At Leamington Community Primary School we aim to teach Geography in a fun, engaging and immersive way. Our Geography curriculum stimulates a sense of wonder and promotes curiosity about the world around us and aims to inspire children to become Geographers!
We teach the children a knowledge about diverse people, places, resources and natural and human environments as well as the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Throughout our Geography curriculum, the children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. Children also learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving.
Bringing Geography alive is important to us at Leamington Community Primary School! Our focus is on providing enrichment opportunities therefore we make it a priority to provide every year group with the opportunity to take part in fieldwork experiences outside of our school grounds. For example Year 2 take a trip into Liverpool city centre to investigate places to visit which provides our pupils with the opportunity to use their knowledge, understanding and skills to interpret OS maps, make simple comparisons and use Geographical vocabulary.
To ensure we are providing the children with the best possible experience while they are at Leamington, we use the National Curriculum as a starting point and design a bespoke, engaging Geography curriculum that teaches children Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills with the aim to empower children to take on the role of Geographers.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculum under the guidance of our subject leader. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different topics will be taught across the academic year. Our themes and topics begin with and enquiry question and are progressive throughout the whole school Geography curriculum. For example Year 1 study our school and local area with a focus on investigating how we can improve our local area, Year 2 study the Liverpool city centre and use OS maps to plan a visit for a tourist, Year 3 investigate land use on Norris Green, Year 4 study settlements across Merseyside, while Year 5 investigate the topographical maps of the UK.
At Leamington we aim to design every lesson to be memorable and immersive and believe the best way of teaching children are through experiences. For example, recently, the whole school took part in rapping workshops which focused on environmental issues such as:
- Single use plastics in the oceans,
- Reduce / Reuse / Recycle,
- Litter Picking,
- Flowers and trees for oxygen and bees
- Walking / cycling and public transport
The children were inspired by these our visiting rapper who worked with them to create a freestyle rap about and environmental issue before the children performed theirs to each class.
Our Geography lessons are often linked to our literary texts which enables us to create fully immersive lessons in which children learn about a cultures, features of a location, the impact of an event on a place or person, all whilst learning within a classroom that has been transformed into another location.
For example in Year 5 when the children are studying ‘Why should rainforests be important to us all? They also study the text Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson and the classroom is physically transformed into a rainforest. The staff will also regularly teach in role as a person from a different culture, which enables the children to learn about other cultures, lifestyles, place knowledge and learn about the impact of events on people. These immersive experiences are valuable in providing children with the opportunity to use their Geography knowledge, understanding and skills throughout the curriculum and within unfamiliar contexts therefore developing children’s appreciation of life in other cultures.
At Leamington, we also promote children’s use of Geographical vocabulary and focus on ensuring children enjoy learning and using Geographical vocabulary within every topic. Every classroom displays a glossary with key vocabulary and definitions while the pupils from Y2- Y6 also create their own glossary in the back of their Geography books. It is an expectation that vocabulary games are planned throughout the Geography curriculum at Leamington in order to build on our pupil’s bank of Geographical vocabulary. We use games to consolidate prior learning as well as engage children in new learning.
At Leamington we understanding that fieldwork is integral to Geography teaching and we include as many opportunities as we can to involve children in practical geographical research and enquiry. Throughout the whole school, our pupils complete at least one fieldwork experience each year. We ensure our fieldwork provides opportunities for our pupils to consolidate their knowledge and understanding and provide opportunities for our pupils’ to use their Geographical skills. Our staff plan our fieldwork opportunities to include 3 phases:
- The planning phase- This includes activities such as locating the destination of their fieldwork trip on maps, mapping their route for their fieldwork and completing health and safety assessments.
2. The fieldwork experience- The teachers then carry out investigations and observational tasks during the fieldwork experience using appropriate equipment including maps, compasses and measuring equipment.
3. The reflection phase- this is completed back in the classroom. Here children will complete activities that reflect their fieldwork experience, which may include presenting data collected, annotating photographs taken by the pupils on the experiences or creating information texts and presentations.We ensure children complete a wide variety of fieldwork experiences as evident below. Our pupils’ explore their local area, suburb and Liverpool City Centre before KS2 begin to extend this to follow the route of the River Alt across Liverpool and hiking Moel Famau. We also offer the opportunity to take part in a residential visits to PGL, where fieldwork is carried out in relation to the topic of the term.
We also focus on providing opportunities to use our Geographical knowledge within unfamiliar contexts. For example when Year 4 design a pavilion for our local park within their Design and Technology topic, they use their previous Geography knowledge and skills to choose a suitable location for their design. They plan their visit using the Digimap programme and when at the location they identify human and physical features which may affect their design, sketch potential land/ space to use and annotate OS maps of the area before designing their pavilion.
At Leamington Community Primary School we use both formative and summative assessment information throughout our Geography curriculum. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and this enables the staff to provide the best possible support to cater to special educational needs and opportunities to provide challenge for our more able children.
The teachers use our Knowledge, Understanding and Skills assessment sheets to identify children as ‘Working towards’, ‘Expected’ or ‘Greater Depth’ in each individual Geographical skill. This provides the staff with the opportunity to identify areas to support and when opportunities to excel are needed to meet the needs of our children.
The children are also assessed at the end of each topic through a Reflection Task. This provides an opportunity our pupils to showcase their knowledge and understanding and use their Geographical skills. The tasks are planned in a variety of formats throughout the whole school so that children can present their learning in a variety of contexts. For example one of Year 6 reflection tasks is to make a Geographical board game based on questions about WW2 Geography, while Year 4 draw a map of a settlement they created using OS symbols and co-ordinates and Year 5 write an information text about South Africa.
Assessment is collected frequently and analysed by the subject leader throughout the school year. Monitoring of the Geography curriculum includes, learning walks, book scrutinies, pupil voice interviews and staff questionnaires. This enables the subject leaders to triangulate between outcomes in books, pupils knowledge and data as well as provide the staff with a voice to identify their confidence teaching the subject, strengths and possible areas for support. All this information is gathered and reviewed and informs further planning. For example after moderating Geography in 2019, the need for training in fieldwork was identified, therefore the curriculum lead planned a training session with Enrich Education which upskilled the staff therefore increased staff confidence and increases the school’s fieldwork resources.
We believe that our Geography curriculum provides our children with engaging, memorable and exciting opportunities to explore the world around us. We work hard as a staff to provide the best Geography curriculum for our pupils, which is reflected in our pupil voice interviews, the children’s knowledge and progress in this area.
We like to use games and interactive resources to teach our children about the world and key geographical issues. Below are some links to websites with geographical games or websites to help children research and explore the world around them.