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Geography

“The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map.  It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents.  And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.”  -  Barack Obama

Through our Geography curriculum, our aim is to instil in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our geography curriculum is designed to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and environments (both natural and human), together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes that have shaped our planet over time. Our Geography curriculum has been tailored to meet the needs of our pupils and reflect the diverse range of backgrounds that make up the school community. 

Throughout their time at Furness, there are opportunities for children to develop their knowledge of the local area through fieldwork, the study of maps and other multimedia sources.  Where possible, teachers make links within topics to some of the main cultures that make up the school community to make the learning more meaningful and deeply embedded.

History & Geography Map

Intent

A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.  Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

At Furness, through our teaching of Geography we aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
  • are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.

Implementation

The Geography curriculum at Furness is tailored to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum whilst ensuring a clear progression of knowledge and skills, but also to meet the needs of the pupils at the academy and acknowledge the diverse range of backgrounds that make up the school community.

EYFS - KS2
  • PlanBee units of work – Following teacher feedback on the humanities, in 2021 the decision was made to purchase planning and resources to support the majority of humanities topics in the school.  The units of work are aligned with NNC objectives, clearly address the teaching of key skills as well as knowledge and link well to our 6Es pedagogy.  Lessons also contain a variety of differentiated resources to provide greater challenge for more able pupils and support for those that need it.  Providing these resources has helped strengthen teaching and learning, and ensured all pupils across KS1-2 receive a more consistent provision of education in the humanities, however teachers still have the autonomy and flexibility to adapt the plans and content of lessons as they see fit.
  • Cross Curricular Reading – Children are given opportunities to do their own reading/research within each Geography topic, allowing them to see the value of reading to learn and discover.  Children use a variety of reading material to support knowledge acquisition in each topic, including high-quality class reference books, printed resources and websites.  Inference and retrieval skills are also developed through the use of multimedia resources.
  • Cross Curricular Writing – Opportunities for writing are embedded throughout each Geography topic; each lesson should have a written outcome, even if this is a brief summary of the learning or an opportunity to ask geographical questions.  Towards the middle or end of a topic, at least one opportunity to write at length is provided for.  This provides a platform for children to showcase their knowledge of the topic whilst incorporating and consolidating skills being developed in English lessons.  In some cases, year groups choose to incorporate their humanities topic directly into their English planning to further develop non-fiction writing skills.  For example, children in Year 5 study and write information texts on Mountains in a one-week block of English lessons.
  • Use of core texts in English linked to Geography topics – Year groups each have at least one core text per year that feeds into their geography topic.  This provides another opportunity for cross-curricular links, whilst allowing children to apply the learning in geography to writing in English and vice versa.  For example, Year 4 study Brazil in geography whilst reading an information text on the country in their English lessons, which leads on to writing their own version.

Geography linked core texts in KS1 & 2:

  • Links with Mathematics – Geography provides frequent opportunities to forge connections with mathematics: the use of atlases and other maps develops children’s use directional language, understanding of coordinates and grid references, and also brings in other related concepts such as lines of latitude and longitude further up the school.  Fieldwork activities, particularly in KS1, provide opportunities for collecting data through use of tally charts (for example, tallying the different types of businesses on the Harrow Road), which can then be presented in charts and graphs.  Other forms of data analysis, such as information about temperatures or rainfall in the Year 6 Biomes topic, help to strengthen connectivity between mathematics and Geography.
  • Use of a range of classroom resources to develop geographical knowledge and skills –

- Each class is equipped with a matching set of atlases; opportunities to use them are always incorporated into any Geography unit of work, but they are also utilised when developing contextual and subject knowledge in other subjects.  In History, atlas and map work are essential to provide context for most History topics.  However, atlases are sometimes used in other subjects, for example in English when looking at stories from other cultures or when finding out more about a character or setting from a core text. Doing so helps to develop children’s sense of connectivity between different areas of learning – they are then able to see how Geography skills can be applied elsewhere, rather than see the subject / skill in isolation.

Junior School Atlas

- Use of photo and video sources, leaflets or brochures, high quality class reference books and other printed materials in Geography lessons all contribute to pupils’ growing ability to engage with and analyse different source material, using it for research and to answer given questions.  At the same time, this makes a connection with many key reading skills in English, such as the ability to retrieve information from a variety of differently structured texts, as well as inferencing skills.​

- Tactile resources such as inflatable globes are used for informal games to develop locational knowledge inflatable globe between pupils, who then have to find a country in a given criteria (e.g. somewhere you’d like to visit / somewhere in the northern hemisphere / a country in South America etc.).  Similar games are done using maps / atlases e.g. find a city in… [the south west of England / north of Liverpool etc.]

- Pupils in EYFS / KS1 use giant floor of the UK and the world mats with BeeBots, which can be programmed to travel set routes.  This develops their directional language as well as their familiarity with our country and the world’s seven continents.

  • Fieldwork – Opportunities for fieldwork are provided in some Geography topics, for example in Year 2 when children practice mapping the school and the local area, as well as carry out surveys of businesses and of other human features in Harlesden.  Doing so enables them to learn vocabulary in practical, ‘real life’ contexts outside of the classroom.  In Year 6, the local area study is repeated, but with more of a focus on social and environmental issues affecting the area.  Pupils are then asked to consider how the local area could be improved and developed, so that they begin to see themselves as agents of change within their local community.  The school residential trip in Year 6 also provides great opportunities for fieldwork through orienteering activities and learning about river formation / erosion.
  • Whole school events & initiatives – European Day of Languages provides a brilliant opportunity for children to appreciate the diversity of languages spoken in Europe, in London and even in the school.  The school also promotes ‘Earth Day’ through organising activities in class linked to raising awareness about environmental issues.  Eco-warriors are voted for each year who help ensure recycling is correctly disposed of and energy is saved where possible.  Recently, they have also been involved in the development of the new school wildlife area and planting flowering plants in the school grounds.
  • Upper KS2 residential trips – Children in Year 6 embark on a week-long residential trip to Gordon Brown activity centre.  For many children, their experiences of the British countryside prior to this are often limited or non-existent.  The residential trip provides them with numerous opportunities for learning in outdoor, practical contexts, and acts as an ideal platform to explore the temperate biome they have learned about in their Geography unit earlier in the term.  As previously mentioned, the residential trip also incorporates several fieldwork based activities.
  • Educational Visits – These form an integral part of the learning experience for children whilst building upon their ‘cultural capital’ by exposing them to sights, locations and activities they may otherwise not have the opportunity to be involved with.  We are fortunate enough to be able to easily take advantage of the wealth of resources that the capital has to offer, for example Kew Gardens, where pupils can experience conditions similar to those in an actual rainforest or desert.  Educational visits also provide a valuable writing opportunity, as the children can recount their experience or write about it using a different format, for example a newspaper report or persuasive advert.  This is another way of strengthening connectivity with other learning areas.
  • Assessment – We aim to make assessment in the humanities as meaningful as possible whilst still being manageable for the class teacher.  For each topic, class teachers use a cover sheet that details the key skills and knowledge that will be covered throughout the unit (these objectives are taken from a shared document which covers ‘Progression in Geography’).  The key objectives are used to underpin all learning taking place within that topic, and teachers are able to use them to judge whether individual children are working within, below or above the expected standard for their age.  This data is uploaded to Target Tracker so it can be compiled and analysed by the Subject Lead.
Progression Statement

Impact

 The impact of our Geography curriculum is that the majority of children in our school are able to…

  • Talk confidently about how they learn about Geography (skills), as well as what they know (knowledge)
  • Use a wide range of Geographical terms and subject-specific vocabulary
  • Ask geographical questions about their own locality and others in this country, Europe or around the wider world
  • Select and use relevant source material, including maps and atlases, to answer geographical questions
  • Show an interest an enthusiasm for finding out about both the physical and human world around them
  • Articulate their understanding of key human and physical processes that shape our planet
  • (By the end of KS2) Name, locate and describe the 7 continents and examples of countries within them; major oceans and seas; climatic zones, major biomes and their features; and examples of major world human and physical landmarks and processes.

Recommended Websites for Pupils:

DK Find Out! – https://www.dkfindout.com/

National Geographic Kids – https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

Kids Britannica - https://kids.britannica.com/

BBC Bitesize – https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/z2f3cdm

Kids Against Plastic – https://www.kidsagainstplastic.co.uk/

Open Street Map –  https://www.openstreetmap.org/

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