This page has been designed to give ideas to teachers on how to link the Joyce Country & Western Lakes geopark project region with the Irish curriculum.
We have also developed some resources which can be viewed in our dedicated resource section, so please check them out!
Using the JCWL geopark project region as a case study for the Geography Leaving Cert curriculum
Below are suggestions and ideas for teachers on how the Joyce Country & Western Lakes geopark region as a whole, or specific sites within it, can be used as a case study/ as case studies to teach specific core units from the Leaving Cert syllabus. We are primarily focussing on the Geography syllabus, but hope to expand this to other subjects soon.
This can either be done in the classroom, or by going on a fieldtrip to visit these places. We want to encourage using the geopark region as an outdoor classroom, as a case study area, and for the people living within it to realise what a special area it is and be proud of where they live.
We hope to design resources in conjunction with teachers, so if you are interested in working with us, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from and working with you.
Please note, the syllabus information is correct as of April 2020. Only the learning outcomes that apply to the geopark project are mentioned here.
1.1 The Tectonic Cycle
1.1 Geopark area as a case study for the different types of plate boundaries e.g. Mid-Atlantic Ridge opening and forming the mountains in geopark. Also going in to geological history of geopark to explain how the volcanoes were formed and how the modern-day equivalent is the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’.
1.2 The Rock Cycle
1.2 Geopark area as a case study for formation of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Also going in to geological history to explain different rocks forming when Ireland was at different latitudes e.g. the limestone when Ireland was at the equator.
Finny as an example of landslides. Lots of recorded landslides in area. Go in to why that area is susceptible to mass movement.
Human interaction with rock cycle and mining/ extraction e.g. Connemara marble, the old lead and silver mines, quarrying for aggregates and building material.
1.3 Landform Development (i)
1.3 Example of vertical displacement = the sandstone found on the Maumtrasna plateau 400m above sea level is also found around Clonbur 300m below surface.
Examples of deformation structures = the mountains and the folds in the marble.
Examples of any sedimentary structures in geopark area e.g. ripple marks, clearly defined bedding planes, cross-bedding etc.
Examples of volcanic rocks and pillow basalt at Finny.
1.4 Landform Development (ii)
1.4 Contract of landscapes in geopark area e.g. Joyce Country uplands and Western Lakes lowlands are evidence that spatial variations in rock type influence the physical landscape.
Karst landscape features e.g. around the loughs are particular to the limestone in geopark area.
1.5 Landform Development (iii)
1.5 Finny as an example of mass movement (landslides). Lots of recorded landslides in area. Go in to why that area is susceptible to mass movement.
Use glacial features in geopark area to explain the glacial processes that happened there. Also the opportunity for fieldtrips to see these.
1.6 Landform Development (iv)
1.6 If evidence for things like isostatic readjustment etc in geopark area, can link to leaving cert here.
1.7 Human Interaction
1.7 The canalisation of Lough Corrib is an example of canalisation. Can discuss the positives and negatives and ultimately why it didn’t work.
2.1 The Concept of a Region
2.1 Geopark area a case study of karst landscape e.g. in Cong and Clonbur and can use these as fieldtrip destinations. Also that some of these karst features are unique to the area.
Geopark area as a case study for a region associated by language – the Irish language.
2.2 The Dynamics of Regions
2.2 Use geopark area as a case study to pick 2 different areas within it to contrast in terms of physical processes (e.g. different landscapes, different rock types, different draining etc), economic processes (e.g. agriculture, mining, quarrying, tourism etc) and human processes (e.g. Gaeltacht vs non-Gaeltacht)
2.4 The Complexity of Regions (ii)
2.4 Use geopark area as an example. How boundary has initially changed from beginning of process (i.e. now includes the lakes) and boundary of Gaeltacht region and if these reflect things like urban growth and political boundaries and cultural groups.
Suggestions/ ideas for Core Unit 3
Develop an investigation package-type thing that can be carried out in geopark area. E.g. Somewhere for students to collect data (river discharge, river velocity etc) in the field and can then write their report about. Secondary sources can include JCWL website and any other papers from research that is happening in geopark area. Can also encourage students to start using GIS systems to record their data and make correlations etc.
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This page is still a work in progress, so please bear with us! If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear them.