Intent - How we have planned our geography curriculum?
The study of geography involves Langrish children exploring the relationship and interactions between people and the environments in which they live, upon which they, and all life on Earth depend. Children here at Langrish will live to see the next century and inhabit a world of up to and maybe beyond 11 billion people. The many opportunities and challenges that will arise during their lifetime will be very much about geography at personal, national and global scales. Here at Langrish, our geography reflects this throughout the curriculum. In particular, we have established a school curriculum plan for geography as an entitlement for all that is:
- Begun within our Early Years Foundation Stage [EYFS], building on children's geographical skills, knowledge and experiences. This is achieved through discussions, current news and relevant topics, previous experiences children have had such as holidays or surroundings of where they live. In the EYFS, we use maps to explore the world around us, role play travel agents, learn about where our foods comes from and why and find information through photos, the Internet and fiction and non-fiction books.
- Aspirational - in terms of introducing a desire to achieve the highest levels of success through providing opportunities to excel in terms of their achievement of long-lasting knowledge and understanding core geographical skills.
- Logical, relevant, broad and balanced in terms of the areas of subject content we have selected which reflect the guidance of, and are appropriate with the demands of the National Curriculum. For example, ensuring that content includes an even proportion of physical and human investigations such as the effect of rivers on the landscape and the impact of the rise of megacities in the world. Consideration has also been given to ensure our geography curriculum maintains relevancy and topicality throughout, including enquiries that engage pupils in studying issues such as climate change, flooding and trade.
- Sequenced to ensure that pupils can build on previous knowledge and understanding as they tackle more complex and demanding enquiries. For example at Key Stage 1 children observe and record the distinctive geographical features of the local area here at Langrish School. Then compare and contrast them with a similarly sized area around a school in Borneo. At Key Stage 2 this knowledge and understanding is both consolidated and extended as pupils investigate the nature of environmental change in their local area and reach judgements as to the cost and benefits such change brings. Similarly, the understanding gained and concepts explored through an enquiry on the impact of earthquakes at Lower Key Stage 2 are revisited and extended when the pupils study the impact of living on a volcanic island in Iceland at Upper Key Stage 2.
- It is vital as children progress, the geographical enquiries become more challenging in terms of the complexity of the subject knowledge we want children to acquire and also the critical thinking skills we support them to utilise to ensure they understand the significance of that knowledge. These anticipated outcomes in knowledge, understanding and skills acquisition are detailed in the objectives of the schemes of work of each enquiry.
Implementation - How do we teach our Geography Curriculum?
We adopt an enquiry focused approach to learning and teaching in geography which develops our children as young geographers. Through enquiry, our children not only build subject knowledge and understanding but become increasingly adept at critical thinking, specialised vocabulary and their grasp of subject concepts. We structure learning in geography through big question led enquiries about relevant geographical topics, places and themes. Our curriculum is therefore ‘knowledge rich’ rather than content heavy as we recognise that if we attempt to teach geographical topics, places, themes and issues in their entirety we restrict opportunities for pupils to master and apply critical thinking skills and achieve more challenging subject outcomes.
We adopt a policy of immersive learning in geography that provides sufficient time and space for our pupils not only to acquire new knowledge and subject vocabulary but also to develop subject concepts and understand the significance of what they have learnt. Our learning and teaching in geography is interactive and practical allowing opportunities for children to work independently, in pairs and also in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom. Learning activities are varied including the use of mysteries, maps at different scales, GIS, geographical puzzles, photographs and drama. Similarly, we provide varied and differentiated ways for children to record the outcomes of their work including the use of PowerPoint, concept mapping, annotated diagrams, improvised drama and the application of a wide range of writing genres. Only in this way will knowledge become embedded to ensure that the children can build on what they know and understand from one year to the next.
The schemes of work for each geographical enquiry highlight both the objectives and anticipated outcomes of the investigation. They are also carefully structured through the use of ancillary questions, to enable children to build their knowledge and understanding in incremental steps of increasing complexity until they reach the point where they are able to answer the question posed at the beginning of the investigation. The learning and teaching in geography also recognises the importance of fieldwork with a number of our investigations involving observation, recording, presentation, interpretation and the evaluation of geographical information gathered outside of the classroom.
Impact - what is the outcome?
Each enquiry which forms our programme of learning and teaching in geography sets clear objectives and outcomes for the children in terms of knowledge and understanding and skills acquisition. The schemes of work also suggest a range of ways in which the teacher can assess whether the children have achieved these outcomes. We ensure that when assessing the children, evidence is drawn from a wide range of sources to inform the process, including interactions during discussions, related questioning, day to day observations, practical activities, role play, presentation and communication of fieldwork data and writing in different genres.
The outcomes of each enquiry serve to inform the teacher’s developing picture of the knowledge and understanding of each child and to plan future learning accordingly. We do not make summative judgements about individual pieces of pupil work but rather use the outcomes to build an emerging picture of what the pupil knows, understands and can do.
"It was great going somewhere different and so big to explore. I was able to use my knowledge and really put my map skills to the test... It was great working as a team!"
SEND, inclusion & adaptation
Regardless of what lesson we are teaching, making it accessible and providing the right resources for all learners is our key focus.
We make geography accessible for all. We do this by:
- Making sure our lessons include a mixture of auditory, visual and kinaesthetic experiences.
- Ensuring the children have plenty of hands-on experience.
- Giving opportunities for the children to work in pairs or groups.
- Giving adult support where needed.
- Using a range of different sources, (not just written ones).
- Scaffolding and modelling.
- Revisiting, reviewing and retrieving prior knowledge, not just in geography lessons.
- Utilising different methods of technology to record findings, such as laptops, visualisers and Easi-speak microphones.
- Ensuring each year group have experiences of 'real life' and the natural world around them.
- Print out maps as well as having them on the board for easier access and reading.
Long Term Plan
Please see below for an overview of the geography units taught.
Geographical experiences and trips children attend here at Langrish
All children have the experience of Forest School sessions within our school grounds with a Forest School Leader.
Year R - trip to the local farm.
Year 3 - trip to Butser Farm and an explorer day of map skills at Gilbert White House
Year 5 - Minstead river study
Year 6 - an explorer day of map skills at Gilbert White House and Osmington Bay (residential)