In January, the Year 13 Geography team headed to the FSC Field Studies Centre in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. The theme of the day was ‘Water and Carbon Cycles’ which was one of the topics covered back in Year 12. The day was spilt into two parts; the morning was all about the Hydrological Cycle and students were put through their paces trying to recall information covered back in Year 12. In a feisty affair, the boys came out on top in the quiz to kick start the day. Students then headed outside into the freezing cold weather (snowflakes were falling!) to complete their first enquiry of the day. This was investigating the effect of different surfaces found in the drainage basin of a river. This was challenging work as they used the ‘storm simulator’ and the trusty method of measuring jugs to see which surface would have the most dramatic effect on river channels. This was particularly interesting as students could relate what they have learnt in the classroom to how local authorities and construction companies use the same methods to plan building projects to mitigate the effects of flooding. Another aspect of the water cycle they looked at was the process of stem flow. They looked at both deciduous and coniferous trees to investigate which encouraged the most stem flow. Again, this was useful as students were able to recap Year 12 content and view the concepts in a practical sense at the Field Studies Centre. The afternoon session was based on the carbon cycle. Using measuring tools and some complex mathematic calculations, students could estimate the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by the trees in our sampling area. This was followed up by more number crunching until eventually they worked out that a staggering 934,500 tons of carbon dioxide is sequestered by trees in the Misbourne catchment. This was a real eye opener as it shows just how important trees are in acting as an important ‘carbon sink’ close to all our homes!

Sixth Form Geographers enjoy a fieldtrip to Amersham to learn about Water and Carbon Cycles

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