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Geography

“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future” - Michael Palin

Subject Leader: Ruth Burkinshaw

Link Governor: Claire Caldwell

Geography is key in helping children to make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It is about how the world is formed and how it is changing. Following our school aim of ‘becoming the people God made us to be’, we seek to help children to think about their place in the world. We want them to understand their responsibility to people and the environment whilst at the same time developing a sense of awe and wonder at the world which God has made for us to live in. 
At Christ Church, our Geography topics cover both physical and human Geography. Over recent years, we have also sought to introduce children to the challenges of environmental geography and the responsibility that we all have to protect our planet. 

At Christ Church, children learn

  • The processes that shape the Earth's surface (physical geography)
  • How human activity affects or is influenced by the Earth's surface (human geography)  
  • How people can harm or protect the environment (environmental geography)

A child who excels at Geography is someone who explores both the physical properties of Earth’s surface and the human societies spread across it. They also examine how human culture interacts with the natural environment and the way that locations and places can have an impact on people. At Christ Church, our Geography curriculum seeks to foster this natural questioning and discovery in our children. It aims to give them a solid understanding and enjoyment that will set them up, not just for secondary school but for life. 

Teachers use our progression of skills to assess progress. This is supported through regular work scrutiny and pupil voice.  

We have devised a Geography curriculum that ensures children are building upon their knowledge and skill set each year. As the children progress through the school, teachers recap prior learning, while introducing new geographical knowledge and skills as they move through the key stages.

What Children Learn

We help children develop awe and enthusiasm for the world around them. We teach them to become informed individuals, able to make educated decisions during their time in school and beyond. It is important for children to learn to respect people and the planet and how our decisions can impact both.

We teach children geographical skills, including how to collect and analyse data that they have gathered through fieldwork, how to use maps to locate and identify key features, how to create simple maps and how to develop their observational skills. In the summer term, both the infant and junior sites hold a whole school orienteering morning where children and staff can have fun while further developing their geographical skills for life!    

Geography is taught by the class teacher and is designed to be accessible to all children. In each of our lessons, our teachers have thought carefully about the way that children can be supported so that every learner can achieve the objective for that lesson. We design activities that engage and challenge children.

Location knowledge is foundational in Geography. As Tom Felton said ‘I like Geography, I like to know where places are.’ We too, like to know where places are and children enthusiastically take part in a termly competition at KS2 to name and locate the countries of the world.  

Nursery

In the Nursery, the children are using their observational skills to explore plants, animals and other natural objects found within their local environment. The children will explore the signs of different seasons and what clothes would be suitable for each. As the year goes by the children will explore a range of differing festivals some of which they may celebrate and some which may be celebrated by their peers. 

Reception

In Reception, the children will also use their observation skills to explore the signs of different seasons but will link these with weather patterns. The children will take a close look at their local area including looking at old photographs of New Malden and using these to see how it has changed over time and exploring ways they can help their local community. As the year progresses, the children will explore the planet and the different countries that make up Earth. 

Year 1

  • Seasons and daily weather patterns in the UK (All Year) We use our observational skills to identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in New Malden and the rest of the UK.
  • Our school environment (Summer 1) Children are taught simple fieldwork, map and observation skills to study the geography of our classroom, school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of New Malden. 
  • The four countries of the UK (Summer 2) In the summer, children learn about the UK. They learn the name and locations of the four countries of the UK and their capital cities.  They think about the characteristics of each country and also identify the countries that neighbour the UK.

Year 2

  • Continents and oceans (Autumn 2) Children learn the names and location of the world's seven continents and five oceans. They locate the warmer and colder areas of the world in relation to the Equator and North and South Poles.
  • Comparing and contrasting a UK location with one in another non-European country (Spring 2) We explore the similarities and differences between the human and physical features of London, England and Beijing, China. Our aim is to help children to draw comparisons in life and schooling. We also explore farming in Devon, UK and Yunan province, China.
  • Map It Out! (Summer 2) We end Key Stage 1 geography, reviewing and building on the knowledge and skills we have learnt so far. We consider the location of countries of the world and of the UK and compare them through the lens of our personal experiences. We then pull together all of our Key Stage 1 mapping skills in a fieldwork study creating maps of our school and of the local area and measuring the distance between the two school sites, ready to pass this information on to new teachers. 

Year 3

  • Mountains (Autumn 1) We start the year reviewing our knowledge of continents and oceans, before using an atlas to identify the location of different mountain ranges.  The children develop their understanding of contours as well as researching the ways mountains are made and the weather on a mountain. We consider the impact of tourism on mountains from an environmental perspective. Our topic links to our DT topic in which we adapt clothing to help us survive in a mountain environment. 
  • Under the sea (Summer 1) In this topic, we start by recapping our map skills, reviewing the location of the 5 major oceans, before focusing on the countries and oceans of Europe. After this, we focus on how we as humans use the sea, making predictions and conclusions from data. We then explore the impact that humans have on the sea, before finishing by learning about the water cycle and becoming familiar with the vocabulary related to this. Cross curricular links include the study of ‘Under the sea’, a wordless book for English and the making of an under the sea fact file and poem. In Art, we design and create clay sculptures of sea creatures that have sparked our interest. 
  • Rivers and the water cycle (Summer 2) We start this topic by using maps and atlases to locate the major rivers in the world, Europe and the UK, before identifying the main physical features of a river, such as waterfalls and meanders. After that, we focus on case studies of flooding in Boscastle and Bangladesh, before finishing by learning how we use rivers today, and how our use of rivers has changed over time. Linking to this topic, we visit a local river where we will explore the features and wildlife of a river, and in our English lessons, we will be writing a brochure advertising this local river as a tourist attraction. 

Year 4

  • Countries in Europe (Autumn 1) In Year 4, children start the year reviewing the continents and oceans of the world. We then narrow our focus to Europe, learning country names and locations. We compare the physical and cultural features of countries in northern and southern Europe, exploring what influences these cultures. 
  • Distribution of natural resources, food and water and map work (Autumn 2) During this module, children explore how the natural distribution of water affects communities. We consider why certain foods grow in different places and how natural resources impact a country’s wealth. We learn how to use 4 figure grid references to show locations and how to write these as coordinates. 
  • Earthquakes and volcanoes (Spring 2) Children are naturally drawn to the wonders of creation - none less than volcanoes and their working. We discover the layers of the Earth and how plate tectonics influence the formation of earthquakes and volcanoes. We learn how humans have had to adapt to live in areas with active volcanoes or frequent earthquakes. We compare the impact of earthquakes in MEDC (more economically developed countries) and in LEDC (less economically developed countries).
  • Iceland, Texas and the UK (Summer 2) We explore these regions of the world looking at their physical features and consider how these have influenced the cultures that have developed including farming and jobs. The children use geographical sources in their own research about these locations. This unit also includes field work in and around New Malden and Central London considering why some areas are busier than others. 

Year 5

  • Features of the globe and climate zones (Autumn 2) We start Year 5 revisiting features of the globe and developing the children’s knowledge of the lines of latitude and longitude. We then learn about different time zones and their significance. Building on this knowledge, children locate and investigate the climate zones across the world, identifying the features of different regions. They understand the difference between weather and climate and consider the significance of the Gulf Stream.  Children develop their own project identifying key human and physical features of a climate zone of their choice. 
  • Trade (Spring 1) We explore the distribution of natural resources and consider how these are linked to the climate zones and how they influence a country’s ability to trade. We deepen a geographical questioning as we explore why some countries get richer while others and poorer. We use the language of export and import, renewable and non-reviewable resources. Our case study focuses on El Salvador. 
  • Advocates in our Local Community (Summer 2) In this unit, we turn the lens close to home bringing together the geographical enquiry and skills that we have learned so far and developing these further in a very practical way. We start the unit, making links with RE and mapping out local places of worship in our community so that we can direct others to them. We then use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present information about waste and recycling in our school and how we can work to grow awareness and improve the current situation. 

Year 6

  • British Geography (Autumn 2) We build on what children learnt in Year 1 and name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics. We look at key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers) and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.
  • Biomes and Vegetation Belts (Spring 2) We learn about the five types of biome, understanding the biome in which we live and how that affects the environment around us. We think about how life is different in each of the five types of biome. We then look at the impact of climate change on the UK and around the world.   
  • Land Use (Summer 1) In the summer term, children learn about different land uses in the UK. They compare different settlements and think about why people will choose to live in one over another. Children plan and carry out their own fieldwork exercise, analyse their results and then communicate it to an audience.