On this page we feature work carried out by pupils to give a flavour of the academic life that goes on at the RGS.
This month the Spotlight is on Year 9 Geography, where pupils have been studying conflict in Afghanistan.
Year 9 Pupil Ross Wilson sets the scene:
"What we studied:
Within our topic of conflict we looked at several different areas where there is conflict and how conflict comes to be. Over the course of the topic we looked at various things we thought conflict would affect, such as climate, population, environment and development.
We also looked at geographical features that would be good and bad for conflict. This included: mountains, forests, hills, rivers, deserts and marshes. We studied three main conflicts: The Darfur region, Afghanistan and a little bit of work on Iraq.
To end our topic of conflict we looked at how we thought world peace could be achieved and how we felt conflict affects us personally.
Why we studied it:
I think we studied conflict because as the world continues to develop conflict is going to be an ever present part of everyone’s lives. Even if you are not fighting in a war or driving a truck of military supplies, you will always be a part of it. This is because nowadays wars are broadcast on the news and on the radio so we are always aware of it but do not actually make the link that we are in some way involved in it.
So conflict is an important part of geography as in some way it affects us. In addition, it is important that we have a basic knowledge of conflict so that we can then relate to it when we do hear about it on the news.
What I got out of it:
I feel that this topic was very fruitful in the knowledge that I got out of it, as I know have comprehensive knowledge about how conflict start, what impacts they have and the outcomes of different wars. For example, I now know that conflicts often arise through financial issues and governmental corruption and that geography itself can make wars very hard to fight because of varying climates and terrains.
As far as the different conflicts go, I could tell you exactly how and why conflict arose in the Darfur region or why there is a conflict raging in Iraq. I could also tell you who the main attackers were in Darfur or why Iraq is under constant threat from other countries. So as you can see my knowledge of conflict has been broadened more than I would have thought was possible with only 3 periods of geography a week over the course of a couple of weeks. So just to reinforce I really do think I can take so much out of the work we have done on conflict in geography.
Why it was relevant to study Afghanistan in Geography:
Afghanistan has been such an important part of our understanding of conflict as it is one of the few wars that we have almost a limitless supply of knowledge and understanding for. Also it is one of the wars that is very much a part of our lives, as it is a conflict that we are aware of and one that is relevant in this day and age, despite it being going on for almost 10 years! To conclude, I think that Afghanistan really is relevant to us purely because it is such a big part of us and really we struggle to go a day without coming across conflict, be it through a video game, the news, a film or even a book. "
You can view Ross's final project for this unit by clicking here (pdf, 214kb). It makes for fascinating reading.
Elsewhere in Year 9 Geography lessons, pupils have taken part in a Skype call with the Head of Programmes for the UN in Afghanistan. Connor Jephcott explains:
"On Friday 20th January, during Friday’s form period, we took part in a ‘Skype Video Call’ with the Head of Programmes for the UN in Afghanistan who is currently working on rebuilding Afghanistan’s infrastructure. Certain people went to the front of the class and asked various questions on how the U.N. planned to rebuild parts of Afghanistan, after the war that has travelled across the country, ruined areas that it had met, or related questions. Whilst questions were being asked, the members of form 9BW took notes on the answers given and at the end of the call, thanked him for spending his time answering our questions.
These are some examples of the questions we asked:
- What do you think is the key to long term development?
- What differences have you seen since working in Afghanistan?
- What are the UN’s main priorities regarding development within the country?
- Who decides these priorities? Do the local people have a say?
- What do you think the future holds for Afghanistan?
After eleven questions had been asked, and 45 minutes of discussion the Skype Call was concluded.
I strongly believe that this was a great experience because the members of the class had a chance to get questions about our current Geography topic answered, from someone actually inside the borders of Afghanistan who has spent years in this field. It is a rare occurrence when something similar to this happens and I learnt a substantial amount about Afghanistan’s government, problems, people, and most of all, development, from the Skype Call. I would greatly advise anyone who has the same chance in the future, to accept it with open embrace."
Thanks to Max Shaw of 9BW for being pivotal in the organisation of the Skype Call; a fantastic opportunity for all that took part - Mrs Stubbs