As a department we’re taking the time this year to completely refresh and overhaul our KS3 curriculum, which is both exciting and more engaging. This last half term, children have been studying the Earth’s Spheres.

Year 7 have been introduced to the Lithosphere.  The Sphere that studies the Earth’s crust, including landforms, rocks and soils.  They have been introduced to the rock cycle, rock types found across the UK and geological timescales.  We were so impressed by the range & size of some of the rocks children carried to school with them as part of this unit. Perhaps more impressive was the length of time some of these boulders stayed at the bottom of school bags!

In Year 8, taking their knowledge & understanding of rock types, children have developed their understanding of plate tectonics and continental drift.  Origami fortune tellers have been turned into volcano quizzes and cross-sections of the Earth – Reminding lots of the lost art of paper folding.  Volcanic eruptions in Guatemala and Hawaii from last year were studied in class, just before New Zealand experienced the eruption of White Island volcano this week, once again reminding us that Geographical processes have a profound impact across the world.

The Atmosphere and hydrosphere are introduced to children in year 9 to continue examining the Earth’s key systems. They’ve developed their understanding of this thin, fragile layer of gases that surrounds the Earth. A key part of this unit has been understanding cloud types and being able to identify how these link to weather systems. The Cumbrian weather did not disappoint and provided us with excellent examples of both depressions and anti-cyclones, as if on cue for each lesson taught. Children have also re-considered the Hydrosphere – Linking to previous units on rivers & oceans, it’s a timely reminder to consider the water not on the surface of the Earth, but in rain & clouds.  For a while it was refreshing to see #SBCloudSpotting appear on Instagram as the challenge was set to spot & name clouds in the sky.

Our exam classes have worked tirelessly since September and we’re so proud of the progress being made by Year 11 Geographers and those in Years 12 & 13, who are focused and determined to succeed. SENECA online revision tools are helping to guide revision over the next 6 months as we approach the exam season. 

We were pleased to host a Cumberland Geological Society lecture on carbon capture and storage in the lecture theatre earlier this term. It was particularly heartening to see so many of our sixth form students attend.  Video conferencing facilities have now been established within the department to enable communications with professionals in a range of geographical fields from across the world who can’t travel to West Cumbria – Watch this space for exciting developments!

As we look to the Christmas holidays, Year 12 students have been reminded of the importance of celebrating in a sustainable way.  Encouraging others of the benefits of local sourcing when it comes to buying gifts and the positive impacts of recycling packaging carefully to ensure we minimise the impact we have on our planet.  For anyone who wants a Geographical Christmas Challenge – See if you can calculate the food miles you consume this Christmas and tell us in the New Year.

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