Combining enquiry skills with fieldwork techniques and applying them to a broad range of practical activities, gives pupils of all ages and abilities the chance of meaningful and enjoyable learning opportunities. The Centre is well resourced and has considerable expertise in the subject area.
Contrasting Locality (Half day activity, whole class)
The rural villages of Wrotham and Trottiscliffe are within easy reach of the Centre and allows extensive comparison with the urban environment. If we travel slightly further afield, Eynsford village offers scope for an excellent comparative study. Our contrasting locations studies engage the students to look, listen and smell the differences experienced in a rural setting.
River Investigation (Half day activity, whole class)
The properties of water can be explored using experiments set up at the Centre. These are designed to help pupils better understand the terms erosion, meander, transportation and deposition before they visit the River Darent. At the river pupils investigate questions like ’where does the river flow the fastest?’ Pupils are encouraged to test their hypothesis and to use field techniques to measure velocity, profile the channel, observe how the river is being managed and record their findings. Management issues and the need to sustain resources are also discussed.
Trosley Country Park is near to the Centre and forms part of the North Downs Way, making it a popular recreation area for ramblers and tourists. The environmental impact caused by people using the park forms the basis of this imaginative study. Pupils survey the erosion of an existing footpath and record their findings. Then using ranging poles and clinometers, they set about surveying a section of the North Downs escarpment. These results are drawn up as slope profiles and the data is used to decide whether the footpath should be re- routed. Drama, role-play and debating are some of the ways in which pupils are encouraged to communicate their findings.
Micro climate exercise
Pupils have the opportunity to try out a problem solving activity using digital recording equipment in the field and computers in the classroom. An imaginative and enjoyable The North Downs Trail
exercise which can be adapted for older pupils.
The local footpath network is easily accessible and includes the North Downs Way, Pilgrims Way and Trosley Country Park. The setting of this rural environment offers some striking contrasts to the urban environment. Pupils record their findings by annotating field sketches, making their own sketches and using digital cameras.