Geography

Our pupils on a geography field trip to Paddington Rec.

What is Geography?

Geography is the study of Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It is, quite simply, about the world in which we live.  Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography). Human geography concerns the understanding of the dynamics of cultures, societies and economies, and physical geography concerns the understanding of the dynamics of physical landscapes and the environment.

Royal Geographical Society Website

Geography informs us about

Key Stage 1 Geography

Our teaching ensures that 'geographical enquiry and skills' are used when developing 'knowledge and understanding of places, patterns and processes', and 'environmental change and sustainable development'.

During Key Stage 1 pupils investigate their local area and a contrasting area in the United Kingdom or abroad, finding out about the environment in both areas and the people who live there. They also begin to learn about the wider world. They carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. In doing this they ask geographical questions about people, places and environments, and use geographical skills and resources such as maps and photographs.

Knowledge, skills and understanding

Geographical enquiry and skills

1. In undertaking geographical enquiry, pupils are taught to::
a. ask geographical questions [for example, 'What is it like to live in this place?']
b. observe and record [for example, identify buildings in the street and complete a chart]
c. express their own views about people, places and environments [for example, about litter in the school]
d. communicate in different ways [for example, in pictures, speech, writing].

2. In developing geographical skills, pupils are taught to:
a. use geographical vocabulary [for example, hill, river, motorway, near, far, north, south]
b. use fieldwork skills [for example, recording information on a school plan or local area map]
c. use globes, maps and plans at a range of scales [for example, following a route on a map]
d. use secondary sources of information [for example, CD-ROMs, pictures, photographs, stories, information texts, videos, artefacts]
e. make maps and plans [for example, a pictorial map of a place in a story].

Knowledge and understanding of places

3. Pupils are taught to:
a. identify and describe what places are like [for example, in terms of landscape, jobs, weather]
b. identify and describe where places are [for example, position on a map, whether they are on a river]
c. recognise how places have become the way they are and how they are changing [for example, the quality of the environment in a street]
d. recognise how places compare with other places [for example, compare the local area with places elsewhere in the United Kingdom]
e. recognise how places are linked to other places in the world [for example, food from other countries].

Knowledge and understanding of patterns and processes

4. Pupils are taught to:
a. make observations about where things are located [for example, a pedestrian crossing near school gates] and about other features in the environment [for example, seasonal changes in weather]
b. recognise changes in physical and human features [for example, heavy rain flooding fields].

Knowledge and understanding of environmental change and sustainable development

5. Pupils are taught to:
a. recognise changes in the environment [for example, traffic pollution in a street]
b. proved and sustained [for example, by restricting the number of cars].

Teaching should ensure that 'geographical enquiry and skills' are used when developing 'knowledge and understanding of places, patterns and processes', and 'environmental change and sustainable development'.

During Key Stage 2

Pupils investigate a variety of people, places and environments at different scales in the United Kingdom and abroad, and start to make links between different places in the world. They find out how people affect the environment and how they are affected by it. They carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. In doing this they ask geographical questions, and use geographical skills and resources such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs and ICT.

Knowledge, skills and understanding

Geographical enquiry and skills

1. In undertaking geographical enquiry, pupils are taught to:
a. ask geographical questions [for example, 'What is this landscape like?', 'What do I think about it?']
b. collect and record evidence [for example, by carrying out a survey of shop functions and showing them on a graph]
c. analyse evidence and draw conclusions [for example, by comparing population data for two localities]
d. identify and explain different views that people, including themselves, hold about topical geographical issues [for example, views about plans to build an hotel in an overseas locality]
e. communicate in ways appropriate to the task and audience [for example, by writing to a newspaper about a local issue, using email to exchange information about the locality with another school].

2. In developing geographical skills, pupils are taught:
a. to use appropriate geographical vocabulary [for example, temperature, transport, industry]
b. to use appropriate fieldwork techniques [for example, labelled field sketches] and instruments [for example, a rain gauge, a camera]
c. to use atlases and globes, and maps and plans at a range of scales [for example, using contents, keys, grids]
d. to use secondary sources of information, including aerial photographs [for example, stories, information texts, the internet, satellite images, photographs, videos]
e. to draw plans and maps at a range of scales [for example, a sketch map of a locality]
f. to use ICT to help in geographical investigations [for example, creating a data file to analyse fieldwork data]
g. decision-making skills [for example, deciding what measures are needed to improve safety in a local street].

Knowledge and understanding of places

3. Pupils are taught:
a. to identify and describe what places are like [for example, in terms of weather, jobs]
b. the location of places and environments they study and other significant places and environments [for example, places and environments in the news]
c. to describe where places are [for example, in which region/country the places are, whether they are near rivers or hills, what the nearest towns or cities are]
d. to explain why places are like they are [for example, in terms of weather conditions, local resources, historical development]
e. to identify how and why places change [for example, through the closure of shops or building of new houses, through conservation projects] and how they may change in the future [for example, through an increase in traffic or an influx of tourists]
f. to describe and explain how and why places are similar to and different from other places in the same country and elsewhere in the world [for example, comparing a village with a part of a city in the same country]
g. to recognise how places fit within a wider geographical context [for example, as part of a bigger region or country] and are interdependent [for example, through the supply of goods, movements of people].

Knowledge and understanding of patterns and processes

4. Pupils are taught to:
a. recognise and explain patterns made by individual physical and human features in the environment [for example, where frost forms in the playground, the distribution of hotels along a seafront]
b. recognise some physical and human processes [for example, river erosion, a factory closure] and explain how these can cause changes in places and environments.

Knowledge and understanding of environmental change and sustainable development

5. Pupils are taught to:
a. recognise how people can improve the environment [for example, by reclaiming derelict land] or damage it [for example, by polluting a river], and how decisions about places and environments affect the future quality of people's lives
b. recognise how and why people may seek to manage environments sustainably, and to identify opportunities for their own involvement [for example, taking part in a local conservation project].

Breadth of study

6. During the key stage, pupils should be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through the study of two localities and three themes:

  1. Localities

Themes

Water and its effects on landscapes and people, including the physical features of rivers [for example, flood plain] or coasts [for example, beach], and the processes of erosion and deposition that affect them

How settlements differ and change, including why they differ in size and character [for example, commuter village, seaside town], and an issue arising from changes in land use [for example, the building of new housing or a leisure complex]

An environmental issue, caused by change in an environment [for example, increasing traffic congestion, hedgerow loss, drought], and attempts to manage the environment sustainably [for example, by improving public transport, creating a new nature reserve, reducing water use].

7. In their study of localities and themes, pupils should:
a. study at a range of scales - local, regional and national
b. study a range of places and environments in different parts of the world, including the United Kingdom and the European Union
c. carry out fieldwork investigations outside the classroom.

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