Field Studies – Key Stage 4

Medina Valley Centre offers field study courses for GCSE Environmental Science which are specially tailored for each school. There is a strong emphasis on Biology but fieldwork can also benefit other aspects of the GCSE curriculum such as alternative energy and soils.

At Key Stage 4, an Environmental Science field study course helps bring the text book to life and allows students to carry out practical investigations to learn “How Science Works” and consider different case studies to see “Science in Action”, as well as reinforcing other aspects of the GCSE syllabus.

All field study sites are within a 40 minute drive from the Medina Valley Centre, or within walking distance.

GCSE Environmental Science field study courses can include the following fieldwork options:

Pond Study

Using their own results, this investigation into invertebrate life covers the following aspects of the curriculum:

  • Identification & classification
  • Adaptations
  • Food webs
  • Ecological pyramids of number, biomass & energy
  • Energy efficiency

The ponds are all within walking distance of the Centre.

Rocky Seashore: 

Using their own results, this investigation into seashore life covers the following aspects of the curriculum:

  • Identification & classification
  • Adaptations
  • Food webs
  • Ecological pyramids of number, biomass & energy

In addition, there are opportunities for students to develop their own identification key.

River Study: 

A study of local streams covers the following aspects of the science curriculum:

  • Identification
  • Water quality indicator species
  • Water chemistry
  • Impact of human activity
  • Effects of different pollutants on stream invertebrates

Farm Visit:

A visit to one of the Island’s commercial glasshouses as well as other farms on the Island, GCSE science students can learn about the following:

  • Maximising agricultural yields
  • Biological control
  • Differences between organic & intensive farming
  • Environmental considerations

Animal Behaviour: 

Students visit Isle of Wight Zoo and study animal behaviour:

  • Instinctive & learned behaviours
  • Feeding & reproductive behaviours
  • Communication

In addition students can study the behaviour of woodlice in choice chambers in laboratory conditions.

Woodland Management and Coppicing:

A visit to a local woodland to collect their own data allows students to learn about:

  • Woodland management techniques
  • Effects of coppicing on flora & fauna