Calshot Activities Centre

Field Studies Courses

Overview

A team of specialist tutors work in our Field Studies Department, providing courses in Geography, Ecology, History and Environmental Studies at Key Stages 2 - 5. All courses are designed to meet and extend National Curriculum and examination board specification requirements via the use of experiential, enquiry led field studies.

Courses

Residential Field Studies and Adventurous Activity courses for Key Stage 2Cross Curricular courses for Key Stage 3, combining geography, science, history and environmental studies with adventurous activitiesCommon Entrance fieldwork for students completing their geography individual fieldwork enquirySpecialist Geography and Biological Science courses at both GCSE and AS/A-level Course programmes can include a mixture of Field Studies and Adventurous Activities, no matter how long their duration. We offer an unrivalled range of land and water-based activities to further challenge and inspire students, from skiing, rock climbing, velodrome cycling and orienteering to sailing, kayaking and windsurfing. Please see the Activities Courses page for more information. All of our programmes are flexible and tailor made for each visiting school to best meet their needs. If you would like a particular focus for any session or the entire visit then please contact us to discuss this. For residential visits, we also offer a range of Evening Activities to keep students entertained and challenged after dinner and before lights out.
 

Primary and Junior

Using the New Forest National Park, Calshot Beach and the Solent, students can experience a wide range of habitats and geographical features in a hands-on way. Our sessions are designed to engage and challenge students, bringing to life topics such as beach and marine ecology, coastal erosion and river channel changes. Fieldwork skills are developed throughout the sessions as students use a range of scientific equipment and methods to collect and analyse data.

Aqua Animals

During this exploration into freshwater life, students are introduced to the variety of invertebrates that live in streams. Students work in small groups to collect, sort and identify the invertebrates using kick sampling and identification keys. Results are recorded and taken back to the classroom for analysis. Follow up work focusses on the feeding relationships that exist in the stream and students create their own food webs using the organisms they have found.

Beach Bonanza

Stepping out of the classroom and straight on to the beach, students hunt for the wealth of life on our very doorstep, investigating how beach organisms are adapted to their harsh environment. Challenged to collect as many different species of life as possible, individuals work in small teams to collect crabs, whelks, seaweed, worms and even fish from the beach. Back in the classroom, students sort and identify their collections, grouping organisms into those with similar features. After researching one organism in more detail, each student creates a Fact File to show how their creature survives on the beach.

Coastline Catastrophe

Taking the role of newspaper reporters, students investigate the coastal processes and landforms of the surrounding area. Field sketches of collapsing cliffs and sea defences allow students to record evidence of erosion. Following the progress of pebbles from the cliffs to Calshot via longshore drift, the process of spit formation is explored. Using laptops, students then create their imaginative headline stories to report on the coastline catastrophe.

Crazy Co-ordinates

The challenge is set: to map a section of a New Forest stream. Working as a team of 10, students use tape measures and co-ordinates to record the location of main stream features within a 10x10m section. Careful reading of scales and recording in correct units are required to make the most accurate maps. Back in the classroom, each student plots the river features on graph paper to generate their very own map – to scale and with a key!

Creepy Creatures

What different invertebrates will we find in the woods – and how can we tell them apart? In our very own minibeast hunt, students are challenged to consider how life can be sorted and classified into groups using objective criteria. A visit to a nearby wood provides a wealth of invertebrate life which is collected, carefully observed and recorded. The final challenge is to devise a key which can be used to identify three chosen creatures. Finally, PowerPoint is used to put the key into a working model which can be used by any curious minibeast hunter to identify their catch.

Darkwater Discovery

The nearby River Darkwater provides the perfect setting for our day-long river study, where students visit several sites along the course of the river to investigate changes between the source and mouth. Before heading into the field, students make predictions on how width, depth, speed and bedload size and shape will change downstream. Students work in small teams of 4-5, using a variety of equipment (including rubber ducks) to take accurate measurements of the river. On return the results are analysed and students work together to create a group poster showing their findings.

New Forestation

Through a variety of games, challenges and exploration activities, students connect with the natural environment in this completely forest-based session. From imagining hunting as a bat to creating naturally sourced perfumes, the activities are designed to explore the New Forest as a habitat and resource for a wide range of life.

Muddy Morasses

Where are the best conditions for a tree to grow on a heathland slope? Using pH kits, soil augers and moisture meters, students get to grips with the heathland soil, recording the conditions at the top, middle and bottom of the slope. Each group analyses their results to look for the ideal texture, moisture and nutrient level. The fieldwork is presented as a group poster which describes the prediction, methods, results and conclusion of their work.

Tall Trees

Heading out into the New Forest, students are given the challenge of identifying the surrounding trees using keys and careful observation. Each student then selects a tree to study more closely with the aim of creating a passport for their chosen individual. Height, girth, bark, age and a picture all need to be included to complete the passport back in class.

Terrific Trawling

What lives at the bottom of the sea and how is it adapted to its environment? Using our trawling vessel, Nereida, students catch a range of benthic organisms including crabs, flatfish and molluscs. Helping to crew the boat, students shoot and haul the trawling net and sort the catch ready for identification. A sample of marine life is taken back to the classroom for further study, focusing on how the organisms are adapted to life at the bottom of the sea. Plankton is also caught and examined to experience this fascinating micro-world.

Troublesome Tudors

Re-enacting Henry VIII’s reign in play form, students dress in period costume and discover the turbulent build up to the construction of the castle. Acting as enemy French Spies, students explore and investigate our on-site Tudor Castle, imagining how it could be besieged and how well it was defended. Tutors lead students on a tour from basement to roof with students completing a work book to record their findings. Finally, in the castle basement, students use traditional tools to create a besom broom from birch, hazel and flax which can be taken back to school.
 

Key Stage 3

Beach Investigation

Stepping out of the classroom and straight on to the beach, students search for the wealth of life on our very doorstep, investigating how littoral organisms are adapted to the environmental pressures of living on the beach. With the challenge of collecting as many different species of life as possible, individuals work in small teams to collect beach organisms including crabs, whelks, seaweed, worms and fish. Back in the classroom, students sort and identify their collections, grouping organisms into those with similar features. Further research and careful observation allows students to record the adaptations and feeding relationships of this fascinating ecosystem.

Coastal Investigation

Taking the role of newspaper reporters, students investigate the coastal processes and landforms of the surrounding area. Field sketches of collapsing cliffs and sea defences allow students to record evidence of erosion. Following the progress of pebbles from the cliffs to Calshot via longshore drift, the process of spit formation is explored. Using our laptops, students then create their imaginative headline stories to report on the coastline catastrophe.

Freshwater Ecology

During this exploration into freshwater life, students are introduced to the variety of invertebrates that live in a New Forest stream. Students work in small groups to collect, sort and identify invertebrates using kick sampling and identification keys. Results are recorded and taken back to the classroom for analysis. Follow up work focusses on the feeding relationships that exist in the stream and students create their own food webs using the organisms they have found.

New Forestation

Through a variety of games, challenges and exploration activities, students connect with the natural environment in this completely forest-based session. From imagining hunting as a bat to creating naturally sourced perfumes, the activities are designed to explore the New Forest as a habitat and resource for a wide range of life.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Less than an hour’s drive from Calshot stands one of the country’s finest attractions – Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Home to the HMS Warrior, HSM Victory and brand new Mary Rose shipping hall, the dockyard offers fantastic opportunities to engage with maritime history. In the Mary Rose museum, students explore the extraordinary range of personal, domestic and military artefacts on display to learn about life in the Tudor period. The HMS Victory tour, led by Royal Navy guides, allows students to see how maritime technology had developed by the time of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The more recently built HMS Warrior offers a unique opportunity to explore the world’s first iron-hulled warship, powered by steam as well as sail.

River Darkwater Investigation

The nearby River Darkwater provides the perfect setting for our day-long river study, where students visit several sites along the course of the river to investigate changes between the source and mouth. Before heading into the field, students make predictions on how channel characteristics will change downstream based on their understanding of erosion, transportation and deposition. Students work in small teams of 4-5 and use a variety of equipment to take accurate measurements of width, depth, wetted perimeter, velocity, bedload size and shape and the cross-sectional profile of the river. On return the results are displayed using scatterplots and students draw cross-sectional profiles to show their findings. Discussing and evaluating anomalies, accuracy and reliability allows conclusions to be drawn as students reflect back on their hypotheses using their very own fieldwork data.

Terrific Trawling

What lives at the bottom of the sea and how is it adapted to its environment? Using our trawling vessel, Nereida, students voyage across Southampton Water and catch a range of benthic organisms including crabs, rays, flatfish, molluscs and seaweed. Students are required to help to crew the boat, shoot and haul the trawling net as well as sort the catch ready for identification. A sample of marine life is taken back to the classroom for further study, focusing on how the organisms are adapted to life at the bottom of the sea. Plankton is also caught and examined (using a microscope and video projector) to see into this fascinating and vital micro-world.

Troublesome Tudors

Re-enacting Henry VIII’s reign in play form, students dress in period costume and discover the turbulent build up to the construction of Calshot Castle. Students then explore and investigate the castle, imagining how it could be besieged and how well it was defended. Tutors lead students on a tour from the basement to the roof with students completing a work book to record their findings. Finally, in the castle basement, students use traditional tools to create a besom broom from birch, hazel and flax which can be taken back to school.

 

Common Entrance

Field Studies for students working towards their Common Entrance examinations are tailored to meet the requirements of each visiting group. We work closely with party leaders to make sure that the fieldwork we lead directly supports classroom preparations and that students leave having collected the data they need to complete their geography individual fieldwork enquiry.We are ideally placed to offer fieldwork investigations into both physical and human topics, including river processes and landforms, coastal processes and management, ecosystems and succession, tourism and national parks. We appreciate that no two groups are the same and customise each visit to the specific requirements of the school. Course programmes for Common Entrance groups can also include a mixture of Field Studies and Adventurous Activities, depending on the aims and duration of the visit. We offer an unrivalled range of land and water-based activities to further challenge and inspire students, from skiing, rock climbing, velodrome cycling and orienteering to sailing, kayaking and windsurfing. Please see the Activities Courses page for more information.
 

GCSE

Field Studies courses at GCSE are designed to meet the needs of students undertaking their geography controlled assessment projects. We work closely with party leaders to make sure that the fieldwork we lead directly supports classroom preparations and that students leave having collected the data they need.We are ideally placed to offer fieldwork investigations into both physical and human topics, including river processes and landforms, coastal processes and management, ecosystems, tourism and national parks. We appreciate that no two groups are the same and customise each visit to the specific requirements of the controlled assessment title being used. The duration of these courses are discussed when booking. Having more than one day allows us to discuss methodology and fieldwork techniques, data analysis and risk assessment with the students as well as collect the primary data required. We also offer one day courses which give

time for data collection only. Course programmes for GCSE groups can also include a mixture of Field Studies and Adventurous Activities, depending on the aims and duration of the visit. We offer an unrivalled range of land and water-based activities to further challenge and inspire students, from skiing, rock climbing, velodrome cycling and orienteering to sailing, kayaking and windsurfing. Please see the Activities Courses page for more information.
 

A/S and A-level

Field Studies courses for AS and A-level students are tailor made to meet the requirements of exam board specifications and individual groups. We work

closely with visiting party leaders to ensure that time spent with us is highly valuable and always relevant. The course may focus on fieldwork methods, investigative skills, particular environments and/or subject themes. Our location is both coastal and on the doorstep of the New Forest, allowing us to offer biological investigations into heathland, woodland, freshwater, marine and littoral ecology. For geography groups, we ideally placed to offer investigations into coastal processes and management, river processes, ecological succession and a range of settlement studies.Course programmes for AS & A-level groups can include a mixture of Field Studies and Adventurous Activities, depending on the aims and duration of the visit. We offer an unrivalled range of land and water-based activities to further challenge and inspire students, from skiing, rock climbing, velodrome cycling and orienteering to sailing, kayaking and windsurfing. Please see the Activities Courses page for more information.

 
 
Girl with Gar fish

Calshot Activities Centre

Calshot Spit, Fawley
Southampton, Hampshire SO45 1BR
tel 023 8089 2077
email calshot.ac@hants.gov.uk