School of Geography, Geology and the Environment

Workshops and field classes

Workshop and field class briefs.


Resource Supply and Impacts of Mining – Dan Smith

Workshop 1

Opencast mining

This workshop focuses on the impact of mining and how this can be demonstrating in a comprehensible way, accompanied by some core material on current and projected demand, environmental and social impacts of mining, and how geoscientific aspects of ore deposits influence all of the above.

The plastic cycle – Anthropocene – Ed Thomas 

Workshop 2

Plastic waste washed up on a beach

Plastic is pervasive in the environment. It has been recorded throughout the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and cryosphere. Typically models focus on the transfer of plastic from land to ocean but this only capturing part of the story. Explore in this workshop how applying thinking from biogeochemical cycles (e.g. carbon and nitrogen) can help to better understand the flux and fate of plastics throughout Earth systems. 

Learning Earth Sciences through Video Games – Ed McGowan

Workshop 3

Video games are extremely popular with gamers being immersed in these for hours. Visual features in these are usually very realistic albeit not always accurate. This workshop explores the potential on using commercial off-the shelf video games and their content to teach and learn Earth Sciences.

EDUQAS and OCR Exam board training workshops

Workshops 4/5 and 12/13

We are delighted to be able to provide training from two exam boards. Join these workshops, designed for you to get all the latest information on qualifications and assessments and insights into available teaching resources. Obtain a range of practical tips and strategies for the classroom.

‘Metal Heads’ – How to extract essential resources – Gawen Jenkin

Workshop 6

metallic mineral in rock

Metals like lithium, neodymium and silver are essential to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. But extraction is difficult and has major environmental impacts of its own. Fortunately, University of Leicester researchers have developed a tool that allows cheap, safe and clean extraction of these compounds. This process allows efficient metal extraction and recycling, producing useful products from waste.  Find out more about these exciting advances, while you paint with metal salts, and try your hand at many more metal hands-on activities!

Tropical Coral Archives: Reconstructions of Climate for Society – Jens Zinke

Workshop 7

two men sawing coral

Geobiological archives provide key information on climate and environmental change over decades to millennia that help us to understand the impact and scale of anthropogenic climate change. In this session we will demonstrate how massive corals are used to read the climate history from the tropical oceans. We will demonstrate the use of a coral climate proxy record in encoding the temporal and spatial sea surface temperature and rainfall changes associated with the El Nino Southern Oscillation using an open-source online toolkit from the World Meteorological Association (KNMI Climate Explorer). 

Catastrophic meteorite impacts and the rocks they leave behind – Ben Clarke

Workshop 8

Our planet experienced many large meteorite impacts that caused extensive destruction. The deposits they leave behind look strikingly similar to those created through explosive volcanism. This workshop provides a practical experiment demonstrating the process of meteorite impacts and planetary cratering. This will be linked with interactive 3D models of the rocks these events leave behind.

seismic waves

Earthquake visualisation in the classroom – Victoria Lane

Workshop 9

Seismometers record ground motion which can be used to understand the nature of earthquakes, as well as physical properties within the Earth. Using open-access resources, this workshop will equip you with ways to visualise real seismic waveforms e.g. earthquake data, as well as providing hands on seismic experiments you can recreate in the classroom. No experience needed!

The exceptional world of fossil preservation – Anna McGairy

Workshop 10

Jane the Trex

A fossil is the remains of an organism that has been preserved in rock. Either parts of the organism itself are preserved (body fossils), or an organism’s behaviour can be preserved, such as footprints or burrows (trace fossils). With body fossils, usually only the hard parts like bones or shells are preserved, but under special circumstances soft parts like feathers or guts are preserved too – this is called exceptional preservation. This workshop will consider the various factors involved in making a fossil, from what controls the process of preservation, to what can be preserved and how the study of fossils can provide new information about how animals from over 500 million years ago used to live.

Assay of the Earth – Andrew Miles

Workshop 11

Most of us are familiar with the idea that the Earth is composed of distinct 'layers', namely the crust, mantle and the core. But how exactly do we know this? Why has solving the seemingly simple question of "what is the Earth made from?" preoccupied scientists for centuries? Resolving this question has drawn on evidence from some rather unexpected places! The practical examines the materials that make up the Earth's crust, mantle and core and uses a hands-on experiment to estimate the density of the different rock types that make up the Earth's layers and to calculate the Earth's total mass. Aim of the workshop task is to allow students to examine the assumptions made in experimental design and whether these are reasonable.

Field classes

The Geology of Bradgate Park

Field class 1

Old John and Bradgate ParkLeicester city is set between farmlands in the east midlands and the quintessential English landscape of Charnwood Forest. In this field visit we will explore the Precambrian rocks of Charnwood Forest which are renowned as being the locality where Charnia fossils were first identified and earliest life forms described in unequivocally Precambrian rocks. We aim to showcase that the Precambrian, Cambrian and Triassic rocks of Charnwood Forest can be used for geological fieldwork at a range of levels. Following a route that we have used for outreach courses for GCSE-level students, showing that these rocks can be used for demonstrating geological concepts yet still contain features in volcanoclastic rocks that baffle experts.

Building stones of Leicester – A restoration project for students

Field class 2

The fabric of Leicester contains an enormous variety of natural rocks, crowded with myriad clues of Earth’s dramatic history where they can be easily examined. This extraordinary resource is often overlooked, even as we walk past it every day. This field visit will look at the range of building stones used and demonstrate on how this can be incorporated into the class room teaching of core geological skills. The related student project is based on a hypothetical restoration project which includes an assessment of the used building stones, sourcing and pricing of replacements. The idea of this activity is based on the multimillion restoration project of the Houses of Parliament in London.

Urban Geology and the Anthropocene

Field class 3

In this field visit we will uncover the geology that underpins Leicester City and the geology that has built Leicester as a city. Geology controls many urban environments, both in terms of what can be built and where through to supplying most of the materials for construction. We will be using mobile apps and field observations to understand the impact of geology on the evolution of cities.

A Brief Introduction to Cartography (GIS course) 

Field class 4

Leicester geographic data Geoscientists are required to be able to study and relate geospatial technologies, including digital mapping and cartography. This activity will be hosted in our computer facility on campus. Receive an introduction to the theory and practice of remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). On how to get started and on how we can make a two-dimensional map from a three dimensional Earth. Learn about the tools and techniques geoscientists use to collect, analyse, map, and visualise spatial data. 

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