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Geography

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subject overview

In Geography, we look to expose our learners to environments, cultures & ideas dissimilar to their own. We also seek to make learning relevant to our students’ lives. We want our learners to end up with enhanced reading and writing skills and those of problem solving and synoptic thinking. The latter is needed in view of the many transformations our world will face in the coming years. Having a means to interpret events like Climate change, Brexit and Job market automation contributes to our learners’ economic and social well-being.

unit overview - autumn term 

Topic 1: Cold Environments

Skills

Map skills (locational details including scale)

Basic numerical manipulation

Long form extended writing

Case Study knowledge; place based detail

Knowledge

The characteristics of cold environments

Life in cold environments

Development constraints in cold environments

Opportunities in cold environments
Greenland case study

Managing cold environments

Rationale

The work fills gaps in learners' knowledge to the extent that learners tend to have engaged in the study of rainforests in primary school with sometimes knowledge of deserts built on to it. Cold Environments have key differences to these two as soil exists as permafrost and human settlement is significantly more difficult here.

This work prepares learners for GCSE study where the requirements of the AQA syllabus specifies the need for study of particularly important and distinct biomes. We opt to study Deserts then, but a greater appreciation of the interrelations implied by a systems approach is cultivated by this study as we view for example how, climate creates adaptive flora and fauna evolved to survive the challenges of this ecosystem.

The SoW is interesting for learners as much press coverage of climate change focuses on the relative exposure of places like Antarctica and Greenland to effects like habitat loss, and glacial melting. By offering some more place specific study (e.g. of the livelihoods and scarce development opportunities in these locations) learners engagement can be further piqued. The example of Greenland is chosen for content coverage; there is a large void of knowledge surrounding this place yet it shows up developmental challenges and so too environmental determinism to the extent that there are lots of constraints on settlement and progress.

unit overview - spring term 

Topic 2: Synoptic Work: Peru

Skills

Students must engage with a range of quantitative and relevant qualitative skills, within the unit. In particular there is a need to understand simple mathematical operation and the scope for applying them to data sets. Likewise extended writing skills and specifically the genre of arguing for / against is important as this is learners first exposure to justified decision making as characterises a section of the GCSE they will go on to study.

Knowledge

The nature of rainforests and their global distribution

The structure of rainforests

Rainforests’ value to different groups of people

Varying rates of deforestation across the world

The causes and effects of deforestation

Illegal agriculture in the Amazon

Peru’s development context

The proposal for a road in Peru

Different perspectives on Peru’s scheme

Rationale

This unit, based on past experience, is a very engaging one ahead of GCSE options choices. Having covered large themes in Geography (most obviously relevant in this context, that of Ecosystems in yr 8 & Development in yr 7) students are given opportunities to show synoptic applications of Geography through the use of a past GCSE issue evaluation paper.

The knowledge requirements listed above are specific to the Peru case study but much of this is lower order work apt for rote learning. The highest tariff questions which evaluate Peru’s development dilemmas derive much of their challenge from the ability to apply cross-unit work. For example, the implications of Peru’s road building has environmental and economic implications learners are asked to consider.

Finally, the variety of stimuli presented in the accompanying resource booklet offers an opportunity to use different forms of Geographical description including mathematical techniques.

 

unit overview - summer term 

Topic 3: Synoptic Work: Urbanisation

Skills

Students must engage with a range of quantitative and relevant qualitative skills, within the unit. In particular there is a need to understand simple mathematical operations and the scope for applying them to data sets. Likewise extended writing skills and specifically the genre of arguing for / against is important as this is learners first exposure to justified decision-making as characterises a section of the GCSE they will go on to study. In this case, this argumentation is over the desirability of improving slums or their whole scale destruction and regeneration.

Knowledge

Urbanisation rates across the world

Correlations between development measures and urbanisation rates

Inequality within LIC/NEE cities

Positives of Urbanisaton

Slums in the global south

Slums in Lagos

Slums in Mumbai

Rationale

This unit, based on past experience, is a very engaging one ahead of GCSE options choices. Having covered large themes in Geography (most obviously relevant in this context, that of Development in yr 7 & Cities in the 21st Century in yr 8) students are given opportunities to show synoptic applications of Geography through the use of a past GCSE issue evaluation paper.

The knowledge requirements listed above are specific to given locations. The highest tariff questions are those which seek to evaluate urbanisation with reference to costs and benefits and weighting judgments.

Finally, the variety of stimuli presented in the accompanying resource booklet offers an opportunity to use different forms of Geographical description including mathematical techniques.

knowledge Organiser

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.