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Geography Weekend Inside-Out

Those of you who happened to be in the Cirkewwa area during the month of May, would surely have noticed a lively group of 12-year olds. You would have bumped into them walking uphill to explore caves, or even carrying out interviews with people on the Cirkewwa ferry.

From a supposedly one-off idea of the Humanities Department twelve years ago, the Grade 8 students wasted no time in transforming this acitivty into a permanent highlight on the school calendar. With an average students’ turnout of 98% every year, these weekends have been set up in order to expose the children to a different dimension of geographical learning. In addition, the possibility of shifting from a classroom to an outdoor environment packed with hands-on experiences is always an exciting prospect for the students. .

The event kicks off with the students arriving at Paradise Bay Hotel on Thursday at 6 pm. They barely have enough time to admire their sea-view rooms or settle down to the weekend rules (which are unfailingly broken the next day!), before an hour later finds them already walking in the sunset light of Cirkewwa to explore a subterranean cave and hopefully see some bats. To discharge more of their youthful energy, the group is then involved in a geography quiz tournament, which sometimes can get rather animated much to the consternation of other residents, especially if it drags on to 10.30 at night!

To call Friday a full day is an understatement. By 9 am the students, all clad in Geography Weekend T-shirts, hit the road heading for the Cirkewwa ferry to carry out a transport survey. With transport studies as part of the geography syllabus, the children are encouraged to carry out interviews with tourists and locals about the use of transport. But the activities for the day do not stop there. Once in Gozo, they head to Ramla l-Hamra for a fieldwork on coastal geology and geomorphology and engage in a treasure hunt on the beach. Nowhere else are their orientation skills tested to the full, but in the challenge to find the blessed treasure on the map!

In the afternoon, they visit the Mellieha Holiday Complex to get an insight on solar heating, waste separation and water recycling. After this swift succession of events, they walk to Popeye Village, where they give in to the fun of the water rides, bumping cars and roller coasters. The rest of the afternoon is spent ‘resting’ at the hotel but by dinner, some eyelids are already drooping and only a few manage to watch the movie “Eight Below” scheduled for them on big screen.

Saturday starts off with a wake up call that is always a struggle for the teachers, who ruthlessly resort to the dragging of curtains, singing and even jumping on beds. The hours spent awake to chat the night away start to weigh heavy, as a handful of students can barely drag themselves down to breakfast. Luckily for them the Saturday programme is less demanding, taking in a landscaping activity in the hotel gardens and a workshop to discuss and present their findings of the transport survey. The event closes with Saturday lunch after which, much to their disappointment, the students have to pack up and leave with a luggage full of dirty clothes and exciting memories of an irrepeatable geography learning experience.


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