Geography at key stage 3 at SMRT allows students to explore a broad, varied, balanced and relevant curriculum that hopefully engages students, develops their awareness of the issues and processes that take place around them, fosters in them a sense of questioning and a desire to support the stewardship of the planet. Our curriculum also allows students to develop skills such as interdependence, resilience, questioning as well as encouraging students to value justice, respect, tolerance, diversity in others and themselves. Furthermore, the key stage 3 course aims to help students develop the knowledge, understanding and skills to become confident, independent learners well-equipped with transferable skills that will support them should they choose to pursue the subject at GCSE level as well as complimenting other core subjects including maths and science.
In year 7 Geography, students consider a wide range of topics at a variety of scales which consider a range of issues, processes and skills. We start the year with a detailed examination of the continent of Africa, a fascinating and engaging topic that students always enjoy. We also find that many students love this topic because of family links to parts of Africa which allow some to share their experiences and understanding from a unique and personal viewpoint. Through this topic we consider many themes that are important to geography such as population, development and ecosystems. We also explore basic skills such as mapping, graph analysis and maths skills which provide students with essential prior knowledge on which to build. Students then consider a topic on Plate Tectonics, with its links to earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis to get a grasp on some of the global processes at work across the planet. Students then investigate a new and updated topic on Climate Change which better equips them to understand one of the most pressing issues facing humanity as well as allowing them to explore solutions to this challenge. The year finishes with a local focus on Bristol to give students a sense of their local place before finishing with a unit which provides students with basic confidence in maps skills using creative tasks to help them develop confidence in skills that they will revisit through the key stage 3 curriculum.
In Years 8 and 9 students continue to explore new themes to provide them with a broad experience of the subject with topics as diverse as Asia, Weather and Climate, Crime, Coastal landscapes, Global Fashion and Threatened Arctic Environments. Throughout these units, students encounter new skills and continue to build on prior understanding and skills development.
Lessons in Geography are varied and draw on a wider range of activities to support all learning styles as well as development in key areas of literacy and numeracy. Tasks include discussion, debate, decision-making group work presentations, data collection tasks, extended writing, simulation games, data interpretation, manipulation and analysis. IT is used to aid some of these activities including introducing students to ArcGIS which is integral to the subject, allowing students to collect and then plot data spatially. Students also use excel frequently to present data collected as part of the enquiry process. These activities also aim to support students in making the transition to the working world through development of skills commonly used in the workplace.
Assessment in Geography is also varied to allow for students to shine in a number of different ways. Students encounter a broad and varied homework schedule that includes data collection, campaign letter writing, model building, revising, research, skills assessment and much more. Students also encounter regular formative assessment in class that allows them to improve their practice as well as key terminal assessments at certain points throughout the year that allow students as well as staff and parents to consider progress that students are making.