The thematic curriculum that we introduced in Year 7 last year has been extended into Year 8 this term.  For the first half of term, the theme for the Year 8s was Climate Change.  The children began the term by questioning whether or not Donald Trump understands the difference between weather and climate, before learning about why it is that the British Isles enjoys such a balmy climate relative, that is, to somewhere like Moosonee in Canada, which is on a similar latitude (the average temperature in Moosonee in November is -8oC).

The Year 8s then looked at the impact of climate change on the Arctic region – please see Honor G’s essay explaining the consequences of recent changes to the Arctic environment (page 1 and page 2).

Electing to sidestep the standard case study for flooding (Boscastle, 2004, in case you were wondering), instead we compared the causes, effects and responses to flooding in the UK (Storm Desmond, 2015) with flooding in Bangladesh (just about every year, unfortunately for the people of Bangladesh) – please see Honor F’s essay on why the effects of flooding vary.

Before half term, the children discovered that evolutionary brain biases seem to be at least partly responsible for our inaction on climate change, and we concluded by looking at the graphs below (I will lead you to draw your own conclusions).

This half term, the Year 8s have moved on to a new theme: Migration.

We started a couple of hundred thousand years ago, looking at the early migrations out of Africa by modern humans. Casually setting aside a few tens of thousands of years, we jumped to 1066 and the migration of Jews and people from the Low Countries to England in the Middle Ages. More recently, the Year 8s have been studying the rapid urbanisation that took place in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including looking at the Highland Clearances and the consequences of the Irish Potato Famine.

The theme for the Year 7s this term in Conflict. You will see two essays, one by Clara F about why the English lost the battle of Hastings, and one by Hugo E (page 1 and page 2) about Elizabeth I’s attitude to conflict – happy reading!

Paul Borrows