Crispin School

Geography

The Geography department is part of the wider Humanities faculty which works collaboratively to raise attainment and ensure learning is as effective as it can be in all lessons.  It aims to expand students understanding of the world in which they live which geography plays a significant part in.  In particular it aims to ‘Create compassionate global citizens’

We aim to:

  • To give our students knowledge of locations, places, processes, environments and different scales,
  • To develop students understanding of concepts, environments and processes and the inter relationships between places, environments and processes,
  • To develop student’s ability to apply knowledge and understanding to interpret, analyse and evaluate geographical information and make judgements,
  • To develop the geographical skills and techniques of students so that they can investigate questions and issues and investigate findings,
  • To develop the collaborative and autonomous learning skills to enable our students to become life-long learners so they are equipped with the skills they will need for the future. 

The geography department is always striving to reflect on our work and strive for the highest quality in our teaching.  For example it has been awarded the Secondary Geography Quality Mark by the Geographical Association who have commended the fact that we have developed a wide range of field work opportunities and have developed a curriculum containing a wide range of innovative strategies including practical work for the students.  They have said that we make effective use of local and topical examples and are not afraid to tackle complex issues.  The department has continued to build on these areas since the award.

Fieldwork is a vital part of what we do in Geography. For example in year 7 students carry out fieldwork in Street town centre.  There is also an optional residential rivers visit to Brecon in Wales.  In year 8 students go on a visit to Lulworth Cove where they study tourism and the coast. At GCSE there are fieldwork visits to Bristol and Lyme Regis where students carry out urban and coastal fieldwork respectively.

At Key Stage 3 students study a series of themes based on enquiry questions.  In year 7 the students start by asking ‘Where are we in the world?’ where they learn basic map skills which are then developed in other modules throughout Key Stage 3.

The KS3 course looks like this:

Year 7

Term 1 - Where are we in the world?

To develop a sense of place about the world in which they live, to know where Britain is in the world and knowledge of the main features that make up the British Isles in which we live. To develop the skills necessary to interpret maps at different scales.

At the start of the course students will be assessed in terms of a baseline test to assess their knowledge about maps and their key skills they have taken from the primary phase to help their teachers plan for the progression of the class into Key Stage 3. A map skills test will be used to ensure students can use the key skills taught.

During the term an extended learning project will be set to develop students' independence skills and understanding about the world in which they live, creating a wall display for different classrooms about the diversity of our world.

Term 2 and 3 - Is Africa all desert?

In this unit we discover the range of different ecosystems around the world making comparisons between our sense of place and that of others around the world. In particular we look at students perceptions of what Africa is like and look at the different places and ecosystems that make up this continent.  We will look at deserts in order to find out about how humans can interact with this kind of environment as well as looking at grassland, coral and rainforest environments.

Term 4 - Does development need to destroy the environment?

In this unit we take a brief look at development before exploring this in more detail in year 8.  We will explore how in its worst form it can cause significant harm to our natural environment and in its best it can help preserve the natural world. We will look at rainforests in particular here considering how interconnected we are with these far off ecosystems.

Term 5 - How does weather and climate affect our lives?

The spring term will have often brought a degree of excitement from students about the potential for severe weather and the impact this can have on their lives.  In order to build upon this we will study what makes up the UK’s weather and a tropical storm in another part of the world. The rational is that students understand weather events are much more extreme in equatorial regions.  When students look at climate change they will be able to consider how these events may change both at a national and global level.

Students will focus on working in teams to create a news report on a weather event which has effected the UK. There will be employability skills developed here such as leadership, teamwork and public speaking. 

The assessment will be a test with the aim that students develop their ability to recall knowledge. A focus on revision skills and recalling understanding and knowledge is important here.

Term 6 - How will climate change effect Street?

Students need to be able to independently carry out investigations and enquiry. The focus of the investigation will be about how Street is dealing with the climate change challenge. The emphasis will be on students coming up with their own questionnaires and gaining confidence in carrying out independent research. It is vital students understand the changes our planet is facing and what different groups of people can do to help deal with these challenges.

It is also important that students can enquire, develop people skills in asking questions, carrying out market research. These are skills for the future our learners will need.

Year 8 

Term 1 and 2 - Why are our coasts important? Is Lulworth Cove a honey pot site?

Students need to understand the processes that make up the unique landforms that are found on the UK’s coastline. Being an island, coasts are a vital part of the UK’s identity so understanding our coastal geography is an important area of study.

Students will be assessed with a short test to build up their knowledge and understanding of these landforms to ensure they understand them before they go to identify these in the field. 

Fieldwork is a vital part of geography, students need to be able to recognise landforms that make the South West of England an area of outstanding natural beauty. Students will therefore carry out field work in Lulworth Cove in term 1 where they will identify landforms and carry out an investigation into what extent Lulworth Cove is a honey pot site as a result of these landforms.

Term 3 - What is the best way to develop the world

In a time of uncertainty over the UKs place in the world over BREXIT we want students to gain an understanding of how developed the UK is and how this development has led to a change in the employment opportunities in our country. 

Students need to understand that we live in an unequal world, we want students to appreciate how lucky they are to have been born in the UK and to appreciate differences in development between different parts of the world.  It is important students consider the role they can play in helping aid development throughout the world through either the choices they make in their purchases through TNCs or the way they support charities and help with AID.  They should also look at how tourism can help and hinder a countries development.

Term 4 - Why are people moving around the world?

Population is a theme which has been a controversial issue in the UK.  We believe it is important that students understand the issues a rapidly rising population creates for the world.  We also believe students need to understand that different population structures for different countries create unique opportunities and challenges.

These are fundamental in understanding the arguments for and against migration in our country.  This is also an opportunity to look at how varied China is as a country and factors which have led to population control and migration within this hugely important nation.  Closer to home we will investigate what it is that causes people to make dangerous journeys around the world trying to reach the UK, exploring the stories behind the newspaper headlines which we regularly see in the news. We believe it is important for students to gain a balanced view of the issues surrounding migration.

Term 5 - A global citizenship enquiry

This term will focus upon students exploring the many issues of global concern that our planet faces, climate change, desertification, plastic pollution etc. Students will work upon developing a presentation on an issue that matters to them, this will not only develop their understanding about the issues facing our planet but will allow them to work on their oracy and presentation skills which are all vital to the world of work.

Term 6 - Is Russia Asian or European?

Russia is a major power in the world, it is a vast country with whom our relationship with has the potential to affect our lives in numerous ways. Students will carry out an investigation into the human and physical geography of this powers to gain a greater insight into how our world is both varied and complicated.  We will build upon the themes of the natural environment and climate change studies in year 7 and the human geography of population and development covered in year 8 to see how these concepts can be applied to this fascinating nation.

Year 9 

term 1 – How do volcanoes shape the earth

Volcanoes and earthquakes play a vital part in shaping the planet on which we live, they also help inspire an awe and wonder for the natural world with which we want to captivate our students with.

In order to understand how earthquakes and volcanoes work students need to understand the structure of the earth and the plate boundaries which this leads to before we focus on volcanoes, earthquakes will be the main focus of the GCSE course so to improve the variety of content we will focus on volcanoes in year 9.

In particular we will look at the recent eruptions of mount Nyragongo and how this impacts the lives of people living in the DR Congo. Students will be given the opportunity to use their understanding from previous years to plan and make decisions about the best ways to respond to an eruption.

term 2 – Why is Water such an issue in the Middle East?

Water resources are becoming an ever increasingly important aspect of the human and natural world. We will start by looking close to home and considering why water is such an important issue in the UK, building upon the population and climate work done in previous years.  We will use this to develop students geographical thinking by deciding whether a new reservoir should be built at Abingdon.

The Middle East is a vitally important region in terms of the shaping of our modern world. We will look at how water can be used sustainably and unsustainably in this region exploring the political situation in the area whilst doing so. Eventually we will use this to decide whether a water transfer project from the Red sea to the Dead sea is a good idea.

term 3 and 4 – GLACIERS AND MAPS

In year 7 students learnt a variety of mapping skills. This glaciation topic will give them an ideal opportunity to refresh these skills whilst beginning to gain an understanding about how the country in which they live has been formed. We will develop students understanding of how the natural world is formed through erosion, transportation and deposition encouraging them to make links with these concepts and the natural world they can see in front of them.

term 5 – How do rivers shape the land?

Rivers will be studied since living around a floodplain of the Somerset levels means that rivers have an important part to play in the lives of the students who go to Crispin.  Students need to understand the physical processes that shape the natural world around them. 

A river of the world project will help students develop a wider understanding of the world in which they live and develop awe and wonder about the natural and human world.

Extreme weather in the UK is also an ever increasing problem, students need to have an appreciation for why rivers flood and what can be done to stop the devastating floods which are happening more and more frequently across the UK.

Term 6 - How can we stop coastal erosion?

Building upon the theme of climate change, students will look back at the work they completed at the start of year 8 on coastal landforms.  They will have the opportunity to explore how a changing climate may impact these landforms and will begin to consider how the lives of people who live near the coast may be affected by coastal erosion. There will be problem solving activities where students will need to make decisions about the best ways to deal with coastal erosion.

GCSE years 10 and 11

At GCSE our students study the AQA GCSE syllabus. This incorporates 3 main units:

UNIT 1: LIVING WITH THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT

This unit will give students a sound understanding of important physical processes eg. geological processes, ecosystems, the atmosphere and climate and the hydrological cycle. Some of the highlights of the unit include studying:

  • The challenge of natural hazards - earthquakes and volcanoes, weather hazards such as hurricanes and climate change. We start the course by looking at plate tectonics and focus on the earthquakes that happened in Japan and Nepal. After this we look at weather hazards for example Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines. There is an in-depth look at climate change where students have to research in detail the effects of this and how we can mitigate and adapt to deal with these.
  • The living world - ecosystems such as tropical rainforests, where we study the Amazon rainforest in depth and Cold environments, this links to our field study visit to Iceland that the department runs.
  • Physical landscapes in the UK - coastal  and river landscapes.  We will study case studies of how the British landscape has been formed. 

The whole course requires students to develop an in-depth knowledge of case studies which the students need to be able to apply to the questions that will be put to them in the terminal exam.

Whilst this unit is covered in Year 10. We will take a spiral learning approach to delivering the course where we will cover some of the basics towards the end of year 9 so that students have the chance to process their new knowledge being taken in during year 10. 

UNIT 2: CHALLENGES IN THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT

This unit focuses on human geography. In a similar way to Unit 1, it links together to build an overall understanding of human geography. Students study how populations grow and change, where people live and work, and how they exploit and use resources. This will be covered in Years 10 and 11.

Highlights include:

Urban issues and challenges - growth of cities around the world. We look at the growth of Rio in Brazil and the impact of this on people and its environment.  Closer to home we study Bristol in detail.

  • The changing economic world. We study the development gap to analyse why some countries are richer than others and look at the consequences and potential solutions to this. We study a newly emerging economy in depth, looking at why Nigeria has changed and comparing this to the changes that have taken place in the UK's economy.
  • The challenge of resource management. We look at how water is provided in the UK and abroad.

UNIT 3: GEOGRAPHICAL APPLICATIONS

In this unit students draw together knowledge, skills and understanding from the full course of study. They evaluate issues showing the ability to think critically and problem solve. A resource booklet will be available 12 weeks before the exam to allow students to interpret graphs, diagrams, statistics, photographs, satellite images etc before answering questions on them in the exam. There is also a fieldwork element where students need to have undertaken two geographical enquiries outside of the classroom. Visits take place to Bristol and Lyme Regis where students develop their fieldwork skills.

Last Updated: July 2021

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