All teachers know that a residential trip of any kind is about taking a subject off the page of a text book and presenting it in a ‘real world’ environment. There are few subjects that benefit from this ‘real world’ approach quite as much as geography. Your students may have learnt about wave erosion and sedimentary rock formation, but seeing it in action will make everything they have learned fall perfectly into place.
A residential trip to the Isle of Wight is a great example of an engaging geographical location because it offers your pupils the chance to see a number of geological subjects in action. From the wave erosion of its chalk cliffs to the fossils found in the layers of sedimentary rock, there is a wealth of geological exploration to be enjoyed here.
Here are my suggestions for a really engaging geography trip to the Isle of Wight.
Referred to by geologists as “Dinosaur Island”, the Isle of Wight has a plethora of great fossil hunting beaches for your students to explore. Nothing will capture their imaginations quite like taking home their very own souvenir from the Cretaceous period! Of course, while your pupils are engaged in the hunt for fossils they will also be seeing the historic geology of this island written in the vertical strata of its cliffs (Alum Bay and Whitecliff Bay are particular good sites for highlighting this).
Different beaches offer the chance to uncover different fossil species with the possibility of finding dinosaur and reptile bones on Shepherds Chine, Whale Chine and Yaverland, while Hamstead and Yarmouth are great for mammals, crocodiles, turtles and crustaceans. Your students will love Compton Bay with its imprints of dinosaur footprints and the possibility of finding dinosaur teeth!
The Needles are another fantastic visual representation of geography which your students will be able to see on a residential trip to the Isle of Wight. This iconic landmark attraction, consisting of the three chalk stacks falling away from the land and jutting out from the waves, perfectly illustrate some of the issues of coastal erosion. To make the experience even more engaging, your students will be able to take in the sight of the landmark from the Isle of White’s famous chair lift which will sweep them up from the beach to the cliff tops at Alum Bay.
Amazon World Zoopark
There’s more to the Isle of Wight than just its geology – there are also plenty of resources for exploring its human geography. One fascinating experience for your pupils could be a visit to Amazon World, where they can find out all about the conservation work undertaken by the zoo. From breeding programmes to research studies, the educational department will guide your students around the sights and sounds at this venue.
A residential trip could offer your geography students a great opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom out into the real world. To make sure you get the most out of your time in the Isle of White it is worth making use of a specialist educational tour operator who will create an itinerary based on your specific curriculum.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in residential trip itineraries for school and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveller, John is very passionate about providing students with valuable and engaging learning experiences outside of the classroom. By sharing his expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and bring their studies to life.