Geography

Aims

The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

    • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
    • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
    • are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
    • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
    • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
    • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.
Attainment targets

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.

Schools are not required by law to teach the example content in [square brackets].


Key Stage 1

Pupils should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.

Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

    • name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans
    • name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas

Place knowledge

    • understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country

Human and physical geography

    • identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles
    • use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
    • key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather
    • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop

Geographical skills and fieldwork

    • use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage
    • use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language [for example, near and far; left and right], to describe the location of features and routes on a map
Suggested Topics
    • Hooray Let’s Go on Holiday
    • From A to B
    • Our World
    • Countries, Continents and Oceans

Investigating Places
Ask and answer geographical questions (such as: What is this place like? What or who will I see in this place? What do people do in this place?).

    •  Identify the key features of a location in order to say whether it is a city, town, village, coastal or rural area.
    • Use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied.
    • Use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of the school and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.
    • Use aerial images and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic physical features.
    • Name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas.
    • Name and locate the world’s continents and oceans.

Investigating Patterns
Understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom and of a contrasting non-European country.

    • Identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles.
    • Identify land use around the school

Communicating Geographically
Refer to key physical features, including: beach, coast, forest, hill, mountain, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation and weather.

    • Refer to key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office and shop.
    • Use compass directions (north, south, east and west) and locational language (e.g. near and far) to describe the location of features and routes on a map.
    • Devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key. Use simple grid references (A1, B1).

Key Stage 2 Years 3&4

Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.

Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

    • locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities
    • name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features

      (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time

    • identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night)

Geographical skills and fieldwork

    • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
    • use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
    • use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.

Place knowledge

    • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America

Human and physical geography

    • describe and understand key aspects of:
    • physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle
    • human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water
Suggested Topics – Yr 3 / 4
    • Explorers and Adventurers – Maps and countries
    • Active Planet – Volcanoes and Earthquakes
    • Different Places Similar Lives – Similarities and Differences
    • Regions, Continents and Countries – Locational Knowledge
    • Fieldwork

Investigating Places

    • Ask and answer geographical questions about the physical and human characteristics of a location.
    • Explain own views about locations, giving reasons.
    • Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features.
    • Use fieldwork to observe and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods including sketch maps, plans and graphs and digital technologies.
    • Use a range of resources to identify the key physical and human features of a location.
    • Name and locate counties and cities of the United
    • Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, including hills, mountains, cities, rivers, key topographical features and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.
    • Name and locate the countries of Europe and identify their main physical and human characteristics.

Investigating Patterns

    • Name and locate the Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle and date time zones. Describe some of the characteristics of these geographical areas.
    • Describe geographical similarities and differences between countries.
    • Describe how the locality of the school has changed over time.

Communicating Geographically

    • Describe key aspects of:
    • Physical geography, including: rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes and the water cycle.
    • Human geography, including: settlements and land use.
    • Use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and key to communicate knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world.

Key Stage 2 Year 5&6

Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.

Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

    • locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities
    • name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features
    • (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time
    • identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night)

Geographical skills and fieldwork

    • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
    • use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
    • use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies

Place knowledge

    • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America

Human and physical geography

describe and understand key aspects of:

    •  physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle
    • human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water
Suggested Topics – Yr 5 and 6
    • The Holiday Show – comparing 2 locations
    • What a Wonderful World – Map work and locational knowledge
    • Fairtrade
    • Fieldwork
    • Countries, rivers and mountains – locational knowledge

Investigating Places

    • Collect and analyse statistics and other information in order to draw clear conclusions about locations.
    • Identify and describe how the physical features affect the human activity within a location.
    • Use a range of geographical resources to give detailed descriptions and opinions of the characteristic features of a location.
    • Use different types of fieldwork sampling (random and systematic) to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area. Record the results in a range of ways.
    • Analyse and give views on the effectiveness of different geographical representations of a location (such as aerial images compared with maps and topological maps – as in London’s Tube map).
    • Name and locate some of the countries and cities of the world and their identifying human and physical characteristics, including hills, mountains, rivers, key topographical features and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.
    • Name and locate the countries of North and South America and identify their main physical and human characteristics.

Investigating Patterns

    • Identify and describe the geographical significance of latitude, longitude,
    • Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, and time zones (including day and night).• Understand some of the reasons for geographical similarities and differences between countries
    • Describe how locations around the world are changing and explain some of the reasons for change.
    • Describe geographical diversity across the world.
    • Describe how countries and geographical regions are interconnected and interdependent.

Communicating Geographically

Describe and understand key aspects of:

    • Physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes and the water cycle.
    • Human geography, including: settlements, land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals, and water supplies.
    • Use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and a key (that uses standard Ordnance Survey symbols) to communicate knowledge of the United Kingdom and the world.
    • Create maps of locations identifying patterns (such as: land use, climate zones, population densities, height of land).