion. The students have studied Old Harry in lessons as part of a case study so it was great to have the opportunity to see it in real life.

The aim of the fieldwork was to collect data to investigate the following hypothesis: “Longshore drift is present on Swanage Beach.”

The study was to be carried out over 10 groynes. At each groyne, students measured the height of the sand on both the north and the south side of the groyne. If one side consistently has higher sand than the other, this is indicative that Longshore Drift is indeed present.

Students were also required to complete a field sketch of a groyne. Field sketches are an important primary data collection technique as they can be used to record the most important aspects of a landscape as well as noting the relationships between different elements of the landscape. It is important to consider what you want to represent in your fieldsketch in order to ensure if adds value to the investigation. Students were also taking photographs to compliment their fieldsketches.

As well as collecting their data, the students were also able to have lunch and some ice creams on the beach.

Overall we had 2 successful days of fieldwork. The students were all well behaved and were able to collect some useful data to take back and analyse in the classroom.

Some students had the following to say about the trip:

“It was nice to learn something outside of school.”

“I enjoyed it very much, I felt like I understood Old Harry more being able to see it for myself.”

“I like going and collecting data for myself as you get to see first hand instead of having someone else tell you.”

“It was a good opportunity.” “The ice-cream was really good.”

“I found it easier to get the data in person so you don’t just get given numbers and not understand where they came from.”

“It will help me to remember things in the exam.”

We look forward to taking these students on the second of their 2 trips in September. They were a credit to the school.

Mr Taylor, Head of Humanities

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