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Geography

Our intent through geography at Aylsham High School

Geography seeks to develop a sense of place and helps students make sense of their surroundings and to gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the variety of physical and human aspects of Earth and how these interact.

By the end of KS3, all students will have developed skills in map and graph interpretation, decision-making and fieldwork.  Furthermore, they will have an increasing and keen awareness of the world around us through the places and topics studied; including development and inequality, physical processes which shape our world, the importance of sustainability and the challenges our world faces as we look towards the future.  We are keen for our students to experience a broad spectrum of geography and to secure a solid knowledge basis of the subject. 

Geography is everywhere and all students at Aylsham High School have the opportunity to develop global awareness and appreciation of geography around them.

Our geography curriculum 

The curriculum at Aylsham High School covers the core elements of the geography national curriculum throughout KS3.   The aim of the curriculum is to give students the necessary skills to follow the subject at KS4.  In addition, the programme is designed to promote more independence in learning as students move through key stage 3.  The department has identified threshold concepts that each student should have knowledge and understanding of by the end of each year in KS3.   These are shown in the following document:

KS3 threshold concepts

KS3 geography

KS3 topics

Year 7:

Students study three specific ecosystems, a hot and a cold environment and the tropical rainforest.  A trip to Kew Gardens is offered to complement this unit in the Autumn term.  Weather is the next unit, featuring fieldwork in the school grounds and the summer term of year 7 focuses on the topical issue of climate change. In addition, there is a strong focus on map skills.  The overview document below identifies how the topics taught in year 7 link to geographical concepts and places.  In addition, it shows how each topic builds on prior geographical learning and what future learning it will lead to:

Overview of year 7

Year 8:

Students begin by studying international development, which incorporates a range of development issues including migration, globalization, rights to natural resources and economic activity in China.  A study of urban environments comes next, particularly focusing on population and settlement in India.  A decision-making trip to Gressenhall Rural Life Museum is run in the summer term, inviting students to consider arguments for and against a proposed housing development.  Physical geography forms the remainder of year 8, with studies into earthquakes, volcanoes, and coasts.  The overview document below identifies how the topics taught in year 8 link to geographical concepts and places.  In addition, it shows how each topic builds on prior geographical learning and what future learning it will lead to:

Overview of year 8

Year 9:

Students study rivers initially in year 9 before moving onto look at the concept of sustainability.  A study of current global challenges will broaden student's understanding of our world today.  Students may take part in fieldwork in Wroxham and on the River Glaven to support them with fieldwork skills.  Students will also spend time focusing on geographical skills, which are essential for GCSE geography.  The overview document below identifies how the topics taught in year 7 link to geographical concepts and places.  In addition, it shows how each topic builds on prior geographical learning and what future learning it will lead to:

Overview of year 9

Homework:

Three types of homework are set at KS3:

1. A main task referring to a topical aspect of units being studied in school.  This will require students to read a news article and then answer questions on a Google form.  The aim of this is to consolidate core knowledge from lessons and extend students knowledge and understanding of topics – it also allows them to see how what they are studying is relevant around the world today.   This homework is primarily available via google classroom, although paper copies are available for those requiring them.  

2. Two google quizzes are set per unit – one focuses on testing core knowledge whilst the other focuses on content from lessons (a further Google quiz is set as preparation for end of year exam).

3. Core knowledge revision set alongside each unit.  All students can easily access core knowledge to revise – this is via printed booklets issued at the start of the academic year, electronic copies on the school website (please see below) and via Google Classroom.  Core knowledge is also uploaded to Quizlet for students wishing to use it.  Testing of core knowledge is done in 3 ways; a) low stakes tests in lessons, b) google quizzes for homework and c) end of unit and year assessments

Homework support is offered in the format of a YouTube playlist which is shared at the start of the year.  

There are also extended reading opportunities for students who wish to pursue them.  These are issued at the start of the year in the core knowledge booklet.  Please see below for a link to the recommended wider reading for students in each year at KS3.

Core knowledge booklets:

Year 7 core knowledge booklet

Year 8 core knowledge booklet

Year 9 core knowledge booklet

Wider reading:

Year 7 wider reading list

 Year 8 wider reading list

Year 9 wider reading list

Assessment:

KS3 is assessed using end of topic assessments, which include core knowledge, interpreting sources (i.e. maps, graphs and photos) and a mixture of short and long answer questions.  There will also be an end of year exam, which covers the units studied during the year. 

Key Stage 4 geography

Students follow the AQA syllabus.  The specification can be found below:

AQA GCSE Specification   

The AQA GCSE in geography comprises of four units:

Living with the Physical Environment

This unit is concerned with the dynamic nature of physical processes and systems, and human interaction with them in a variety of places.  The unit is split into three parts:

Part 1: Natural hazards including tectonics, weather and climate change. 

Part 2: The living world including ecosystems, tropical rainforests and hot deserts. 

Part 3: Physical landscapes in the UK including coasts and rivers.

Challenges in the Human Environment

This unit is concerned with human processes, systems and outcomes and how these change.  They are studied in a variety of places at various levels of development.  The unit is split into 3 parts:

Part 1: Urban issues and challenges. 

Part 2: Changing economic world. 

Part 3: Challenge of resource management including food, water and energy.

Geographical Applications

This unit is designed to be synoptic in that students will be required to draw together knowledge, understanding and skills from the full course of study.  This unit is split into two parts: 

  • Part 1: Evaluation of geographical issues requiring students to problem-solve and think critically
  • Part 2: Fieldwork. Students will undertake two local geographical enquiries in contrasting environments to develop understanding of fieldwork skills and both physical and human geography

Geographical Skills

These are embedded across the course and including map(e.g. grid references, scale), graphical (e.g. drawing and interpreting different types of graph) and numeracy (e.g. calculating percentage change and data analysis) skills.

The course is linear and is studied on either a one-year or two year route.  100% of the course is assessed through three exams taken at the end of the course.  The course will offer fieldwork opportunities at the coast and in Aylsham to complement the course and prepare students for the exams.

Homework:

Three types of homework are set at KS4:

1. Homework booklets contain typical exam questions which students answer alongside the topics being taught in school.  These require students to apply knowledge and understanding for lessons.  There are also additional interleaving questions to support revision of units.   Copies of these can be found below.  

2. Up to 3 google quizzes are set per unit – one focuses on testing core knowledge while the others focus on content from lessons.

3. Core knowledge revision set alongside each unit.  All students can easily access core knowledge to revise – this is via printed booklets issued at the start of the academic year, electronic copies on the school website (please see below) and via Google Classroom.  Core knowledge is also uploaded to Quizlet for students wishing to use it.  Testing of core knowledge is done in 2 ways; a) low stakes tests in lessons and b) google quizzes for homework.  It is vital that students know the core knowledge and can apply it in exam answers.

Homework support is offered to students:

1. You tube playlist – specific videos linked to specific questions being posed in homework task (accessed via QR code in homework booklet or electronic link on google classroom)

2. Links to ‘coolgeography’ website for content

3. Opportunity to purchase a revision guide at start of course

4. All class material is uploaded to google classroom for students to access

Core knowledge booklets:

GCSE core knowledge paper 1

GCSE core knowledge paper 2

Homework booklets:

GCSE physical homework booklet

GCSE human homework booklet

What do geography lessons look like?

The department is staffed by 2 full-time geographers and 2 part-time geographers.  Regardless of teacher, students can expect certain elements to feature in their lessons: 

1) Lessons begin with a short review of previous learning

This includes retrieval activity starters.  At KS3 this mainly takes the form of photo interpretation, true and false tasks or quick questions related to prior content.  

At KS4 this takes the form of 'geoging your memory' tasks which review recent content as well as interleaving prior topics.  In addition low stakes testing occurs which is based on core knowledge.  

2) Material presented in small steps with student practice

Small steps; often reinforced with video clips are used to introduce new concepts with focus on core knowledge and use of correct geographical language.  The frequent low stakes testing aids the department with checking understanding and helps test out misconceptions. 

At KS3, gap fill activities and short tasks enable understanding to be checked. 

At KS4, the same booklets are used by all staff for homework and case study work - these provide opportunities for students to practice completing tasks based on acquired knowledge and / or answering typical exam questions.  

Extension activities are included where possible to extend student thinking at KS3 and KS4.  

Lessons across the department are consistent in terms of structure and tasks to reduce cognitive overload for students.  

3) Questioning

At KS3, resources are shared across the department which contain questions to be used with classes in delivery of content.  At KS4, common PowerPoint resources are used across the department alongside worksheets and / or booklets.  These approaches enable staff to ask questions of students to aid and develop understanding.  

4) Scaffolding 

Students are introduced to the TEA acronym for analysis of graphs from year 7 - this has been developed to ensure students are able to describe the Trend of a graph, provide Evidence and identify Anomalies consistently regardless of the data presented to them.  

To enable students to develop appropriate language to write at length, an Assessment Objective document has been created.  This is primarily used at KS4 but the department introduces language from it at KS3. 

A variety of additional support is provided to students to enable them to confidently write at length; this includes modelling of answers (both live with a class and pre-prepared), structure strips and sentence starters.  

5) Checking for student understanding

The department sets google quizzes as homework at both KS3 and KS4.  These help the department to understand where misconceptions have arisen and where understanding may be weaker. 

At KS4, homework tasks are reviewed in lessons with a combination of both self and teacher marking used.  Tasks completed within lesson time are not formally marked but are checked during teacher circulation in lessons.

In addition, the department runs more formal assessments including KS3 end of unit assessments and KS4 mock exams using past exam papers.  Knowledge organisers are used to review topics at KS4 and are being introduced more regularly at KS3.  

Social Media

Geography Quizlet http://quizlet.com/subject/geographyahs  

Twitter https://twitter.com/ahsgeography