Dear Parents,

Geography in Focus

As mentioned, I would be alternating my broad educational writing with newsletters highlighting various subjects or activities within the schools.

Previously in this series, Art was celebrated and, in this edition, Geography is the focus.

Ricardo Vasapolli, our Geography teacher shared the following:

The Grade 8s started the year by exploring the concept of Geography and what this entails, culminating in some excellent posters by the students. Following this, they worked through Mapwork, then onto Plate Tectonics and related topics of Earthquakes and Volcanoes. Starting Term 2, the students dove into Rocks and Soil and ended with Rivers and The Water Cycle. Term 3 starts off with Weather and Climate, and then moves into Urban Geography.

The Grade 9s started the year with Fieldwork and Mapwork skills, so they should be able to describe with pinpoint precision the route from school to home! Term 2 began with Plate Tectonics, building on from last year, and then moving on to the Water Cycle, Rivers and Coasts. Term 3 started with Weather and Climate and will move into a different section of Urban Geography after the Mid-term test – feel free to ask them questions about Cape Town’s rain and why they should be careful when going near rivers.

The Grade 10s in Term 1 focused on Rivers and exploring a range of concepts, from the Hydrological Cycle, to pollution in rivers and to the reasons why some dams were built. This course also entails fieldwork, and the Disa River inside the school’s boundary provides an excellent, hands-on opportunity to explore concepts learned in class and gain some practical experience. 

Term 2 was all about Coasts, including coastal landforms, coastal conflicts and coastal management strategies. Once again, fieldwork was carried out. This time it was off to Hout Bay beach. Unfortunately, the weather was not ‘beach day’ weather. However, lots of learning was still able to take place despite the conditions, and it was an excellent reminder to the students that sometimes fieldwork can be challenging and missing class time is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The Grade 11s in Term 1 learned about Fragile Environments and Climate Change, looking particularly at desertification, deforestation and climate change. They ended the term with their Mock Exams and then, with only a few weeks of Term 2, revision was the name of the game until their Final Exams started in May. Term 3 has started for them, but they have begun their AS Level Geography course which starts off with World at Risk, looking at the natural hazards that affect the world.

Last, but certainly not least, the Grade 12s. They started off the year looking at Urban planning, problems and regeneration, before finishing Term 1 with 4 weeks of Fieldwork, culminating in a 14-page document summarising all that was conducted – all a requirement for the course.

Their fieldwork was also a trip to Hout Bay beach, but due to it being earlier in the year, the weather was superb, as seen above! They also wrote their Mock Exams at the end of Term 1 and then had a few weeks of revision in Term 2 before they went off to write their final exams and finish off Geography as an AS Level subject – just waiting for their results in late August.

A wonderful summary of the inquiry-driven learning being experienced in the Geography Department.

Kind regards,

John Alexander