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Year 9 Natural History Museum

On Thursday 16th November, 140 Year 9 geography students travelled to The Natural History Museum for a wonderful day gaining fantastic experiences in London’s world-famous museum and scientific research centre. The exhibitions were the perfect place for our geographers to put their theoretical knowledge into practice by investigating the wonders of our natural world, in particular to deepen their understanding of tectonic hazards in preparation for GCSE Geography. 

Our early morning journey from Highbury Hill was filled with jubilation, as we jumped on the Piccadilly Line to South Kensington. After our arrival at the Natural History Museum, we set off to the Red Zone, ready to complete our Tectonics investigation booklet. Students explored the billion years worth of artefacts with zest and curiosity, identifying fascinating objects that had been melted by lava, and the sparkling gems in the geology section, all creating the perfect foundation for studying geography further in Year 10. Whilst in the geology section, surrounded by thousands of incredibly preserved fossils, numerous students shared their favourite types of rocks with our Head of Geography, Ms Waltham where she responded “I love a strata. Anything sedimentary. Love the layers”. We are thrilled that this experience has fuelled a passion for our planet. 

“When I went on the earthquake simulator, it was actually scary. I will never forget that. It made me feel like I was actually in an earthquake. I also really liked the gem section. It was amazing to see the huge diamonds” - Amila

In our Year 9 Geography lessons, we have been studying the distribution of tectonic plates, the impacts of earthquakes, and multiple methods humans use to manage and mitigate the effects of these. This interaction between human and physical geography is a key concept that is core to the study of Geography, and is an integral section of the Paper 1 unit of GCSE Geography AQA specification. Visiting the Natural History Museum allowed Year 9 students to experience the escalator through the core of the Earth, the iconic ‘earthquake simulator’ with footage of the 1995 Kobe, Japan earthquake, see an actual cast of the victims of the Mount Vesuvius eruption in AD 79, some volcanic glass hair and appreciate the changes to the variety of instruments used to measure earthquake intensity. This memorable day provided students with vital understanding on the physical processes that lead to tectonic hazards, and as always, HFS students' behaviour throughout the day was exemplary and their conduct around the museum was phenomenal. 

“I found the trip to the museum very fascinating, especially seeing their collection of uranium as I come from a place near Kyiv and Chernobyl so this part of history is very interesting for me. I also really liked the rock that looked like hair, volcanic glass hair, ‘Pele’ it is called” – Anastasiia

The geography department hopes that this visit has inspired students to get out and explore our incredible city, take in the sights and gain independence. Our journey back to school was delightful, where Ms. Hogan led the “marshmallow game” on the tube. Many students asked if they could come back again on the weekend with their friends and if we could create a ‘treasure hunt’ map game for them to complete in their spare time. And for those zestful Y9’s who keep asking for a school sleepover, ever seen Night at the museum? You can actually stay over at the Natural History Museum! 

“I would definitely go back to the Natural History Museum. I loved the escalator through the centre of the earth and the beautiful opals in the geology section” – Olivia

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