For 2012-13 and with the formal opening of the Universities new Central Teaching Laboratory, the Year 1 Physical Geography curriculum underwent a fundamental overhaul. We designed two new laboratory modules delivered entirely in the Central Teaching Laboratories, and intriguingly named Experiments in Physical Geography I and Experiments in Physical Geography II. These modules comprise whole day (9.00-16.30) exercises using the National Award Winning (The Guardian) stunning laboratories and array of state-of-the-art equipment.
To allow a comprehensive and more individual hands-on experience we designed for each semester ten whole day exercises that all run concurrently. So the students form research teams with a weekly challenge, rotating through the menu of practical exercises each week. Each exercise encourages teamwork as the groups develop their research strategy assisted by the module leaders and at the end of the day the groups present their findings and discuss the outcomes.
For these efforts the team were nominated for and won a Faculty Learning and Teaching Award. Congratulations to the teaching team on this reward for all their hard work: Richard Chiverrell (Semester 2 lead); John Boyle (Semester 1 lead); Andy Plater; Janet Hooke; Andreas Lang; Andy Morse; Fabienne Marret-Davies; James Cooper and Richard Bradshaw from the Department of Geography and Planning; Irene Cooper; Liz Rushworth and Josh Hicks from team Central Teaching Laboratories; and our postgraduate demonstrators Karen Hale; Daniel Schillereff and Tim Shaw.
1st Semester Menu….
- How does forest cover affect soil development?
- Discovering vegetation cover from pollen grains?
- 200 years of atmospheric pollution from Manchester recorded in a peat bog?
- Radioisotopes how quickly do they decay? And how can we use them to date sediments?
- What are the controls on stream waters from mountains to the coast?
- Evaporation from soils and sediments: what are the rates and controls?
- Tree sequester carbon: but how much and how quickly?
- River flows during storms: how does event sequencing affect the flood peak?
- Meteorology: how do you measure the weather?
- Patterns in the weather: how do you analyse weather data?
2nd Semester Menu….
- How do variations in dirt cover on ice affects melting rates?
- How can we use lake sediment records to measure both long-term soil erosion rates and carbon sequestration?
- How do slope gradients and catchment cover (vegetation and urban) affect storm flow response?
- What regulates the delivery of sediments from catchments to lakes?
- Why do slopes fail and soils erode?
- Is the recent infilling of the Dee Estuary due to sea-level rise or sediment accretion?
- Do changes in sand dune sediment composition reflect changes in wind speed and deflation?
- What main factors control the rate of chemical weathering in soils?
- Can particle size data be used to distinguish beach and river deposits?