Charles Darwin Community Primary School
After 7 years of studying Geography at Charles Darwin pupils will:
- Develop a curiosity and interest to explore the world that we live in and its people
- Gain an excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like, both in Britain and the wider world
- Be equipped with geographical skills to develop their knowledge through studying places, people and natural and human environments including graphic skills to use, draw and interpret maps
- Have developed fieldwork and enquiry skills and be able to discover answers to their own questions through exploration and research to enable them to gain a greater understanding and knowledge of the world and their place in it
What this looks like at Charles Darwin
At Charles Darwin Geography is approached through a topic or theme where a full range of geographical skills can be applied across a year. We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons. We believe in whole-class teaching methods and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use ICT in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Children take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. in Key Stage 2 we have worked in partnerships with Grozone staff on Environment Agency projects, such as Yellow Fish and Love My River and in Key Stage 1 children have geographical activities at Marshall’s Arm and in Delamere Forest.
We teach Geography in Reception as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year through child-initiated and adult led activities. The children learn about seasons, the weather, features in the local area and the buildings that surround them. They may be shown photographs of the local area to help them identify features or experience a visit to a local place such as the Post Office. They will also be encouraged to record their findings, perhaps through drawing, writing, and modelling for example making Messy Maps of their journey.
During KS1 pupils investigate their local area by carrying out geographical enquiry activities inside and outside the classroom with local visits to Verdin Park, Marshall’s Arm, Marbury Park and Delamere Forest. They also begin to learn about the wider world and focus on a contrasting area in a non-European country, finding out about the environment and the people who live there and identifying hot and cold climates and naming the 7 continents and 5 oceans of the world. In doing this they ask geographical questions about people, places and environments and ask geographical questions, and use geographical skills and resources such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs, and ICT.
During KS2 pupils investigate a variety of people, places and environments in the UK and abroad, and start to make links between different places in the world. They find out how people affect the environment and how they are affected by it. In doing this children will continue to develop geographical skills and fieldwork skills by carrying out geographical enquiry both inside and outside the classroom. They will ask geographical questions and use geographical skills and resources such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs and ICT through the three areas of study – human, physical and locational knowledge, where they learn to use maps, atlases and globes and digital/computer mapping; eight-point compass directions; four and six-figure grid references, symbols and keys and the Ordnance Survey maps. They will also use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies. Opportunities are provided throughout the year to engage the children in fieldwork and “real life” geographical activities such as partnerships with Grozone staff on Environment Agency projects such as Yellow Fish and Love My River, as well as working with the Royal Society of Chemistry on the River Guardians project.
Each year group (1-6) uses similar methods of delivery to develop curiosity and inspire and motivate children to explore the world that we live in and its people. These include:
- Engage children with the geography curriculum in a practical way, with a focus on geographical skills. Children make and use maps, including those found in atlases and Ordnance Survey maps as well as enhance their learning through ICT using Digimap, Google Earth and Oddizzi.
- Participate in events such as “Year 1 take over Marbury Park” and orienteering.
- Develop children’s awareness of their surroundings and their place in the wider community with visits to Marshall’s Arm, Verdin Park and Delamere Forest, Love My River Project.
- Engage children with our local environment week involving our annual whole school litter pick.
Making Geography accessible to all
At Charles Darwin we teach geography to all children, whatever their ability and individual needs. Geography implements the school curriculum policy of providing a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our geography teaching we provide learning opportunities that match the needs of children with learning difficulties. We endeavour to meet the needs of those pupils with special educational needs, those with disabilities, those with special gifts and talents, and those learning English as an additional language, and we take all reasonable steps to achieve this. Where children are to participate in activities outside the classroom, such as local area visits, we carry out a risk assessment prior to the activity, to ensure that the activity is safe and appropriate for all pupils.
Whole School Initiatives
At Charles Darwin, we engage in at least one whole-school geography project per year. These include a Geography Day or Geography Week such as Around Europe Week where cross-curricular links have been made resulting in either writing, drama/dance or art work. More recent projects include links formed with local museums such as The Anderton Boat Lift and The Lion Salt Works.
Geography makes a significant contribution to the teaching of English in our school because it actively promotes the skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We ensure that some of the topics each year group covers are geographical in nature.
Geography in our school contributes to the teaching of mathematics in a variety of ways. We teach the children how to represent objects with maps. The children study space, scale and distance and they learn how to use four- and six-figure grid references. They also use graphs to explore, analyse and illustrate a variety of data.
We make provision for the children to use the computer in geography lessons where appropriate. Children use ICT in geography to enhance their skills in data handling and in presenting written work. They research information through the Internet. We also offer children the opportunity to use the digital camera to record and use photographic images.
Geography contributes significantly to the teaching of personal, social and health education. The children study the way people re-cycle material and how environments are changed for better or for worse. Children have the opportunity to take part in debates and discussions. We help children to develop their knowledge and understanding of different cultures so that they learn to avoid stereotyping other people and acquire a positive attitude towards others. We help contribute to the children’s social development by teaching them about how society works to resolve difficult issues of economic development. Geography contributes to the children’s appreciation of what is right and wrong by raising many moral questions during the programme of study.
Assessment and Recording
Children demonstrate their ability in geography in a variety of different ways. At Charles Darwin School assessment is an integral part of the teaching process. Assessment is used to inform planning and to facilitate differentiation. The assessment of children’s work is on-going to ensure that understanding is being achieved and that progress is being made. Feedback is given to the children as soon as possible and marking work will be guided by the school’s Marking Policy.
Monitoring will take place in the form of termly scrutiny of 3 of the following areas:
- sampling a range of children’s work (of varying ability) in books or on display
- teacher planning
- learning walks when Geography is taking place
- pupil voice
Roles and Responsibilities
The subject is led by C Holden (KS1) and M Solan (KS2) and each year time is set aside to review standards and monitor curriculum provision and ensure training and resources are up to date.
We have atlases suitable for each key stage and interactive boards to access the internet as a class. The school subscribes to the Geographical Association website, Digimap and Oddizzi to support teacher’s planning and delivery of lessons and to provide an interactive experience for the children. Visits are planned to enhance learning and give hands on activities. People with an interest, or expertise, in a particular topic or area of Geography could be invited into school to work with the children for example the Woodland Trust, the Royal Society of Chemistry on the River Guardians project, and Grozone.
From Reception to Y6 Charles Darwin enjoy developing the skills, knowledge and vocabulary associated with the physical environment and the impact of humans upon our world. As children progress throughout the school, they develop a deep knowledge, understanding an appreciation of their local area and its place within the wider geographical context. Whole school geography projects are held at least once per year such as the local environment week which provides plentiful learning opportunities linked to our local community. Charles Darwin children particularly enjoy making use of our local area visiting sites such as Marshall’s Arm Nature Reserve and Marbury Park where they put their theoretical knowledge into practice.