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QUARRY RESTORATION

Quarry Geography Unit 8- Improving the environment

Improving the environment, for people, for wildlife or both?
Exploring sand/gravel quarry restoration options


For some general background about these units and how to use them, please read our teachers’ briefing.

In this unit, pupils explore options for the restoration of a sand or gravel pit in the local area. Should it become a water leisure centre, a local park or a nature reserve; or should it just be left as it is? Can any of these uses be combined?

The unit offers opportunities for first-hand research (site visit and questionnaire), the use of secondary sources (local press, radio and TV reports, internet) and the production of a report which can be submitted to the local council.

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QPA modified KS2 Geography Unit 8 - section 4
Improving the environment

Title: Restoration of a derelict sand or gravel pit – should it be a haven for wildlife or a haven for people? Is it possible to combine both?

QCA Unit link: Geography: Unit 8 section 4 - Improving the environment

Main curriculum area: Geography
Subsidiary areas: Citizenship, Literacy, ICT, Numeracy

Key theme: How would local residents like a derelict local sand or gravel pit to be restored - for water recreation, as a park, or as a nature reserve? What are the problems and benefits associated with each of these restoration options? Is it best to do nothing?

Description / overview of the unit:
Following section 4 the QCA Unit, (and assuming that sections 1,2 and 3 have been addressed in the school environment) the following questions will be asked:
- What is the sand or gravel pit environment like at the moment?
- What are the different options for restoration which are under consideration by the local council?
- What are the problems associated with these options?
- are they sustainable?
- What are people’s views on the sand or gravel pit and its possible restoration?
- What would provide the best solution for the local community and /or wildlife?

This unit will encourage children to find out about a local derelict sand or gravel pit. They will
• investigate what options are being considered for restoration of the sand or gravel pit
• research the different options and either
• create a questionnaire to find out what local views are and then interview local residents of all ages on their feelings and knowledge of the sand or gravel pit or, if a questionnaire survey is considered problematic,
• divide the children into small groups and ask each group to devise a restoration plan to be presented to the whole class and voted upon (some basic information would be needed to help pupils here)
• using the questionnaire or results of the class voting weigh up people’s feelings about the options and decide which would be best and/or whether a happy medium can be created combining one or more of them.
There is a strong ESD and citizenship message in this unit; pupils are being encouraged to participate in research on and think about the sustainable development of a derelict or disused site and about the potential influence of local people and themselves as children on decisions taken locally.

Literacy links will encourage writing for a real purpose in the creation of a questionnaire or pupils’ restoration plans and newspaper reports about proposed developments.

Pupils will use ICT to present their finding and could use a database or spreadsheet (provided in appendix 2) to input questionnaire information or, if a questionnaire survey is not carried out (option 2) a spreadsheet to input voting results (provided in appendix 3).

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Teacher overview
This modification of Section 4 is designed to fit into four lessons and two half-day fieldwork outings (if a questionnaire survey is considered problematic five lessons and a half-day fieldwork session),

If a questionnaire survey is used,
• Lesson 1: Identify a suitable site, carry out research using secondary sources
• Fieldwork session 1: visit the site, evaluate it
• Lesson 2: what did we find and what questions do we need to ask local people?
• Fieldwork session 2: questionnaire work
• Lesson 3: collating the results, bringing it all together
• Lesson 4: producing a report

If a questionnaire survey is not used
• Lesson 1: Identify a suitable site, carry out research using secondary sources
• Fieldwork session 1: visit the site, evaluate it
• Lesson 2: what did we find and what questions do we need to answer before we can make restoration plans?
• Lesson 3: pupils’ own restoration plans
• Lesson 4: collating the results, bringing it all together
• Lesson 5: producing a report

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Preparation

Fieldwork site for first visit
The teacher must
• have visited the site with helpers and carried out thorough risk assessments
the teacher should have ascertained whether the site is designated as
• a RIGS (Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Site)
• an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

Information is given at

www.ukrigs.org.uk/html/ukrigs.php

and

www.english-nature.org.uk/pubslink.htm


Questionnaire survey
Choose an area of the local town which
• is safe
• has toilet facilities
• has a number of suitable rendezvous places
• has a covered area which may be useful in bad weather.

If there is a local shopping mall this may be a suitable venue but it is wise to approach the management who will almost certainly be willing to help.

Organising the fieldwork visit and if used the questionnaire survey

Follow specific LEA guidelines (not given here as detail varies)

Obtain all necessary permissions and parental consent well in advance of the field trip(s)

Send letters to parents outlining the content of the trip(s) and what pupils will need to bring to school.

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Lesson 1
Introduce the pupils to the idea that the local council plans to restore a local disused and derelict sand or gravel pit. There are four possible options:
1. a water sports and recreation centre
2. drain the site and create a park
3. a nature reserve
4. do nothing

Give some background to the site and to details of both schemes:
• is the site geologically important – locally (RIGS – Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Site) or nationally (SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest)
• if a RIGS or SSSI would any of the restoration options conflict with the designation(s)
• what facilities for water sport and recreation are planned?
• what facilities would the park provide?
• what kind of wildlife will benefit from the nature reserve?
• how will the schemes be funded?
• what would happen if nothing is done?

Pupils look at a map of the local area and relate the site to the school and their homes. They look at both options, using maps and websites (local council, local wildlife trust):
• are there already local facilities for water-related recreation? If so,
• how far away?
• what facilities are offered?
• are there local parks?
• how would people get to the site?
• are here already local nature reserves in similar situations? If so,
• what wildlife were they created for or do they benefit?
• is there anything else in the area which might influence the council’s decision?

Round off the lesson by summarising, with input from the pupils, what they have already discovered and what else they may be able to discover from first-hand investigation:

• what is the site like? (size, geology, water depth – simple description!, bank features e.g cliffs, beaches
• is it accessible?
• is anything going on which is unpleasant?
• what wildlife lives there already?
• what is going on in the area around the old pit?

Finally remind pupils that there will be a field trip to the sand or gravel pit and set the ground rules: what to wear, things to bring (notebook & pencil, packed lunch etc.). Assign pupils to fieldwork groups.

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Lesson 1 resources:

Local maps,
OHPs, of local maps
computer access to internet – for useful websites
• Information about RIGS (Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Site) at www.ukrigs.org.uk/html/ukrigs.php
• Information about SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) www.english-nature.org.uk/pubslink.htm
• The Environment Agency website: information about recycling www.environment-agency.gov.uk/yourenv/eff/resources/waste
• Relevant local authority website for information on landfill, recycling
• MAGIC website for information on local strategies and relevant maps www.magic.gov.uk
• Relevant local wildlife trust website for information on conservation
• Friends of the Earth website for views on recycling and waste from an effective pressure group www.foe.co.uk/learning/campaign/waste
• QPA website:
• Info about a working gravel extraction pit and how this could be restored when the extraction is completed.
• Facility to find local gravel pit
• access virtual quarry site to look at local (if any) or regional working and restored gravel pits and extraction and restoration methods

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Fieldwork trip 1: the sand or gravel pit

On arrival
• split the pupils into their groups
• ask them to remind you what they have come to do.

Reminded pupils
• which adult is in charge of which group
• set a framework for behaviour and teamwork
• give the reasons for these.

Careful supervision of the pupils is essential!

Working in groups, pupils inspect the site, noting down and/or sketching what they see bearing in mind the questions asked at the end of lesson 1. Is there anything else that they think is important?

At the end of the day gather the pupils together in a safe place and ask each group to give their first impressions of the site.

The ideas and words used may provide useful material for literacy.

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Fieldwork trip 1 resources:

Pencils (carry spares)

Clipboards and clipboard bags in case of rain

Prepared worksheets with the questions to be answered and space for other observations (carry spares)

Fold-out identification charts from FSC Publications:

• Butterflies of Britain
• Dragonflies and Damselflies
• ‘Top 50’ garden birds
• Commoner water plants
• Wetland birds

Available from
Field Studies Council Publications, Preston Montford, Shrewsbury SY4 1HW,
Tel 0845 345 4072
Email publications@field-studies-council.org
Website www.field-studies-council.org

Digital camera(s) to record the site

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Lesson 2: evaluation of the visit, preparation for second fieldwork trip
In small groups pupils prepare and present their findings from the fieldwork, for example
• the old pit was overgrown
• people had thrown rubbish over their garden fences
• it was noisy - aircraft were taking off overhead
• it had junk in it
or perhaps
• it was peaceful and clean
• there were fish in it
• there were ducks on the water

If the site is on a flight path then pupils’ attention should be drawn to the possible problems of a nature reserve – will birds such as ducks create a bird-strike hazard?

Preparation of the questionnaire survey
Pupils then discuss whom they should approach (i.e. not mothers with difficult children, or people obviously struggling with heavy bags) and the way in which they should approach them:

• ‘Good morning/afternoon. We are children from ….. school and we wonder if you would have the time to answer a few questions to help us in our Geography work?’

and the sort of questions which they might put to local people in a questionnaire survey. A carefully structured questionnaire will give opportunities for the pupils to use a database.

• do you live in the local area? (yes/no). If yes,
• may we ask where? (different areas of the local map, based on concentric rings around the sand or gravel pit, are given number codes)
• do you know that the local council is discussing options for restoring the sand or gravel pit? (know/don’t know)
• are you interested in what happens? (yes/no)
• which option would you prefer? (water leisure/public park/wildlife/do nothing)

Whether or not individuals are prepared to answer questions they are thanked.

More able pupils may be able to design a spreadsheet for the questionnaire; an example is given both as a Word table in appendix 1 and as an Excel spreadsheet (with a summary sheet) in appendix 2.

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Questionnaire survey

Date: Place:
Names of recorders:


Tally counts Totals
Number of people questioned
Not willing to help
Live locally

Where (area code) 1

2 3 4
5

6 7 8
Tally counts Totals
Know about plans


Interested in what happens
Prefer water leisure & sport

Prefer a public park
Prefer nature reserve

Do nothing

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Fieldwork trip 2: questionnaire survey
An area of the local town which is safe, has toilet facilities and a number of suitable rendezvous places has been chosen; if a covered area is available then this may be useful in bad weather. If there is a local shopping mall this may be a suitable venue but it is wise to approach the management who will almost certainly be willing to help.

On arrival the children are issued with questionnaire sheets and clipboards & pencils and given clear instructions:
• who is in which group
• who is in charge of each group
• where each group will be working
• who is in overall charge
• how many people’s responses are needed by each group
• rendezvous time(s) and place
• location of toilets
• road safety procedures
• behaviour towards others
• teamwork
Each team leader carries spare questionnaire sheets and pencils.

At the end of the fieldwork the teacher in charge ensures that everyone has put their names on their questionnaire sheets and collects them in for safe keeping

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Fieldwork trip 2: questionnaire survey: resources

Clipboards
Clipboard bags
Pencils (carry spares)
Questionnaire sheets (carry spares)

First-aid kit – each adult to carry one
Mobile phone - each adult to carry one

Contact detail sheet for each adult
Medical information about their group for each adult

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Lesson 3: collating the results
The pupils are split up into their working groups and their questionnaire sheets returned. They are now asked to total up the tally scores for each question and enter their results into a simple spreadsheet or database.

The results can then be presented graphically:

Pie charts can be used for
• proportions of people willing/unwilling to help
• if living locally, proportions aware/unaware of plans
• proportions interested/uninterested
• proportions preferring water leisure, public park, nature reserve, or no action

A bar chart could be used for numbers of people living at different distances from the site (more able pupils might consider whether distance from the site might affect people’s awareness preferences, although this is probably too complex an issue for most children at Key Stage 2).

The teacher can now discuss the results of the survey with the pupils and prepare them for the final lesson in the unit where they will prepare a report which will be given to the local council for consideration. They are asked to think about the form the report might take. A newspaper or newsletter produced using ICT skills is a possibility.

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Lesson 4: producing a report
The pupils now have the opportunity to bring together their first-hand investigations and secondary research in the form of a newsletter or newspaper incorporating:
• the proposals for the site
• their work on the site and photographs of it
• the results of their questionnaire survey
• secondary research on existing facilities/nature reserves
• secondary research on the problems of bird strikes near airports
• recommendations to the local council based on the above

Lesson 4: resources

ICT facilities including page layout and photo manipulation software

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Lesson 5: producing a report
The pupils now have the opportunity to bring together their first-hand investigations and secondary research in the form of a newsletter or newspaper incorporating:
• the proposals for the site
• their work on the site and photographs of it
• the results of their questionnaire survey
• secondary research on existing facilities/nature reserves
• secondary research on the problems of bird strikes near airports
• recommendations to the local council based on the above

All help (e.g. from the shopping mall manager(s), those who responded to questions) is acknowledged and the final report can be presented to the local council.

It may be possible as follow-up for the pupils to attend a Council meeting where the options are discussed and decisions made; in this way they are able to see how local goverment decides on issues.

Lesson 5 resources

Computer network
page layout & photo processing software
Printer(s)

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