GEOGRAPHY AT ST LUKE’S
What do we want to achieve?
Geography is an integral part of the curriculum as it provokes questioning and generates answers about the human and natural worlds. It prepares pupils for adult life and employment as they develop a knowledge of worldwide places and environments, an understanding of maps, and a range of investigative skills. Teaching should equip pupils with an ever-growing understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes, with the aim of raising awareness of their own locality and the wider world around us.
We aim to equip all of our children with the necessary skills to assist them in the developing of their knowledge through studying places, people and natural and human environments. We intend to deepen the children’s understanding of how the Earth is affected by human and physical forms and processes. Through data collection and analysis; using maps, globes, photographs and digital mapping to aid location skills; and the communication of information in a variety of ways, we aim for all children to develop their geographical skills, both inside and outside of the classroom.
What does Geography look like at St Luke’s?
We have carefully designed our geography curriculum to provide a programme of study, which enables pupils to achieve the aims of the National Curriculum before the end of Year 6. The content has been selected specifically to help them gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of geographical enquiry. Where possible, children learn through primary, first-hand sources, for instance, photographs and secondary sources such as websites, articles and information texts. We also make use of our local area to pursue geographical inquiry as well as discovering how the world has changed over time and subsequently impacted our current lives.
The whole curriculum presents opportunities to develop geographical skills, specifically developing strong skills in the following areas:
The curriculum is progressive, including substantive knowledge, topics, concepts and skills that pupils must learn to accelerate later learning. Certain curriculum content, such as key concepts, are repeated throughout so that pupils can encounter it more than once, in different contexts, and secure this in their long-term memory. This also gives the children the opportunity to practise these skills as well as building a thirst for finding out more. For example, weather and climate knowledge is progressive throughout KS1 and KS2 and pupils also have the opportunity to explore this further by looking at the physical impact humans have on the environment and climate change. Mapping skills are also progressive. For example, in EYFS pupils are introduced to positional language and fictional maps. Pupils then move onto looking at small scale maps in KS1 and planning routes around their local areas. Finally, in KS2 pupils explore more advanced mapping skills looking at OS maps and six-figure grid references.
As soon as children come to St Luke’s, they are encouraged to explore the world around them by looking at similarities, differences, patterns and change. Lessons are taught to encourage the children to think like a geographer, to develop curiosity about the world around them and how is it continually changing, whilst also inspiring our children to present what they have learnt in a range of different styles.
Underpinning our geography curriculum are key questions and geographical skills designed to enable pupils to ‘work geographically’ exploring topics, building on prior knowledge and asking perceptive questions. To ensure learning is processed into the long-term memory regular low steak quizzes are used to revise and recall key knowledge.
We know how important it is to give pupils the time they need to repeat or practise some of their learning so that they can remember it in the long term when they progress through school and onto High School. We have carefully sequenced our curriculum so that children build on prior knowledge and develop their understanding of geographical concepts and ideas. In addition, we have implemented ‘Flashback Four’ lesson starter activities so that children have the opportunity to have repeated exposure to knowledge and vocabulary for it to become embedded.
Our pupils love taking their learning outside of the classroom too, being able to explore what they are learning in different surroundings which is why we have loved the return to taking our pupils out on educational visits.
Geography trips and fieldwork opportunities are planned in across the year for each year group as part of the Geography curriculum. Please see these on our Cultural Capital document to see how we are developing geographical skills through real life experiences for 2022 - 2023.
What does a Geography lesson look like at St Luke’s?
Our curriculum is taken from the statutory framework. At St Luke’s we ensure that all areas of EYFS learning are important and interconnected using planned, purposeful play and a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activities. In EYFS, your child will start to gain the geography knowledge that they will build on throughout their primary school years. Our Geography topics are built upon the foundation knowledge and skills develop in the ‘Understanding the World’ area, looking at ‘People, Culture and Communities’ as well as ‘The Natural World’ and are closely linked to the learning in Year 1. We teach the children to explore their immediate environment, using knowledge from observations, discussion, stories and maps. We give them hands on opportunities to investigate, observe and to ask and answer questions. In EYFS, the children become inquisitive by identifying similarities and differences between cultural communities as well as life in this country and life in other countries. The children in EYFS are introduced to the world around them by exploring what they can see, observing objects closely, using equipment such as a map and are introduced to geographical vocabulary when using their observations to suggest answers to questions. This will help them get ready to be eager geographers when they get to Year 1 and beyond.
Key Stage One and Key Stage Two
All pupils in years 1-6 receive a minimum of 1-hour Geography teaching a week, alternating half-termly with History. All Geography lessons start with an activity that links to prior learning, enabling the children to recall information, key vocabulary and concepts taught in previous lessons. This activity helps them with their new learning, something that is particularly important as a result of the pandemic. Key vocabulary is displayed in class and explained to support the children’s learning and any new skills are modelled by the teacher before the children begin to apply these independently or as a part of a group.
In all Geography lessons, this is what you might typically see:
Have a look on Twitter at the fantastic geography work going on at St Luke's: #Stlukesburywidercurriculum
Reading and Geography
We increasingly use high-quality non-fiction texts to further enhance the learning experience in Geography, as well as learning how to read different types of map such as ordinance survey maps and an atlas. This enables our pupils to develop a deeper understanding of a topic through Reading and Writing. Lots of the sources used and information children have to use in geography are written down and the children need to be able to read them, as well as using the fantastic texts we have in our school to support the teaching of geography.
Assessment in Geography
We know that it is important to monitor children’s progress in school across the curriculum, one way to do this is through assessment and teachers are continually assessing the children in all types of ways so they can help them progress further with their learning. Assessment in Geography is carried out within each lesson and at also at beginning and end of the topic that is being covered. We use on going assessment to identify any misconceptions and teachers use this information to inform planning so that all children are given the opportunity to be successful in their learning.
All Key Stage One and Key Stage Two classes complete a pre-topic quiz, which enables teachers to see what prior knowledge pupils may have remember from previous year groups and which concepts and ideas may need revising or revisiting beforehand. Pupils then complete an assessment task at the end of each topic in the form of a range activities such as quizzes, information leaflets and fact files that assess what has been taught that half term. This will then inform teacher assessment for Geography at different points in the year and help teachers to understand where there are gaps in learning.
We also carry out deep dives into Geography, where we ask groups of children about their learning, including key questions from different topics. This is a fantastic way for the children to share their knowledge and excitement about Geography.
How can I support my child’s learning in Geography?
Before we start a new Geography topic, your child’s ‘knowledge organiser’ will be available for you on the school website. This will tell you what your child will be learning in Geography that half term and provide some of the key vocabulary that your child will be using in class. Another great way to support learning in Geography is to get out and about in Manchester and the North West, immersing yourself in our local environment. We can learn so much about our local area just by going for a family walk!
BBC bitesize also has a vast amount of information on its website which will also help with our Geography curriculum and there are also little quizzes which children love to do. For further information, you could visit the Bitesize website and search by topic: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/ztb42nb
There is also the National Geographic website that can help enhance geographical knowledge and enquiry. This site invests in innovative leaders in science, exploration, education and storytelling, in order to aid geographic and scientific understanding of our world. Please visit the following website for further information: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/