Resource ID 107242

KS4 Geography

Human and Physical Geography
"The Conservation Conundrum!"
Key Stage ED Squirrel
Resource Title
"The Conservation Conundrum!"
This resource is part of a collection with the following variants:

107241 - KS4 Low Ability

107242 - KS4 High Ability [THIS DOCUMENT]


Students will learn about the physical and human characteristics of a specific coastal environment (Southampton Water). They will examine the natural ecosystems and learn how they develop and what they are like. They will consider how humans are using this area, and how human activities may pose a threat to the natural landscape and ecosystems, and they will conduct fieldwork to assess the quality of the environment and the likely threats to it. As a follow-up, they will use an online Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping tool to find out how the area is being protected through various designations, but they will learn to appreciate the difficulties of balancing conservation needs with those of other user groups in and around Southampton Water.

Contextual Summary

This is a geography resource which engages students with the environment of Southampton Water and the Solent, whilst on their Red Funnel ferry journey across to and/or from the Isle of Wight. It includes pre-visit, on-site, and post-visit activities. This resource focuses on both the human and physical geography of the area, and specifically looks at how the two interact. The title of the resource ‘the conservation conundrum’ is the essence of what the resource aims to get across: the importance of the area as both an environmental and economic resource and the issues which arise due to the conflict between the two, and how this might be managed. Focusing on the saltmarsh and mudflat ecosystems that fringe the estuary, students will learn what these ecosystems are and how they develop, why they are important, what threats exist to their continued survival in this location and how they are being conserved. They will also consider the difficulties of balancing the needs of many different user groups which live around/work/use the area.

Key Skills Practised
  • Understanding key processes in human and physical geography, and how these interact with one another
  • Conducting fieldwork by making observations and applying their observations to specific tasks
  • Carrying out independent research
  • Using an EQA to assess environmental quality
  • Using GIS (post-visit activity)
Learning Opportunities


Students will learn what mudflats and saltmarshes are, how they develop, and their key characteristics. „ They will conduct independent research to find out why these ecosystems are important.


Students complete five tasks while on board the ferry to reinforce their understanding of the key characteristics of saltmarshes, and make observations about potential threats to them, and to also investigate how the environmental quality varies along Southampton Water.


Students consider the different viewpoints of different ‘user groups’, and how these differing opinions and needs can lead to conflict and be difficult to manage. They use GIS mapping and internet research to investigate the ways in which the natural environment of Southampton Water is being managed.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to describe and explain what mudflats and saltmarshes are, how they develop over time, and what their key characteristics are. Students will also be able to explain why these ecosystems are important (and therefore why it is important to conserve them). Students will make observations and make judgements about the likely threats to these ecosystems, and will consider the difficulties of balancing the needs of different user groups. Students will complete an EQA and think about how and why environmental quality varies along Southampton Water. Students will learn to use / practise using use GIS mapping and conducting internet research, and will be able to describe and explain the ways in which the natural ecosystems along Southampton Water are being managed.

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