“So many of the World’s current problems boil down to geography, and need the geographers of the future to help us understand them”
– Michael Palin
The geography department aims to develop student’s curiosity and to help them make sense of the world around them. They will find their place as global citizens by studying the big questions that face us in the 21st century and by understanding and making decisions about global issues. Student-centred learning is designed to challenge and engage pupils and make learning in geography fun.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3 we aim to develop student’s appreciation of the awe and wonder of the world around them and to help them make sense of it through investigation. Students are exposed to a range of teaching approaches, using the latest technology to encourage them to find out things for themselves. By using more student-centred learning we hope to develop confident learners who are well prepared for the rigours of further study.
In Year 7 we aim to begin to develop student’s key geographical skills and show them how geography is relevant in their own lives. We begin by developing students basic geographical skills by using map work to help students explore their new school and the local area. Students then use Trowbridge as an example of a settlement and are encouraged to think about the changes taking place where they live. The topic of crime is used to help students use their map skills to identify and begin to explain patterns, and again apply what they have learnt to a project on how crime affects the place in which they live. We then change scale to introduce some key geography of the UK. Assessments focus on describing patterns and starting to explain the reasons behind them, as well as starting to justify their own opinions.
Students are introduced to some key issues in geography, but again making links to student’s own lives. We encourage students to look at evidence to justify and make their own decisions. We begin by looking at natural hazards and the impacts these have on different groups of people in different parts of the world. We then look at Antarctica and the impact human activity is having on this unique environment, with students making decisions on what they think the future should be for this wilderness continent. Finally we look at the geography of food, asking students to reflect of their own choices and thinking about the impact these choices have on other people and places. Assessments continue to develop students’ skills in description, whilst requiring more detailed explanations and a focus on starting to understand how change can take place more sustainably.
This year is designed to help students become global citizens by cementing their geographical skills, enabling them to tackle a range of current issues. The curriculum in year 9 introduces students to elements of the GCSE, allowing them time to explore key topics. The topics studied further develop the idea of different futures and how we can move forward in a more sustainable way. We begin with a study of Development, looking at differences around the world and how we can define development. Students are encouraged to develop empathy and think about the things that affect other peoples’ lives. These issues are developed through studying Malawi and India, countries with differing levels of development. We then look at the important issue of climate change – giving students the historical background to understand the context of current climate change and think about the impacts it may have in different environments and on different people. We then look at how we could make changes in order to reduce the problem, including changes students could make in their own lives. Assessments focus on evaluation and decision-making, so students can debate issues and come to their own conclusions based on evidence.
Why study geography?
The GCSE syllabus is modern and contemporary and allows students to investigate the key issues which will affect us and the planet in the 21st Century. Geography is a humanity recognised as part of the EBacc and is valued by employers for the skills it develops in students. This syllabus provides an excellent basis for A level geography, but is also an excellent choice as it sits well with a range of option subjects e.g. history, business studies and sciences. It is also an enjoyable subject in its own right.
What will I learn?
The students will study a range of topics both physical and human; so they have a broad geographical knowledge and understanding, but also focus in depth on key issues, allowing them to investigate issues that interest them. They will also develop many skills such as team work, computer literacy, analysis and self-motivation.
– Unit 1: Dynamic Planet (1 hour 15 min exam – 25%)
In this unit we will investigate some of the current issues in physical geography e.g. Restless Earth, Changing Climate, Battle for the Biosphere, Water World, Coastal Change and Conflict, Oceans on the Edge.
– Unit 2: People and the Planet (1 hour 15 min exam – 25%)
In this unit we look at the ways in which people live on the planet and how we interact with our physical environments: Population Dynamics, Consuming Resources, Globalisation, Development Dilemmas, the Changing Economy of the UK or Changing Settlements in the UK, Challenges of a Rural World or Challenges of an Urban World
– Unit 3: Geographical Decisions (1 hour 30min exam – 25%)
During the course students will develop a range of skills and they will use these, along with their knowledge and understanding to make decisions about a topical, contemporary issue in an exam. The questions are based on unseen materials provided in a resource booklet.
– Unit 4: Controlled Assessment (25%)
In this assessment students will write up the fieldwork they have completed under controlled conditions and this will be marked by their teachers.
Fieldwork is an essential component of geography and allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the theory they have studied in the classroom. All students have the opportunity to take part in a residential fieldtrip in Year 10.
How will I be assessed?
This GCSE is available as both a Higher (A*-C) and Foundation (C-G) paper There are 3 short exams (1 hour) and 1 piece of controlled assessment.
A level geography is an excellent choice for students. It is a facilitating subject which means it is recognised by leading universities as one of the subjects most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses, and choosing them will keep more options open to you at university. Geography is also a highly respected subject amongst employers as it develops a range of transferrable skills in students and demonstrates academic rigour. The department offers the Edexcel course which is a contemporary and engaging course which will particularly suit students who are interested in current affairs and in understanding the changing world around them.
Within the 1st year course we aim to investigate the meaning, causes, impacts and management of global challenges and how we can influence global challenges through our own lives. The 2nd year focuses on the use and management of world resources and that many resources are finite. It also recognises that consumption patterns highlight stark inequalities between regions, countries and groups of people.
– Unit 1: Global Challenges: 1 ½ hour exam (60% of AS)
Global Hazards, Climate Change and Globalisation.
– Unit 2: Geographical Investigation: 1 ¼ hour exam (40% of AS)
Extreme Weather and Re-branding Places.
– Unit 3: Contested Plant: 2 ½ hour exam (60% of A Level)
In this unit we look at 5 key world issues, and in the 6th we look at possible technological solutions to the problems:
– Energy Security
– Water Conflicts
– Biodiversity Under Threat
– Superpower Geographies
– Bridging the Development Gap
– The Technological Fix
– Unit 4: Geographical Research: 1 ½ hour exam (40% of A Level)
This unit will allow you to further develop your investigative skills and explore an area of geography that interests you. There are six option choices:
– Tectonic Activity and hazards
– Cold Environments
– Life on the Margins—the food supply problem
– The World of cultural diversity
– Pollution and Human
– Health at Risk
– Consuming the Rural landscape
Students currently take part in a residential fieldtrip to Cornwall. Highlights include visiting Watergate Bay, Padstow, Boscastle and the Eden Project. The data they collect is used to help them answer questions in the Unit 2 exam.
All units are assessed by written examination. There is no assessed coursework but in the exam you will be required to refer to fieldwork (primary and secondary) and show skills in the planning, collection and analysis of data.
This year geography students have had the opportunity to take part in a STEM project enrichment day looking at how we respond to natural disasters and visit Bristol Zoo to look at food chains in Antarctica. Some of the Year 7 students were able to visit Trowbridge town centre as part of their unit of work on crime. Some of our current Year 10 students will be travelling to Iceland in October and we will look to run a similar overseas visit in 2016.