Geography

Geography is everywhere and it helps us to understand the complex and dynamic world. In the department we aim to help students to develop an understanding of their position in the world as well as consider their own level of global responsibility. Central to the delivery of the subject is the focus on interdependence and a commitment to encouraging all our students to develop their own opinions and attitudes. In our opinion Geography is one of the most fascinating and interesting subjects that anyone can study. It draws on factual knowledge from both the sciences and the arts, and aims to develop analytical skills of the sciences and the descriptive and interpretative skills of the humanities.

As a department we encourage boys to challenge themselves frequently by participating in a wide variety of activities both in and out of the classroom.  Boys studying Geography are regularly involved in preparing and giving presentations, role-plays, personal research projects, group work, debates and discussions, which all help to develop a range of skills and knowledge of local, national and global issues.

Staff Names and Roles

  • Dr L Clitheow – Teacher of Geography
  • Miss R Walsh – Subject Leader of Geography
  • Miss R Pierce – Assistant Headteacher

Useful Websites to support your son’s learning

  • Ordnance Survey – A useful website for developing your map skills
  • Google Earth – Fun and explore the world around you!
  • The Guardian – Useful at GCSE and A Level to keep up to date with global development issues
  • BBC Bitesize  – Useful to review ideas covered in lessons

Opportunities outside of lessons

The Geography department strongly believes in the importance of learning outside of the classroom and as such we endeavour to give students are range of fieldwork opportunities as they progress through the school.

Year 7 visit the Lickey Hills within their first few weeks at the school, exploring the local environment, developing friendships and practicing their map reading skills. Year 8 explore a range of ecosystems at the Botanical Gardens in the Autumn term. Year 9 have the opportunity to visit Cadbury World, exploring the nature of Cadbury as a multinational company and its global responsibilities.

GCSE Geography sees the boys participate in a residential visit to Nettlecombe Court, Somerset, in the summer of year ten. This is a very enjoyable week for all involved and involves the boys conducting fieldwork into coastal characteristics.

At A Level the boys participate in a residential trip to a post-glacial landscape, either Snowdonia or the Lake District.  Year 13 includes a range of day trips whereby the boys plan and complete a variety of fieldwork methods.

In addition to the trips directly linked to the curriculum the department runs a trip to Iceland, as well as engaging in other opportunities available to the students such as university visits and masterclasses.

Course information

BACK

YEAR 7

In Year 7 we aim to stimulate an interest in and a sense of wonder about places. We build upon pupils’ own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from the personal to the global. We aim to inspire pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and responsibilities to other people, the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

There are a number of key concepts that underpin the study of Geography. In year 7 we focus upon the concepts of place, space and scale. We achieve this through the process of geographical enquiry, fieldwork investigations, graphicacy and visual literacy and through developing communication.

Main topics include

My place: An exploration of their environment from the personal to the national scale. A fieldtrip to Aston Park is undertaken as part of this unit. An exploration of geographical issues in contrasting locations. Students explore their personal five favourite places developing their understanding of place, space scale interdependence and cultural understanding and diversity.

Where do people live? A focus upon the development and changing nature of settlements over time.

Mad about maps! – The study and development of map skills.  This will be completed throughout the  study of other units.

Wild Weather – A study of the UK weather, reasons for the physical processes and how the weather impacts upon people.

How will your son be assessed during Year 7?

During Year 7 boys are assessed in a range of different ways from extended homework projects to knowledge and understanding tests completed in lessons.

How could you support your son to learn during year 7?

Key to success in Geography is developing a wider understanding of the world in which we live. Boys should try to engage with this in their own time by watching / reading the news. Conversations around such world events would be of great benefit to boys in the key stage.

BACK

YEAR 8

In year 8 we aim to continue to make sense of our complex and dynamically changing world. We aim to encourage questioning, investigation and critical thinking through geographical enquiry. Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and responsibilities to other people, the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

There are a number of key concepts that underpin the study of Geography. In year 8 we focus upon the concepts of place, space and scale and human processes, environmental interaction and sustainable development. We achieve this through the process of geographical enquiry, fieldwork investigations, graphicacy and visual literacy and through developing communication.

Main topics include:

Our Restless Earth – An exploration into the physical causes of and human effects of tectonic activity.

Cracking Coasts  – A study of the physical characteristics of some our most rapidly changing coastal environments, through understanding processes that continuously change them along with the impact upon local communities.

National Parks – Management of potential conflict within the national parks of the UK is explored.

Our Living World – A journey into the diverse ecosystems of the world and the impact people are having on these, often fragile environments. Particular focus is paid to the tropical rainforests and the Savanna grasslands.

How will your son be assessed during Year 8?

During Year 8 boys are assessed in a range of different ways from extended homework projects to knowledge and understanding tests completed in lessons.

How could you support your son to learn during Year 8?

Key to success in Geography is developing a wider understanding of the world in which we live. Boys should try to engage with this in their own time by watching / reading the news. Conversations around such world events would be of great benefit to boys in the key stage.

BACK

YEAR 9

In year 9 students continue to develop their thoughts and understanding of our complex and dynamically changing world. Particular focus is paid to geographical questioning, investigation and critical thinking about issues affecting the world and people’s lives now in the future.

 

There are a number of key concepts that underpin the study of Geography. In year 9, particular attention is paid to interdependence, environment interaction and sustainable development, space, place and cultural understanding and diversity.

Main topics include:

Development – This unit encourages pupils to consider reasons why areas of the world are at different levels of development and the implications for individual populations. Possible solutions are explored from a range of viewpoints.

Urban Futures – investigates questions and issues relevant to us all, such as ‘Why do more than half the world’s population live in urban areas?’, ‘What are the challenges and opportunities for cities today?’ and importantly looking at sustainable solutions to such issues.

Natural Hazards – A range of hazards are explored from their cause to the impact upon human populations. Current news stories frequently drive the content of this unit of study.

How will your son be assessed during Year 9?

Throughout year 9 the skills that boys have developed in geography throughout the course of their time at Aston is assessed. This is done through short knowledge and understanding tests to extended homework tasks.

How could you support your son to learn during Year 9?

Key to success in Geography is developing a wider understanding of the world in which we live. Boys should try to engage with this in their own time by watching / reading the news. Conversations around such world events would be of great benefit to boys in this key stage.

BACK

GCSE YEAR 10 & 11

Geography enables students to focus on contemporary issues. Through investigation and discussion students have the opportunity to gain a greater awareness of moral and cultural concerns and to clarify their own values and attitudes. The specification followed is OCR specification B – Geography for enquiring minds. The GCSE is divided up into the following units:

 Physical Geography

  1. Global Hazards
  2. Changing Climate
  3. Distinctive Landscapes
  4. Sustaining Ecosystems

 Human Geography

    1. Urban Futures
    2. Dynamic Development
    3. UK in the 21st Century
    4. Resource Reliance

  Geographical Skills

    1. Geographical Skills
    2. Decision Making Exercise

GCSE Geography enables students to interpret a wide variety of data, to form judgements for themselves, to express themselves coherently and to contribute to the process of debate. In addition, through coursework students have the opportunities to develop the life skills of problem solving and improving their own learning and performance.

How will your son be assessed at GCSE?

External

The course is assessed via these three components:

  • Paper 1 – Physical Geography, lasts 1 ¼ hrs and is worth 35% of the total marks.
  • Paper 2 – Human Geography, lasts 1 ¼ hrs and is worth 35% of the total marks.
  • Paper 3 – Skills paper, lasts 1 ½ hours and is worth 30% of the total marks.

Internal

Boys are assessed at the end of every unit at GCSE with further smaller assessments taking place throughout the course.

How could you support your son to learn during Year 10 & 11?

Key to success in Geography is developing a wider understanding of the world in which we live. Boys should try to engage with this in their own time by watching / reading the news. Conversations around such world events would be of great benefit to boys in this key stage.

BACK

A LEVEL YEAR 12 & 13

Further study of Geography provides the opportunity to study contemporary events and issues which students will be able to relate to the every day world in which they live. Examples would include concern for the environment and an appreciation of global changes and inequalities.

The Geography Department aims to foster a love of the subject for its own sake and also works hard to ensure that all students achieve the highest grade for which they have the potential. Many students go on to study some aspect of Geography at University.

The subject is delivered through the separate strands of physical, human and environmental Geography. Synoptic assessment encourages students to have an overview of Geography by drawing on these different aspects of the subject. Investigative work, based on evidence from primary source, including fieldwork, and secondary sources will give the opportunity to develop a wide range of practical skills and techniques including data collection, analysis and enquiry.

The specification studied is AQA and the subject content is summarised below:

Physical geography

  • Water and carbon cycles
  • Glacial systems and landscapes
  • Hazards

Human geography

  • Global systems and global governance
  • Changing places
  • Contemporary urban environments

Geography fieldwork investigation

Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content.

How will your son be assessed at A Level? 

Students are frequently assessed at A Level predominantly in the form of past questions, whether it be ones completed at home, in class or in examination conditions.

External assessment takes the form of two exams of two hours and thirty minutes each, as well as a piece of coursework of 3000-4000 words.

How could you support your son to learn during Years 12 & 13?

Key to success in Geography is developing a wider understanding of the world in which we live. Boys should try to engage with this in their own time by watching / reading the news. Conversations around such world events would be of great benefit to boys in this key stage. Subscriptions to relevant magazines also proves to be beneficial.

  • YEAR 7
  • YEAR 8
  • YEAR 9
  • GCSE YEAR 10 & 11
  • A LEVEL YEAR 12 & 13

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