Fieldwork is working in the open environment. A trail is a local study. It can be carried out anywhere – indoors or outdoors. It is activity based and can be relevant to any curriculum subject.  In SESE Geography a trail is an organised or structured walk for the purpose of observing and exploring different aspects of the built and natural environment.  It focuses on specific points of interest so that a field study is engaging and beneficial to pupils and teachers.

Safety demands good practice, this involves planning and preparation with potential sources of danger identified (read SESE Geography TG pg.78 and 79)





Constructing a Trail


Fieldwork School Sample

Trail Resources




Constructing a Trail



  • Choose 3 or 4 stops .A little and often can be more productive.
  • Best if trail is circular in design
  • Stop can be subject specific or integrated
  • Trail templates, symbols  available on
  • Put out the equipment needed at each stop



  • Trail booklet, trail work card at each stop or SESE copybook.
  • Consider the different levels of ability within the class or group to ensure the reading level and content is age and ability appropriate.


Follow up

  • Classroom activity based on findings ... discussion, written reports, project work, art work, use of ICT..







Exploring the local environment within walking distance from the school


Scoil Nano Nagle, Clondalkin, Dublin second class


This example of fieldwork highlights the potential for most schools to explore their local environment safely. A great deal of very valuable fieldwork may be completed around the school and its grounds. Thorough preparation included walking the route before hand to identify places for activities and investigations. Maps, globes and graphical skills are introduced using a prepared map of the area. The children identify key locations on the map and their spatial language is developed in a real life context. One group of children use leaf identification charts in order to identify the leaves as accurately as they can. Effective ways for the children to record their findings in the environment include



  • Use of digital camera
  • Use of video camera
  • Observational drawings
  • Making a tally during survey work
  • Completing prepared worksheets
  • Extra paper for rubbings



The follow-up work in the classroom includes recording, analysing and interpreting the information collected and presenting the findings using a range of media. ICT, maps, graphs and the construction of models can be used to present the data. This integrates meaningfully with the Maths strand data-representing and interpreting data.


  • People living and working in the local area / a contrasting part of Ireland


‘Local investigations will provide an important reference point for the child with which he/she can compare and contrast other places. ’T.G. Pg. 64'.In Human environments we develop a sense of place and space through the exploration the following sub-units.


  • People and communities: people who live and work in area


Natural environmental features and people: inter relationship between people and the natural features of an area


  • Settlement: The variety of the built environment-housing, schools, factories etc

  • People at work: economic activities in the area-farming, tourism, services

  • Transport and communications: roads, services, energy, communication


(Geography Curriculum pg.54-56)

From Third – Sixth each class must undertake:


A Local Study (study of the Local Area under the sub units of the strand unit)


 While teachers have made a selection of sub-units per class there is natural linkage between these sub units and they are never done entirely in isolation from each other.


 A study of a contrasting part of Ireland


Teachers in these classes should plan and choose locations together .These choices must be recorded as part of your whole school plan.


Downloads in this section include:


Street Furniture Trails


Sample SESE Trails