In addition to being part of the full curriculum review, geography, alongside Religious Education, formed a central part of our Tanzania theme days. Our children became tour agents looking at how we can learn from, and learn about, Tanzania and compare it to Wakefield. We looked at why locations across the globe are different (the physical and human geography of locations) and different ways in which we can communicate our geographical information and understanding. Our 'Big Question' approach drives many geography themes across our 'Circle of Life' curriculum.
Thankfulness is a value that we attempt to foster when studying the physical and human geography across our world. We constantly like to draw the children into comparisons of their own location with that of other diverse cultures and communities. Geography presents an ideal opportunity to equality and diversity in detail. Studies of contrasting locations is carefully planned to enable this. Individual liberty and rule of law enter into our studies and discussions. Rule of law is covered directly when we consider countries and capital cities and the significance of these as the places where laws are often generated. Mutual respect, koinonia and
tolerance all underpin geography and our strong partnership with Ragata School in Tanzania
ensures these values have deeper meaning within our Christian friendship across continents.
We attempt to place geographical opportunities within a range of extra-curricular activities. Our theatre club requires its members to consider the importance of a seaside setting and why these places have developed, and often declined over time. The group have considered how industrial northern towns were important to the success of places such as Blackpool and how the fortunes of both are mutually affected. They then reflect this learning in their final show and the programmes that they create and sell to their audience. Our community library is currently being stocked with a new geographical section enabling families to visit and gather non-fiction texts relating to the places and features across the world. The spirited art club requires the children to look at natural features from their own locality and depict them in different forms to explain the messages hidden within a place.
The children in Reception learn about links to other countries. Reception children take part in environment walks around school discussing the features of their environment and how they are similar, or different, to their own setting. The children look at ‘Handa’s Surprise’ and discuss similarities and differences between their cultures. The children also look at the habitats of animals. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur. They begin to consider how physical and human features can affect how animals live.
Children in Key Stage 1 learn about the various voyages of Christopher Columbus and the discoveries he made. The children use atlases to plan and plot his journey around the world. They point out where the equator, north pole and south pole are on a globe or atlas. Children study toys from around the world and identify countries on a map - such as Russian dolls, worry dolls and teddy bears. The children name the continents of the world and the countries that form the United Kingdom including the capital cities. They also consider the seas that surround these.
The children have been studying the rainforest recently. They locate rainforests on a map using an atlas and identify the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Similarities and differences are made between Wakefield and the Amazon Rainforest and the children learn all about the climate of a rainforest. Using the eight points of a compass, symbols and a key, the children design their own map of the rainforest.
For their recent ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ work, the children study where chocolate comes from and plot this on a map. The children then plot the journey the cocoa bean took from bean to bar. The children learn about the trade links and the distribution of food. Links are made to Fair Trade and the reason behind this and children debate whether Fair Trade has a positive impact. Through this the children understand the differences and similarities through the study of human and physical geography of a region in South America.
Children in UKS2 discuss ‘A World without War’. This presents an ideal chance to consider countries and cities as the children plotted the various protagonists and where they were in relation to each other and the importance of this. The children used maps and atlases to establish and deepen their awareness of this.
The children located the River Nile for their ‘Egyptians’ topic by using an atlas. They looked at the major rivers surrounding Egypt and compared their sizes to the River Nile. They also used computers to research the River Nile in more depth and created an information sheet about the River Nile. This included the importance of the Nile as a trade link, which is vital for the economy and to maintain the necessary supply of natural resources to the area.