‘You can travel the seas, pole sand deserts and see nothing. To really understand the world, you need to get under the skin of the people and places. In other words, learn about geography. I can’t imagine a subject more relevant in schools. We’d all be lost without it,’ Michael Palin.
Our over-arching aim through our teaching of geography is to enthuse children about the subject and develop children who think like geographers.
Geography provokes and answers questions about the natural and human worlds, using different scales of enquiry to view them from different perspectives. It develops knowledge of places and environments throughout the world, an understanding of maps, and a range of investigative and problem-solving skills both inside and outside the classroom. In addition, Geography helps shape thinking about the future.
Through our teaching of Geography, we intend to:
- Develop relevant geographical knowledge and skills such as naming continents and oceans, using maps and atlases to locate countries, using keys and grid references to read and plot on maps and using maps to analyse climate trends etc.
- Undertake geographical enquiry both inside and outside the classroom.
- Develop an understanding of the patterns and physical and human processes which shape our world.
- Develop knowledge and understanding of environmental change and sustainable development.
- Develop a sense of their own identity and place in their local environment as well as in the world.
WE believe it is of the utmost importance that children develop an understanding of their own locality. Because of this, we encourage teachers to make explicit reference to the local area throughout teaching of geography. Where the focus of geography lessons is on different parts of the world, teachers are encouraged to make links and comparisons to the locality.
In order to implement our geography curriculum, we have developed a ‘big question’ approach. Each term, children will have a big question to explore in geography. This big questions will be broken down into a series of smaller questions which help to answer the big one.
We use a dual objective approach so that children gain both knowledge about the content they are studying (know that…) as well as being able to think and work like a geographer (know how…)
Sample Medium Term Plan
In the early years, children will:
- Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.
- Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, nonfiction texts and (when appropriate) maps.
Throughout the teaching of geography at Delves Lane Primary School, there are two threads which recur in many units of learning. In our curriculum, the ideas of humanity and physical, in their different forms, are revisited numerous times.
There are many units across the school which refer to humanity and the way that humans interact with the planet, the environment and each other. For example, Year 1 look at the idea of addresses and the different sizes of the human settlements that make up their address as well as how humans use farms to produce food. Year two continue this thread by looking human features in the environment and create maps of the local area. This thread is continued in years 3 and 4 where children look at a range of European and non-European countries and how the people there live their lives, making comparisons to their own. Year 4 will also look at how settlements came to be and what early settlers had to think about before deciding on a location to settle. This continues in years 5 and 6 where children think about the ideas of economy and trade as well as natural resources and how these are used by humans.
Other geography units refer to the physical side of geography and the natural processes associated with physical geography. For example, children in Key Stage 1 refer many times to the continents of the world and their surrounding oceans. This lays the foundation for Key Stage 2 to learn about the geographical locations of countries. Key Stage 2 also learn about the formation of volcanoes, mountains and rivers and the physical processes associated with these phenomena.
Throughout the teaching of geography, teachers will constantly assess whether children have retained the core knowledge that has been taught through questioning, quick quizzes, discussions and assessment activities. Teachers will then intervene and create appropriate activities depending on their assessments.
Annually, children will be assessed against their knowledge and progression in understanding of key concepts. This information will be passed to the geography leader so that next steps in the curriculum can be planned.