Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Review of our Year 10 fieldwork in Maidstone

Hard at work in Tovil
Last Friday we took our group of 37 Year 10 GCSE Geographers out to Maidstone for the day with the aim of answering the question, "How and why does quality of life vary in Maidstone."  This fits into the Economic Development theme in the OCR B GCSE course.

Lovely Maidstone and the River Medway
We were very impressed with our students.  They enjoyed being out in the real world and were very observant all day, collecting excellent primary data.    Our department strapline this year is "Real Places, Real People, Real Geography" and this is certainly what our Bethany students experienced out in the great county town of Kent!  Some of the places visited were an eye opener for our students and a number of them had never visited Maidstone before so it was good for them to be exploring a new place.

We were pleased to involve students in the design of their fieldwork, not always easy when planning teacher-led fieldwork.  We achieved this through students selecting data collection techniques from a list which they justified in their write-up.  We also got them in groups to create some enquiry questions which they could ask local people.  Katy and I had great fun in selecting the 10 best questions but some we sadly had to miss out from the list.  The ones which made us laugh the most were:

a) Do you (sometimes) feel like a social misfit (yes/no)
b) How would you describe your lifestyle i) health and safety, ii) do some exercise, iii) overweight

Katy Lindsey, the Lindsinator, in full swing
I prepared 5 Google Forms, one for each site, with the same set of questions and we mailshot 100 letters in each site containing a unique bitly shortcut to each site.  I am pleased to say we have had quite a few responses, with more from some of our more affluent sites.  Students will be able to combine their primary data with this questionnaire data to gain a real clear idea of quality of life.

We are also going to use Digital Worlds GIS to research deprivation levels across Maidstone and look at income, health and crime.  We will also use the new crime map website to help build a bigger picture.  The challenge will be to do to write up in 1200 words!!

I will write an update over the next few weeks.