In our ever-changing world, the ability to understand the processes and events happening around us is a useful skill to possess. Geography enables students to make sense of how our planet affects us but also the positive and negative impacts that we have on it in return. With elements of both the arts and the sciences, Geography is a subject which most students enjoy and many of the key themes are constantly in the news. In a time of climate change, fights for natural resources and the challenges around developing renewable energy, Geography has never been so relevant nor had such an important part to play in enabling the next generation to cope with these pressures.
Our KS3 curriculum is designed to give students an insight into the core knowledge and skills required to succeed in Geography whilst featuring both human and physical Geography elements. Students will study units about local geography and UK Geography, followed by units called ‘Global People’, ‘Amazing Africa, ‘Ecosystems’, ‘Weather and Climate’ and ‘Natural Hazards Facing our Planet.’ As part of these units, students will undertake a mixture of individual, paired and group work tasks and include activities such as debates, modelling, GIS and group presentations. Students will undertake 3 investigations or pieces of fieldwork in years 7 and 8.
At Ada Lovelace we follow the Edexcel A Specification. Students will study rivers, coasts, the geography of the UK, ecosystems, changing cities, and global development, as well as undertaking two pieces of fieldwork. There are three examinations, one covering the Physical Geography topics, another covering the Human Geography topics and a third which covers the fieldwork and investigation aspects of the course.
Students are formally assessed throughout the year. Typically students will complete one piece of assessed homework during the unit and one exam at the end of each unit. Assessed homework may take the form of an essay, newspaper report or presentation. A grade, a praise comment and a focused target will be provided by the teacher and will be recorded on a progress tracker in students’ books, so they are always clear about their next steps for improvement.
Lesson Prep and Homework
All KS3 geographers are given their own prep booklet. Tasks are set every lesson and will take no longer than 15 minutes. Tasks include reading newspaper articles, learning key words to support literacy or planning and essay question. Prep is a vital instrument in improving time management skills and getting students to engage with events happening in the world around them. Homework is a longer piece of work that should take students an hour to complete—there is one homework per unit. Pieces of work are marked using a mixture of formal assessment, peer, self and teacher feedback.
The Geography Films & Documentaries extended elective runs on Wednesday lunchtimes, showing geography-related films and documentaries before discussing the issues raised. The Geography department runs a number of trips to allow students to experience ‘Geography in Action’ including a trip to Kew Gardens as well as trips to support their fieldwork study.