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Geography


Aston's Geography department seeks to stimulate an interest in, and a sense of wonder at, the world around us. The curriculum aims to be rich and varied, developing a deeper knowledge and understanding of planet earth and the people who live here, whilst building on pupils’ own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from the personal to the global.

We aim to inspire the bright minds of our students to consider the impact they are having on the world today whilst developing empathy for all, especially those whose lives look completely different to our own. The subject also has a vision to develop students who can learn to think spatially and use maps to analyse information. The department also seeks to provide opportunities for students to experience the world around them, from the local scale to the international. The vision is for students to leave Aston as young adults prepared to take an active role in the ever-changing world.


Staff:

  • Miss R Walsh, Head of Department
  • Miss R Pierce, Assistant Head
  • Dr L Clitherow

Trips and Visits:

Getting out and experiencing the world is an essential part of Geography. We aim to offer a range of opportunities including visits to the Lickey Hills in Y7, Carding Mill Valley, and Birmingham city centre. Opportunities are also offered for visits further afield, including to Wales and Italy.

Year 7

Summary of curriculum:

In year 7, students are introduced to geography by completing a unit on map skills, to embed key skills before being introduced to the geography of the UK on a local and national scale. Physical geography is taught through a unit on coasts and the weather. Human geography is taught through a country study on Kenya, opening up students' perspectives to the wider world.

Main topics:
  • Map skills: a base line unit to ensure all students are adept in the key skills required for the study of geography.
  • UK geography and my Place: an exploration of their environment from the personal to the national scale.
  • Cracking coasts: an introduction to the coastal environment, the physical features of the area and the impacts humans have on the landscape.
  • Kenya: a study of a contrasting country to the UK, considering what several different aspects of life in Kenya.
  • Wild weather: a study of the UK's weather, reasons for the physical processes and how the weather impacts upon people.
  • Microclimates: an enquiry-based project to consider ‘Do Microclimates exist at school?'
Assessment throughout the year:

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 parents can support their son’s learning:

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 and reading the news. Conversations about world events would be of great benefit to boys in the key stage.

Able and inspired opportunities:

Our A&I students are offered a range of opportunities, from additional reading and tasks within lessons, special research projects and extra-curricular visits. We also aim to inspire the most able students with talks from academic geographers at local universities in order to develop deeper thinking. The department also runs a collaboration event between the different schools of the Foundation to bring inspired KS3 students together to undertake further research in key geographical issues.

Useful websites:
  • Ordnance Survey A useful website for developing your map skills
  • Google Earth Fun to 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

 

Year 8

Summary of curriculum:

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:
  • Restless Earth: an exploration into the physical causes of and human effects of tectonic activity.
  • Population: a look at where people live in the world and why, before considering migration in the world and the impacts this may bring.
  • Ecosystems: a journey through the diverse ecosystems of the world and the impact people are having on these, often fragile, environments. A particular focus is made upon the tropical rainforests and coral reefs
  • Globalisation: a study into the shrinking world. How and why are we much closer to other countries than 100 years ago? How can companies take advantage of this?
  • Rivers: an exploration into a river from when it leaves the source and starts its journey to the mouth.
  • 'Made in China'.
Assessment throughout the year:

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 parents can support their son’s learning:
  • Encouraging the students to watch or read the news.
  • Encouraging revision for the end of unit CATs.
  • Wider reading around the topic is always invaluable and is easily done on the internet.
Able and inspired opportunities: Our A&I students are offered a range of opportunities, from additional reading and tasks within lessons, special research projects and extra-curricular visits. We also aim to inspire the most able students with talks from academic geographers at local universities in order to develop deeper thinking. The department also runs a collaboration event between the different schools of the Foundation to bring inspired KS3 students together to undertake further research in key geographical issues.
Useful websites:
  • Ordnance Survey  A useful website for developing your map skills.
  • Google Earth Fun to 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.

 

Year 9

Summary of curriculum:

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:
  • Cold environments: a study of how cold landscapes are shaped around the world by physical processes and how humans interact with the environment.
  • India: a country study into one of the most fascinating places on earth. Just how developed is India? Why does India suffer from Monsoons? Why are so many companies flocking to India?
  • Environmental issues: this unit investigates the key environmental problems facing our world today. 
  • 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, very importantly, looking at sustainable solutions to such issues.
Assessment throughout the year:

End of unit tests in the following units: cold environments, environmental issues decision making, and urban futures.

How parents can support their son’s learning:
  • Encouraging the students to watch or read the news.
  • Encouraging revision for the end of unit CATs
  • Wider reading around the topic is always invaluable and is easily done on the internet.
Able and inspired opportunities: Our A&I students are offered a range of opportunities, from additional reading and tasks within lessons, special research projects and extra-curricular visits. We also aim to inspire the most able students with talks from academic geographers at local universities in order to develop deeper thinking. The department also runs a collaboration event between the different schools of the Foundation to bring inspired KS3 students together to undertake further research in key geographical issues.
Useful websites:
  • Ordnance Survey A useful website for developing your map skills
  • Google Earth Fun to 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

 

Year 10

Summary of curriculum: The GCSE specification followed is OCR specification B – Geography for enquiring minds. 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.
Main topics:
  • UK in the 21st century
  • Global hazards
  • Distinctive landscapes
  • Sustaining ecosystems
Assessment throughout the year:

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

How parents can support their son’s learning:

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 and reading the news. Conversations about world events would be of great benefit to boys in this key stage.

Able and inspired opportunities:

Our A&I students are offered a range of opportunities, from additional reading and tasks within lessons, special research projects and extra-curricular visits. We also aim to inspire the most able students with talks from academic geographers at local universities in order to develop deeper thinking. 

Useful websites:
  • Ordnance Survey A useful website for developing your map skills.
  • Google Earth Fun to 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.

 

Year 11

Summary of curriculum: 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.
Main topics:
  • Dynamic Development
  • Resource Reliance
  • Changing Climate
  • DME / Skills
Assessment throughout the year:

Externally, the course is assessed via these three components:

  • Paper 1: Physical Geography, 1hr 15 min, 35% of the total marks.
  • Paper 2: Human Geography, 1hr 15 min, 35% of the total marks.
  • Paper 3: Skills paper, lasts 1hr 30 min, 30% of the total marks.

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

How parents can support their son’s learning:

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 and reading the news. Conversations around such world events would be of great benefit to boys in this key stage.

Able and inspired opportunities:

Our A&I students are offered a range of opportunities, from additional reading and tasks within lessons, special research projects and extra-curricular visits. We also aim to inspire the most able students with talks from academic geographers at local universities in order to develop deeper thinking. 

Useful websites:
  • Ordnance Survey A useful website for developing your map skills.
  • Google Earth Fun to 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

 

Year 12

Summary of curriculum:

Further study of geography at A Level 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 staff aim to foster a love of the subject for its own sake and also work 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 followed is AQA's: see https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/as-and-a-level/geography-7037/introduction

Main topics:

Physical geography

  • Water and carbon cycles
  • Glacial systems and landscapes

Human geography

  • 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.

Assessment throughout the year:

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

How parents can support their son’s learning:

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 and reading the news. Conversations about world events would be of great benefit to boys in this key stage. Subscriptions to relevant magazines also proves to be beneficial.

Able and inspired opportunities:

Our A&I students are offered a range of opportunities, from additional reading and tasks within lessons, special research projects and extra-curricular visits. We also aim to inspire the most able students with talks from academic geographers at local universities in order to develop deeper thinking. 

Useful websites:
  • Ordnance Survey A useful website for developing your map skills
  • Google Earth Fun to 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.

 

Year 13

Summary of curriculum:

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.

Main topics:

Physical geography

  • Hazards

Human geography

  • Global systems and global governance
  • Changing places
Assessment throughout the year:

Students are frequently assessed at A Level predominantly using 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 length 3000 to 4000 words.

How parents can support their son’s learning:

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 and 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.

Able and inspired opportunities:

Our A&I students are offered a range of opportunities, from additional reading and tasks within lessons, special research projects and extra-curricular visits. We also aim to inspire the most able students with talks from academic geographers at local universities in order to develop deeper thinking. 

Useful websites:
  • Ordnance Survey A useful website for developing your map skills.
  • Google Earth Fun to 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.