This was a geography topic, mainly concerned with coastal landforms, although we also touched on other aspects such as fishing and coastal plants and animals.
We started the topic with a trip to Dorset to visit Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge and Studland, which gave us chance to look at lots of different coastal features, including sandy beaches, dunes, caves, coves, wave-cut platforms, cliffs, arches and stacks. We would have liked to visit Chesil Beach while we were there but we ran out of time (and the kids had been there before anyway).
Later we visited Spurn Point and the Holderness coast to look at coastal erosion, longshore drift and sand spits. It was great to have the chance to actually see these things rather than just learn about them, and I’m sure those are the bits that they will remember best.
Coastal erosion, Aldborough, Yorks
One of the best things we did at home was to use a sandbox to make our own coastal features. This was a big tray that we could fill with sand and water and mimic the way the sea shapes the land. The children also used it to make models of sand spits, dunes, deltas and chesil beach.
We discussed and sketched our favourite beaches, the younger children designed and wrote postcards, and the older ones did a role play where they had to argue for the best sort of coastal defences for an area, taking into consideration cost, effectiveness, looks and the effect on other parts of the coast. We read the story of Grace Darling and used electrical kits to make working models of lighthouses. For art, we made animations of how coastal features are formed, pictures using coloured sand and an enormous collage showing many of the things we had looked at.
We also looked at land reclamation, and the children spent a very wet and enjoyable afternoon in the River Rea, using what they had learned to “reclaim” a piece of land from the river. Our aim is to visit it regularly and see how well their new land stands up to winter weather and higher water levels.