Our Geography curriculum has been thoughtfully developed to ensure a well thought out approach based on a knowledge and skills curriculum as well as developing subject specific vocabulary. Our key questions have been coherently planned to facilitate cross curricular links with a range of other subjects to help add context to learning. Our school is located near some rural areas and close to Birmingham which enables pupils to have opportunities to visit or learn about geographical places of interest, mostly around the local area, the United Kingdom and Europe. Our Geography curriculum understands that our pupils need to experience the wider world and develops their fascination about the wider world, its people, settlements, climate and places.
Our Geography curriculum teaches our children to appreciate the relationship of human and physical geography; how humans affect the environment and how the environment impacts them. Children will master technical skills such as map reading (including scaling, orientation and direction) and be able to relate abstract representations to real life features. They will undertake regular field work to apply their skills and be able to compare different areas of the world with their own locality.
Geography learning follows the interest of the children as part of ‘Understanding the World’. Pupils learn about the seasons and different types of weather as part of their daily routine. Throughout the year children may wish to learn about volcanoes, or a specific country if they have been on holiday there. We facilitate this by finding the location on a globe or world map, sharing experiences of what it was like to be there, looking at photos of families and homes to compare and contrast it to the children’s own lives. Children’s learning often follows current affairs seen on the news from around the world such as, fires, floods and the impact of humanity on the world. They also learn about physical geography in their own locality and walk to St Helen’s Wood to gain knowledge of the immediate area around Greswold School, analysing how land is used.
Pupils continue to explore seasonal weather as part of the daily routine but build on their knowledge by including the analysis of weather maps. Children develop their directional geographical language by following directions around school and using the 4 compass points. Pupils further their map work skills, looking at symbols particularly, and design their own ‘Fairy Tale’ map as part of the English topic. The children also develop the ability to give instructions and direct each other around an obstacle course. They extend their knowledge of the local area by analysing aerial photographs and identifying key landmarks near to their school such as the Jaguar Land Rover plant and Touchwood shopping centre. They also learn about the continents, oceans and countries of the United Kingdom through songs and rhymes.
The children recap the countries of the UK and focus on the characteristics of modern day London prior to learning about the Great Fire in history. They use historical maps to look at the way the fire spread and how London changed in the aftermath. Children study two regions with contrasting human and physical geography to Solihull: Africa and the Poles. The children use appropriate geographical language to describe what the places are like and learn about the people who live there. They reflect on the similarities and differences between their life in Solihull and children living in an Inuit settlement and a village in rural Kenya/Ghana. The children enjoy an African themed day with dancing, food tasting and lessons in Swahili. They develop their use of maps and aerial photographs by exploring the area around Dunfield House – the site of their residential visit in June. This location on the Welsh border also gives children the opportunity to see valleys, hills and rivers for themselves.
While learning about the Ancient Romans, children focus on historical geography and use atlases and maps to find out which countries the Romans conquered. They use maps of modern day Europe to enable them to compare and understand the scale of the Roman Empire. Children also study the Ancient Egyptians and use maps to find out the countries that the Nile flows through and investigate how the flooding of the river influenced Egyptian society. Children further build on their map reading skills by using atlases to find the locations of rainforests around the world. They compare the climate in a typical rainforest to the UK, using comparative climate data and visiting Birmingham Botanical Gardens to experience the climates for themselves. After finding out about the abundance of life that lives in rainforests, they consider the impact of deforestation for the whole world, including the people of Solihull. They look at how the destruction of the habitat affects local people by doing a study on the Yanomami tribe and the rainforest ecosystems. They also study the geographical difference in time zones between countries in South America and the United Kingdom.
The children will find out about the many different environmental regions, climates, landscapes and key physical characteristics found in North America. They will also learn about human geography including how migration has influenced these settlements. As part of this study, they will use atlases to identify the different countries that comprise the continent and explore the unique features within the states. Children will also be introduced to longitude and latitude and the various time zones of the world. Through their history topic exploring the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, they study historical maps to explore where the invaders came from and where they settled. Pupils also use atlases to identify the origins of place names and how these words have become rooted in our language. During the residential visit to Standon Bowers, the children will further enhance their fieldwork skills by mapping an unfamiliar area and developing their orienteering skills to navigate a set course.
Pupils have many opportunities to further their geographical knowledge over the year. They link history and geography during both their Ancient Greek and Victorian topics. The children are given the opportunity to undertake detailed studies of maps, both historical and modern. They look at OS maps, digital maps and build on their knowledge of compass points and directional language. During their work on Ancient Greece, children focus on European geography and how Greece’s landscape and resources influenced life in ancient times. Children also compare the features of Solihull and Llandudno investigating what they looked like during the Victorian era and how each location has changed and the reasons behind this. The visit to Llandudno also gives children the chance to look at physical features of the coastline, coastal erosion and sea defences. Both of these in depth studies help further the children’s understanding of the close link between human and physical geography.
Children partake in a study of Europe, researching and locating (using a range of media) the vast variety of rivers and mountains that can be found there. Pupils will also learn about natural disasters that occur within Europe and from around the wider world, ranging into a more in-depth education of volcanoes and discovering how these geographical features impact on both human and physical geography. Furthermore, children complete independent research and present their findings to their peers on the physical processes that occur within volcanoes, combining design technology skills of making their own volcanoes and studying what the eruption process might look like.
Pupils are encouraged to build on their existing knowledge of the previously visited towns (Llandudno and Solihull) to make further comparisons with the world they live in: British Columbia, in order to compare features of human and physical geography.
During their WWII history topic, they will use historical map reading skills when exploring the conflicts. Children will have the opportunity to evaluate a variety of different map types and draw conclusions from them about land use and the impact of humans on the local area.
As part of their preparation for transition to secondary schools, pupils will also use computing programmes to design and apply routes to and from important places in the local community such as Solihull Hospital and their new schools, where they will also learn how to navigate bus routes, potential road closures and diversions in line with their Life Ready skills.