Geography is a rich and diverse subject that gives children the opportunity to learn about diverse places, people, resources, environments and the effect of mankind. It inspires a curiosity and fascination about the world from an early age and fosters enthusiasm and a passion for learning. By studying the beauty of Earth and the awesome power of Earth-shaping forces, we can fascinate, inspire and create globally-aware pupils.
Whilst the importance of geographical knowledge is recognised, we also wish to enable children to become lifelong geographers who have the skills and attitudes to continue to appreciate the world around them. Throughout the Geography curriculum at Portway, children will learn the Earth’s key physical and human processes. They will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how these affect landscapes and environments. Many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices – cannot be understood without a geographical perspective.
Our Geography Curriculum develops the essential characteristics of geographers:
- An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
- An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
- An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
- Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
- The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings
- Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
- Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
- A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
- The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.
Our geography timetable provides detailed information as to how we teach all elements of the curriculum across all year groups at our school.
How is geography taught at Portway?
The Geography curriculum is designed to help pupils form a Geography mental model within their long-term memories.
Schema theory states that all knowledge is organised into units. A mental model is, therefore, a conceptual system for understanding knowledge.
Our Geography Mental model is a way of organising Geography substantive and disciplinary knowledge in a meaningful way; it is an appreciation of how facts are connected and the ways in which they are connected. It is distinct from information, which is just isolated facts that have no organisational basis or links.
Big Ideas help form the basis of the mental model. Big Ideas are key concepts that underpin the subject. There are three Big Ideas in Geography:
- Investigating Places – (understanding the geographical location of places and their physical and human features)
- Investigating Processes – (understanding the physical and human processes and activities that occur in a place, why they might occur and they impact they have on the world)
- Working Geographically – (understanding geographical representation, vocabulary and techniques)
Each Big Idea has knowledge strands which help to strengthen the mental model. Learning knowledge in each of the strands allows pupils to express and demonstrate their understanding of the Big Idea, which gradually develops as pupils return to them over and over again.