Geography

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Curriculum Design

at West Didsbury CE Primary School


How learning is sequenced

Our curriculum is organised so children can always draw on prior knowledge whilst learning about increasingly complex ideas. We have a strong focus on positional and directional language in EYFS and our numerous local area studies in Reception and Key Stage 1 provide a solid foundation for the place knowledge and fieldwork skills required in Key Stage 2. 

In Years 3 & 4, children can apply their locational and place knowledge to new and more varied environments. Human and physical geography progresses into learning about land use, economic activity, changes to environments over time and the impact these have on local populations. Children travel further to carry out fieldwork – to the River Mersey and the city centre – trying more advanced fieldwork techniques and analysing data with more rigour. Children learn about deforestation and climate change and we instil a sense that they can have an impact and pursue meaningful action within and beyond school.

Our curriculum should have equipped children with solid foundations by this point and children should be ready to learn about a range of more complex phenomena across every continent. Through case studies of migration from Guatemala, the building and impact of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Three Gorges Dam and exacerbated coastal erosion in Sri Lanka, we emphasise the wider impacts of local changes and stress the interconnectivity of all of our key concepts (outlined below). In Upper Key Stage 2, fieldwork opportunities require children to use more advanced techniques and equipment and taking on the role of geographers in our work around Manchester City Council’s local development plan.

All of our objectives tie in to the same four Key Concepts - 'Locational Knowledge', 'Place Knowledge', 'Environmental, Human & Physical Geography' and 'Geographical Skills and Fieldwork'. These are revisited and built upon each year.

By continually contextualising learning within these concepts, our aim is to support our pupils in building increasingly strong schemas to support the organisation, linking and retrieval of knowledge. 


DT Diagram

Our Learning Journey in Geography

Below is an overview outlining the units children will study from Reception to Year 6. Topics in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 are designed to introduce children to key concepts, vocabulary and some skills that underpin the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

  Autumn Spring Summer
Reception

Humanities
Members of our community.
Comparing figures of the past.
Observing seasonal changes.

Geography
Hot & cold environments.
Observing seasonal changes

History
Transport past & present.
Picture maps of classroom.
Observing seasonal changes.
  Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
Year 1

Geography
West Didsbury
(+ weather & seasons)

History
Homes from the past
History
Toys & games from the past
Geography
The United Kingdom

(+ weather & seasons)
Geography
Our school & parks

(+ weather & seasons)
History
The Great Fire of London 
Year 2 Geography
How we can improve our school environment
History
The first people who took flight
Geography
Manchester & Nairobi: comparing & contrasting
Geography
UK seas & coasts 
History
Communication through time
History
Important Mancunians from the past
Year 3 Humanities
The Victorians, the Industrial Revolution & how Manchester has changed over time.
Humanities
The Victorians, the Industrial Revolution & how Manchester has changed over time
History
The Stone Age
Humanities
Comparing early civilisations
History
Ancient Egypt
Geography
Rainforests
Year 4 Geography
Mountains, Volcanoes & Earthquakes
Geography
Italy
History
The Romans
History
The Romans
History
Anglo Saxons
Geography
Manchester: City & Suburbs
Year 5 History
Vikings
Geography
Rivers & Coasts
History
Ancient Greece
Geography
Migration
Geography
The Americas
Geography
The Americas
Year 6 History
Early Islam
Geography
Spain
History
World War II
History
World War II
Geography
Biomes in a changing climate
Geography
How we can improve our local area

Each of these units come with knowledge organisers alongside them which can be found via the link below.

Fieldwork

“Fieldwork is knowledge in and of itself and is one element of the geography curriculum that particularly motivates and interests pupils." - C Komoto, ‘Moving toward a signature pedagogy in geography. A close reading of the landscape’

Fieldwork skills and opportunities are woven in to every year group's geography curriculum. Our fieldwork overview details the objectives, opportunities and techniques that are covered in each phase. Children are provided with purposeful fieldwork activities every year; each fieldwork activity clearly builds on what has come previously and fieldwork takes place across a wider area, and involves more complex techniques, as children progress through the curriculum.

Fieldwork begins in our school grounds, making observations of what is around us and representing this in simple sketch maps. This leads to more challenging observation techniques in Years 1 & 2, requiring children to make suggestions about how to improve our school grounds. We venture more in to our local area in Years 1 & 2 before travelling further in KS2 to the City Centre and the Rivers Mersey and Bollin. Each year, children will use increasingly complex tools and techniques as they acquire more in-depth data in fieldwork sessions. This is all detailed in our Progression in Fieldwork Skills document.  

'Thinking like a geographer'

Through many of our geography topics, we emphasise how interconnected certain concepts are. When shown rivers, weather patterns or volcanoes for example, we consider the impact of these not just on the physical environment but the people living locally and their response to these events. We then consider potential impacts from these phenomena across a wider context, for example in our Year 5 migration topic or in learning about climate zones.

Pupils are encouraged to ask questions such as ‘where is this place?’ and ‘why is it here and not there?’ and ‘how did it get like this?’ and ‘what is the impact of this?’ Our curriculum aims to provide children with the knowledge required to habitually ask these questions and, by providing children with an ever-strengthening schema, go some way to answering them. 

 

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