Geography – Intent, Implementation, and Impact
At Sunnyside Primary Academy we aim to inspire pupils to become curious and explorative thinkers with a diverse knowledge of the world; in other words, to think like a geographer. We want pupils to develop the confidence to question and observe places, measure, and record necessary data in various ways, and analyze and present their findings. Through our scheme of work, we aim to build an awareness of how Geography shapes our lives at multiple scales and over time. We hope to encourage pupils to become resourceful, active citizens who will have the skills to contribute to and improve the world around them.
Our unit of work encourages:
- A strong focus on developing both geographical skills and knowledge.
- Critical thinking, with the ability to ask perceptive questions and explain and analyze evidence.
- The development of fieldwork skills across each year group.
- A deep interest and knowledge of pupils’ locality and how it differs from other areas of the world.
- A growing understanding of geographical concepts, terms, and vocabulary.
We enable pupils to meet the end of key stage attainment targets in the National curriculum. The aims also align with those in the National curriculum. For EYFS, the activities allow pupils to work towards the ‘Understanding the world’ Development matters statements and Early learning goals, while also covering foundational knowledge that will support them in their further geography learning in Key stage 1. This is driven through our four curriculum pillars.
Striving for Excellence:
In our primary Geography curriculum, we instill a commitment to excellence by nurturing a curiosity about the world and a passion for understanding its intricate processes. We believe that striving for excellence in Geography means going beyond just memorizing facts and maps; it's about developing critical thinking skills, spatial awareness, and a global perspective. Through hands-on investigations, map reading, and exploring diverse geographical phenomena, our pupils learn to ask questions, make connections, and solve real-world problems. We encourage them to become responsible global citizens who are not only knowledgeable about our planet but are also inspired to protect and sustain its natural and cultural environments.
In our primary Geography curriculum, we place a strong emphasis on developing a robust vocabulary that enables our pupils to navigate and communicate effectively about the complex world around them. Geography is not just about maps; it's a language that helps us understand our planet's diverse landscapes, cultures, and interconnected systems. Through engaging lessons, discussions, and hands-on activities, our pupils build a comprehensive geographical vocabulary, allowing them to describe physical features, climate patterns, human interactions, and global phenomena with precision. This linguistic proficiency enhances their ability to explore, analyze, and appreciate the intricacies of our world while preparing them to be informed global citizens who can engage in meaningful conversations about the ever-changing geographic landscape.
In our primary Geography curriculum, we believe in building a sense of community by fostering a shared curiosity about the world. Geography is about exploring the interconnectedness of our planet and understanding how we all play a part in it. Through collaboration, group discussions, and interactive learning experiences, our pupils work together to uncover geographical wonders and challenges. They learn to appreciate diverse perspectives, respecting the cultural, environmental, and social differences that shape our world. By building this sense of community, we aim to create a space where pupils can explore, learn, and grow together, understanding that geography is not just a subject but a means to connect with the global community and become responsible stewards of our planet.
Expanding Cultural Experiences:
In our primary Geography curriculum, we are committed to expanding our pupils' cultural experiences by introducing them to the diverse tapestry of human societies and environments around the world. Geography provides a lens through which pupils can explore different cultures, customs, and landscapes. Through the study of maps, regions, and case studies, our pupils gain insights into how geography shapes societies and vice versa. We encourage them to appreciate the beauty of our planet's diversity, fostering cultural awareness and respect for different ways of life. By expanding cultural experiences within our Geography curriculum, we aim to cultivate globally minded individuals who understand the interconnectedness of our world and are equipped to address global challenges with empathy and insight.
The National curriculum organises the geography attainment targets under four subheadings or strands:
• Locational knowledge
• Place knowledge
• Human and physical geography
• Geographical skills and fieldwork
Our unit of work, based on Kapow, has a clear progression of skills and knowledge within these four strands across each phase. Our Progression of skills and knowledge shows the skills taught within each year group and how these develop to ensure that attainment targets are securely met by the end of each key stage. Geographical key concepts are woven across all units rather than being taught discretely as seen in the Progression of key geographical concepts.
Our national curriculum coverage document shows which of our units cover each of the National curriculum attainment targets as well as each of the four strands in Key stage 1 and 2. The document also reflects which Development matters statements and Early learning goals are met in each activity within the EYFS units.
Our units are a spiral curriculum, with essential knowledge and skills revisited with increasing complexity, allowing pupils to revise and build on their previous learning. Locational knowledge will be reviewed in each unit to coincide with our belief that this will consolidate children’s understanding of key concepts, such as scale and place, in Geography. The EYFS units provide a solid foundation of geographical skills, knowledge, and enquiry for children to transition successfully onto Key stage 1 Geography learning, whilst also working towards the Development matters statements and Early Learning Goals. These units consist of a mixture of adult-led and child-initiated activities which can be selected by the teacher to fit in with Reception class themes or topics.
Cross-curricular links are included throughout each unit, allowing children to make connections and apply their Geography skills to other areas of learning. Our enquiry questions form the basis for our key stage 1 and 2 units, meaning that pupils gain a solid understanding of geographical knowledge and skills by applying them to answer enquiry questions. We have designed these questions to be open-ended with no preconceived answers and therefore they are genuinely purposeful and engage pupils in generating a real change. In attempting to answer them, children learn how to collect, interpret, and represent data using geographical methodologies and make informed decisions by applying their geographical knowledge.
Each unit contains elements of geographical skills and fieldwork to ensure that fieldwork skills are practised as often as possible. Our Geography units follow an enquiry cycle that maps out the fieldwork process of question, observe, measure, record, and present, to reflect the elements mentioned in the National curriculum. This ensures children will learn how to decide on an area of enquiry, plan to measure data using a range of methods, capture the data and present it to a range of appropriate stakeholders in various formats. Fieldwork includes smaller opportunities on the school grounds to larger-scale visits to investigate physical and human features. Developing fieldwork skills within the school environment and revisiting them in multiple units enables pupils to consolidate their understanding of various methods. It also gives children the confidence to evaluate methodologies without always having to leave the school grounds and do so within the confines of a familiar place. This makes fieldwork regular and accessible while giving children a thorough understanding of their locality, providing a solid foundation when comparing it with other places. Lessons incorporate various teaching strategies from independent tasks to paired and group work, including practical hands-on, computer-based, and collaborative tasks. This variety means that lessons are engaging and appeal to those with a variety of learning styles.
Knowledge organisers for each unit support pupils in building a foundation of factual knowledge by encouraging recall of key facts and vocabulary.
An enquiry-based approach to learning will allow teachers to assess children against the National curriculum expectations for Geography. The impact of our teaching can be constantly monitored through both formative and summative assessment opportunities.
Opportunities for children to present their findings using their geographical skills will also form part of the assessment process in each unit. Pupils should leave school equipped with a range of skills and knowledge to enable them to study Geography with confidence at Key stage 3. We hope to shape children into curious and inspired geographers with respect and appreciation for the world around them alongside an understanding of the interconnection between the human and the physical.
The expected impact is that children will:
- Compare and contrast human and physical features to describe and understand similarities and differences between various places in the UK, Europe, and the Americas.
- Name, locate and understand where and why the physical elements of our world are located and how they interact, including processes over time relating to climate, biomes, natural disasters, and the water cycle.
- Understand how humans use the land for economic and trading purposes, including how the distribution of natural resources has shaped this.
- Develop an appreciation for how humans are impacted by and have evolved around the physical geography surrounding them and how humans have had an impact on the environment, both positive and negative.
- Develop a sense of location and place around the UK and some areas of the wider world using the eight-points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and keys on maps, globes, atlases, aerial photographs, and digital mapping.
- Identify and understand how various elements of our globe create positioning, including latitude, longitude, the hemispheres, the tropics and how time zones work, including night and day.
- Present and answer their own geographical enquiries using planned and specifically chosen methodologies, collected data and digital technologies.
- Meet the ‘Understanding the World’ Early Learning Goals at the end of EYFS, and the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National curriculum for Geography by the end of Year 2 and Year 6.