The GeoConservationUK Education Project [Earth Science On-Site] uses former aggregates sites to develop and publish examples of high-quality Earth Science field teaching activities for schools.
These examples have been produced in collaboration with partners in the Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA), the Earth Science Education Unit (ESEU) and the National Stone Centre (NSC). The materials have been devised to address the requirements of the National Curriculum at key stage 2 [7 – 11 years], KS 3 [11 – 14years] and KS4 [14 -16 years – GCSE].
This Project was funded by DEFRA’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, administered by Natural England (formerly English Nature). The pilot project ran from August 2004 to March 2005 and four sites were chosen:
The National Stone Centre, Wirksworth, Derbyshire
Apes Tor / Ecton Hill, Wetton, Staffordshire
Black Rock, Matlock, Derbyshire
Park Hall Country Park, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.
Between 2005 and 2008, further substantial grants allowed extension of the project so that an additional 12 sites were completed.
During the first phases of the project Peter and Maggie Williams developed resources for three of these sites
Maggie and Peter were very keen to support two of the main purposes of the project. The first was to encourage non-specialist teachers to undertake Earth Science fieldwork with pupils from primary to GCSE level. The second was to provide links between field teaching activities and the classroom / laboratory practical activities produced by the Earth Science Teachers’ Association, the Earth Science Education Unit, and the partners in the Joint Earth Science Educational Initiative (JESEI).
The Earth Science On-Site website domains unfortunately lapsed during the shutdown of many organisations from March 2020 as the Government responded to the Covid-19 pandemic. This followed the sudden death of Craig Slawson (ESO-S webmaster). All the materials have been rescued from CDs distributed at teachers’ conferences and backed-up copies on the computers of the original contributors and Peter and Maggie have now uploaded everything onto the GeoHubLiverpool website: https://geohubliverpool.org.uk/esos/index.htm
The Earth-Science On-Site guides to the sixteen sites in this project include the following information to assist group leaders and teachers when planning field activities:
1) details of location, access and initial risk assessments;
2) background information relating to the site and its geological (Earth Science) and geomorphological (landscape) interest;
3) materials to support field activities, including ideas for preparation and follow-up by teachers their pupils.
The materials produced for the project were informed by the National Curriculum at Key stages 2, 3 or 4, thereby requiring the use of some specific terms, but written for appreciation by a wider, less technical, audience.
However, these materials are intended as exemplars and may be adapted by teachers for use at other sites. It was anticipated that teachers, and others, will freely adapt the materials provided to their own context and programmes of study.
The selected sites are designated RIGS or SSSI sites, mostly have open access or are owned by public bodies.
Earth Science On-Site was devised and managed by John Reynolds, assisted by Alan Cutler. The main authors were Rick Ramsdale and John Reynolds, with help from members of the Earth Science Teachers’ Association and local GeoConservation Groups. The design & production team were Pauline Jones, Susannah Lydon and Craig Slawson. Animations were by Peter Williams and Maggie Williams.
JESEI is now also hosted by GeoHubLiverpool https://geohubliverpool.org.uk/jesei/index.htm