Dale Fort Field Trip

Dale Fort Field Trip

Biology fieldwork offers a dynamic and immersive approach to learning. By venturing into the great outdoors to observe, study, and analyse living organisms in their natural habitats, pupils gain invaluable hands-on experience and a deeper understanding of the subject.

The IB Diploma Programme Biology field trip departed School for Dale Fort in Wales at 7.30am sharp on Monday 11 May. The journey by coach was luxurious and the group arrived at lunchtime in glorious weather.

Dale Fort is set in a spectacular location high on the cliffs within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park with superb views over the sea. Built in 1856 to defend the Milford Haven waterway against invasion, it has been a field centre since 1948.

The pupils got straight to work, spending a wonderfully sunny afternoon doing seashore identification. By the end of the day, they were able to tell the difference between a purple topshell (Steromphala umbilicalis) and a toothed topshell (Phorcus lineatus), identify their bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) from their egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum).

Day 2 saw the pupils completing more collection methods and looking at different shore zones. By evening they were back in the classroom coming up with individual project titles.

On day 3 the pupils began collecting their own data having had to wait until the afternoon as the tides were not favourable. The weather at this stage was against them, after a very, very wet few hours, pupils returned to the classroom.

The final day and a half saw pupils spending time writing their Internal Assessments (IAs) with total focus in the classroom. The pupils submitted their first drafts before wandering back down the lane to the village where the minibus would pick them up.

We have faced both ends of the weather spectrum. The pupils have made great headway in terms of getting to be specialists on the organisms on the sea shore. They have all selected an individual project ranging from studying seaweed bladders to dog whelk tenacity. The group have remained upbeat despite getting very wet and cold when collecting their personal field data.

Mrs Abigail Higgins, Head of Biology

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