From the ground up

What does the community of Doncaster owe to the miners?

In Autumn 2017, students in Year 7 (Class of 24) studied this combined STEM, Humanities and Arts learning expedition.

The learning targets were :

  • I can classify elements and compounds
  • I can describe the structure of the earth
  • I can explain how the rock cycle relates to the strata of Doncaster
  • I can explain how coal is made
  • I can investigate the effectiveness of different fuels
  • I can explain the importance of the chemical reaction of coal
  • I can evaluate key features in the history of the industrial revolution
  • I can interpret historical sources from the industrial revolution Period
  • I can discuss what life was like for workers in the Industrial Revolution
  • I can discuss the reasons why a strike was called
  • I can discuss the causes and effects the mining strike had
  • I can use a range of mathematical principles to describe the explosion at Denaby Main.

The expedition kicked off with a visit to the National Coal Museum where students went down a mineshaft into a former pit, and were guided by a former miner. They looked at the galleries and exhibits at the museum to get an insight into what life was like for miners throughout the history of mining. During the immersion students also looked at historic maps of Doncaster to learn about the changes over time, developing ideas about what a community is.  They studied elements and compounds before going on to learn about the structure of the earth.

Students went on to study the changes of the Doncaster community and the effect the Industrial Revolution had.  They learnt about the working conditions in the Industrial Revolution.

They read David Almond’s novel Kit’s Wilderness a story about a boy returning to his family roots in a mining community in Northumberland. This story, about a boy and his grandfather’s memories of the mines served as a metaphor for the importance of recording and honouring miners’ stories, before they disappear.

Students studied the rock cycle and how specific rocks and minerals came to be where they are in Doncaster. This included fieldwork to sites at different rock strata in Doncaster dating from the Carboniferous, through to the Triassic period.

This first case study gave students the skills they needed to be able to carry out the second case study more independently. As part of the case study students interviewed members of the mining community and carried out research to help them write biographical, geological, geographical and historical accounts.

Whilst studying each site students worked hard on developing otheir fluency in the four operations, using perimeter and area to help them to develop mastery of addition and multiplication using both mental and written methods.

The writing of all of Year 7 was then gathered together to make an ebook called “From the ground up: What does Doncaster owe to Mining?” This book has their biographies and factual writing.

The expedition culminated when students carried out a presentation of learning to an audience of their parents and members of the mining community. During this presentation of learning they read extracts from the book and performed music which they had written.

This music was performed against a backdrop of archive footage from the mines, inspired by the film The Miners’ Hymns, underscored by Johann Johannsson. This gave students an opportunity to not only promote the book in advance of its launch, but also to show their respect and appreciation for the contribution that miners made to our community. The book will available to buy from the school online shop.


All resources relating to this expedition can be found below:

Expedition Posts

Final Product – iBook

Details of how to purchase this will appear shortly

In 2016/17 C23 completed the same expedition with the final product below:

Final Product – Book

Click here to order online or pop into the office.