Back in December, GCSE geography pupils and those studying Parliament in topic went to London for a curriculum focus trip. The visit was to focus on evolution, global cities, and Parliament as our seat of government in this country.
We arrived at the magnificent Natural History Museum and were treated to an illuminating tour through time and evolution by Dr Lawrence Owens. As a professional bioarchaeologist /anthropologist, Dr Owens was able to speak about evolution, geology, and the palaeontology of animal and human evolution, with a backdrop of one of the finest natural history museums in the world. As well as his wealth of knowledge, he had many fossils and replicas ranging from shark’s teeth and hominin skulls to replica dinosaur claws and fossilised dinosaur poo! The pupils were able to experience the size and scale of a real blue whale skeleton as well as ancient marine reptiles, which some of them are currently studying in the upper school project: Evolution from the Mesozoic to the Present Day. As well as new knowledge and appreciation of natural history, each pupil was given a real-life shark’s tooth by Dr Owens to take home with them. How jaw-some!
If you would like to know more about Dr Lawrence and his work, please follow this link here: https://lawrenceowens.org/ . He is currently working in many different areas in archaeology but of special interest is an ancient Egyptian burial site that is over 5000 years old. He is currently fundraising for the site’s protection and further excavation due to its extreme importance to the understanding of ancient Egyptian archaeology.
The following day, we took part in a tour of the House of Lords and the Houses of Parliament. We were given the opportunity to walk through most of the official rooms within the Houses of Parliament and were able to stand on the pews in the House of Commons, but not sit! After our tour we were given a workshop on how laws are created and how long and rigorous the process is before laws can be passed. The pupils got the opportunity to debate a law on whether smoking should be banned or not. They elected a speaker and the debate was well fought on both sides. Towards the end of the workshop, our local MP, Jess Phillips, came to speak to us. She was approachable and answered all the pupils’ questions in a candid and straightforward manner.
To wrap up the trip, the upper school pupils undertook a couple of hours of global city fieldwork focusing on a centre of governance, centre of communication and a centre of tourist interest. They started using some skills and techniques, which are being developed through this month, to use in their fieldwork expedition to Aberystwyth.
Miss King, January 2023