What goes around comes around

How can we influence the hydrological cycle to improve our environment?

In January and February of 2017, students in Year 8 embarked upon a joint STEM and Humanities and Arts expedition which was called “What goes around comes around”. Students had to answer the guiding question:

The learning targets were :

  • I can produce my own short story entitled “The Flood”.
  • I can write a formal report to inform a decision.
  • I can calculate the volume of cuboids and prisms
  • I can solve problems associated with direct proportionality
  • I can solve problems associated with rates
  • I can demonstrate the relationship between ratios, fractions, percentages and decimals.
  • I can describe pH as a measure of acidity and alkalinity
  • I can assess the different factors that affect an ecosystem
  • I can explain the hydrological cycle.
  • I can discuss the causes and effects of flooding.

Our immersion activities were focused at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve where students practised different field studies techniques such as water quality sampling and were given a guided tour of the reserve with a focus on the water based habitats and the water management systems that are used to maintain an effective balance to allow for a thriving ecosystem.

The expedition was split into three different case studies. Students began by studying the hydrological cycle and how the different ecosystems and human populations rely on the effective and uninterrupted functioning of the cycle. With this information, students then looked at flooding case studies with a particular focus on the Doncaster floods of 2007 and 2010 and the causes of these.

In the next case study students began analysing an anthology of short stories which had a focus of flooding and water. Students then began writing their own short story which had flooding as the main theme.

In the final case study, students carried out a soil quality and drainage assessment of the south west corner of the XP School site with a view to understanding the very real problem of poor drainage on the grassed area and how this resulted in poor grass growth.

The product as a result of the expedition, was the short story on flooding, but also an site report which explained the findings of the assessment carried in the previous case study. The report went on to evaluate the different Sustainable Usage Drains (SUDs) proposed for installation at the school site, with each evaluation informed by the work done on the hydrological cycle.

Working with Potteric Carr led to the opportunity to have a SUD installed at the school. This was funded by the Torne Catchment project. The work that students did on their site report was instrumental in the decision on the most appropriate SUD to be installed at the school.

The SUD was then built by members of staff from Potteric Carr along with students. The result is a lasting solution to the problem of poor drainage, but also the creation of habitat and an improvement in the area itself. The area has now been designated as an outdoor learning space with the intention of curating future expeditions there in the future.

Finally, students culminated the expedition by producing their report and short story which were presented to the Principal for approval before construction of the SUD could begin. 

All resources relating to this expedition can be found below:

Expedition Posts

Final Product – Sustainable Usage Drains (SUDs) Model

Final Product – Short stories about flooding Models