Geography

Department vision

Our vision is for students to be able to look at the world around them with a sense of awe and wonder, be able to ask questions about what they see and have the confidence to provide the answers.

We aim to develop geographers who question what they see around them and are interested in what creates the world in which we live today.  Our curriculum allows students to reflect on their learning, apply their knowledge to different contexts and make links across topics.  It allows them to reflect on their position as global citizens who take an interest in the world around them and in contexts different to their own, whilst shaking off current stereotypes. 

We believe geography bridges the gap between English, mathematics, science and social sciences.  We will ensure that students use the knowledge gained in these subjects to enhance their understanding of geography.  We want our learners to be immersed in the world around them and appreciate the reality beyond the electronic world.

Although we teach Key Stage 3 (3 year programme) and Key Stage 4 (a two year programme), our curriculum utilises the expected flight paths of learners from Key Stages 2 to 5.  We want them to achieve highly at GCSE, but also be prepared for Key Stage 5.  Below is an outline of the journey from Years 7 to 11.  Skills are used to develop a deep understanding of a variety of geographical concepts and ensure that these can be linked together, rather than learnt in isolation.  Where blocking concepts are taught (for example global circulation systems), these are repeated across year groups to ensure understanding.

What will my son/daughter learn at Key Stage 3?

Year 7 begins with ‘fantastic places’ to give an appreciation of the wider world.  The majority of students have covered very little explicit geography at Key Stage 2, and need to be given an overview so that they are able to access any prior knowledge.  We then move on to basic resource skills (maps, photographs and satellite imagery), because they need to be able to read and interpret a variety of resources for each topic studies, all the way to GCSE and beyond.  Other key themes in year 7 are ‘our planet as a natural resource’, ‘economy’, ‘weather and climate’ and ‘rivers and flooding’.  The causes and impacts of global climate change and human pollution run through these topics to link the concepts with current global issues.

Year 8  topics provide a good background for GCSE and allow for teaching of the written skills of ‘chains of reasoning’ to explain and evaluate different concepts.  Year 8 begins with ‘development’ as a topic.  This is a facilitating topic that underpins the understanding of concepts in future topics.  A large number of geographical situations are affected by standards of development, so it is important to cover this at this point.  ‘Economic and social development’ is followed by ‘population and urbanisation’, and then ‘coastal landforms and hazards’.  The final two topics are studies of Asia and Africa.  Both allow students to apply their geographical knowledge and skills to specific places.  It allows us to revisit development, population structure, urbanisation and its consequences, and impacts of resource management, as well as natural features and hazards, such as rivers, coasts and flooding.

Year 9 develops geographical writing and pushes students to develop skills associated with evaluation, as well as explanation.  Greater expectation is placed on writing, to explain by developing chains of reasoning as a springboard into GCSE.  This year provides the platform upon which we build exam success.  This year also focuses on the concept of case studies.  Plate tectonics and biomes are taught in Year 9, as they provide a groundwork for Years 10 and 11, where these topics are more specialised. The broader curriculum content provides background knowledge.  Dark tourism and global resource issues complete the set of Year 9 topics.  These topics are placed here, as they require the application of key knowledge and concepts.  This linking between topics is crucial at Key Stage 4, so to spend time in year 9 using this skill will be beneficial.  For those who do not choose GCSE, these topics allow them to see the world with analytical eyes and fulfils our vision, even if they choose not to study the subject further.

Which GCSE specification do we prepare students for?

GCSE Geography follows the AQA Geography specification.  There are three exams (physical geography, human geography and decision making/fieldwork skills)

What will my son/daughter learn at Key Stage 4?

The physical geography elements (‘natural hazards’, ‘the living world’, ‘rivers and coasts’) are taught in Year 10.  Human Geography elements straddle Years 10 and 11 (‘development’, ‘urbanisation’ and ‘resources’).  Integral to each topic is the ability to write in ‘chains of reasoning’.  This is taught throughout, irrespective of topic.  Geographical and mathematical skills must also integrate into the different topics.  Knowledge is further developed by the use of case studies to illustrate application.

Students will get opportunities (covid permitting) to apply their skills and knowledge out side the classroom by taking part in fieldwork.

Best approaches to helping at home

Fostering a culture of posing, exploring, challenging and critiquing one another’s responses to challenging questions;  do this at home too – it will help.

A culture of asking questions is encouraged.  This includes discussing current affairs at home (watch the news together).

Retrieval questions in every lesson help students remember facts.

Revising for interim and final assessments allow opportunities for students to go over their learning and knowledge.  Assessments provide chances to practise writing skills.

‘Say it again better’ gives students more than one chance to formulate and answer. It is well worth doing this at home.

Small knowledge quizzes are a regular part of learning.

When revising, get your child to write out some questions you can ask (and the answers), so you can help check their learning.

Are there any websites that will support my son’s/daughter’s learning?

The Royal Geographical Society

Juicy Geography

BBC Bitesize KS3

BBC Bitesize GCSE

3D Geography

AQA

S-cool – The Revision Website

Head of Department: Mrs A. Crawford

crawforda@bowerpark.co.uk