Learning at CGA: Geography

26/01/20213 minute read
Learning at CGA: Geography

A Geography Lesson with a Twist

At CGA we believe each student should pursue their interests and passions fully. So we provide the opportunities for students to explore these interests in unique settings.

Gemma, 17 years old, is a full-time student at CGA from Auckland, New Zealand. She chose CGA for its international curriculum and studies Biology, Chemistry, Geography and English Literature. She really enjoys her Geography class and recently got to on a field trip with AS Geography teacher Vanessa to the Muriwai coastline to explore how it has developed.

I'm really grateful that CGA has given me this opportunity. I think it's a really, really cool time for me to go and do such a thing, especially because I'm almost finishing school now. And I can take this with me when I go to university and things and I think it's gonna be really, really helpful. I really like how it's working on real world problems. I got to do a lot of in depth research, which I just wouldn't get to do in an ordinary classroom. And it was all tailored to me. I think because you do most of your learning online, you get that time to really focus on it. Yeah, it's been a real good adventure.

As the lesson is tailored to Gemma’s interests, she was able to spend the entire time focusing on the topics that interest her. She focuses mainly on the sand dunes. She did a lot of research into the threats and how they developed. She also did a lot of work on how the waves influenced the sand movement. Before going on the trip Gemma and Vanessa did a lot of planning. Gemma watched lots of interactive videos, and did a lot of her own research on getting secondary data. This helped base her research questions.

At the coastline Vanessa and Gemma performed a series of investigations such as longshore drift, and sand movement counting, to determine how the coastline through coastal processes. They collected one type of data at each location. They also looked at how the wave processes are affecting the physical structure of dunes and sediment budgets on the beach.

They collected a variety of data using different methods. They started off with a beach profile, using two one metre rollers, the tape measure and the clinometer, to measure the angle of the beach between different points. Using trigonometric calculations, this data can tell them how steep the beach is once they are back in the classroom. They also did a longshore drift to see the zigzag motion of the water and the current dragging sediment up and taking it away again. This test allowed them to see which end of the beach is likely to be built up over time and eroded and what's going to happen in the future. All this information is used in council planning in terms of preparing and building sea walls.

They also got some climate data just to see how that's going to impact things. And they did a wave count as well, just to get a bit of an idea about how powerful the waves are on a particular day. Gemma really enjoys using the data collected to see how we can actually fix things that are happening to the world right now.