In an increasingly digital age, Geography offers a unique opportunity for the children to gather and develop a strong understanding of the world around them. With this thought in mind, our geography curriculum aims to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
Basic Geographical skills such as map reading and atlas work are woven throughout units and stand alongside the knowledge taught in order to develop the children’s understanding of their place in the global landscape.
Our Geography Curriculum
Geography topics will be delivered in a Learning Journey style each half term. Each Learning Journey takes a thematic approach and often combines aspects of history, geography and science, enabling complex topics to be understood as a whole, rather than a sum of its parts. As such, many of the Learning Journey units may contain aspects of geography, despite being largely science or history focused. Every Learning Journey will have a Learning Journey Map which will detail exactly what the children must know by the end of the unit. Substantive concepts have been identified to span across the curriculum, enabling the children to create a rich mental framework of geographical knowledge and skills. Our curriculum is a 3D curriculum with links made between topics and year groups. It is also planned out in a spiral nature to ensure that knowledge is regularly revisited in further depth. The result of these approaches is a broad and balanced curriculum, ambitious in scope and rigour, to develop knowledgeable, curious and informed learners.
Back to the Future!
The Back to the Future Learning Journey is one of our most important Learning Journeys that children will travel on in their time at our school. It is the one that sets the tone both in terms of how we set out our learning to our new children and it also digs down to the roots of the children’s own community. It has both a focus on History and Geography by investigating how Barwell has changed over the years, starting from its origins as a village up to the present day. This Learning Journey also introduces the children to the relationship that we have with St Mary’s Church.
Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
The Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day Learning Journey is mainly a history based learning journey with some science built in. It builds on children’s chronological knowledge from Back to the Future as they have a historical context to build on and looks at the spread of the Roman Empire. This understanding of an empire is important knowledge that will be built on in Year 5 when children look at the British Empire. It also builds on children’s geographical knowledge as they expand out from Barwell.
The Tree-Tastic Learning Journey centres on rainforests around the world through its geography elements. In Back to the Future the children learn about deforestation and so this moves their learning on so that they can learn about what a forest is. It is also the first time that the children encounter the continents of the world and important vocabulary, such as the Equator which will be needed in several later Learning Journeys. The Learning Journey also covers important science objectives about plants which will support their work looking at life cycles later on in the key stage.
Walk Like an Egyptian
The Walk Like an Egyptian Learning Journey takes our Year 3 children back in time to study the lives of the Ancient Egyptians. It gives both a contrasting time period and location. It has strong connections to geography knowledge by adding to their learning about rivers covered earlier in the year and how rivers affect the lives of people living along them. It also contains science learning about the digestive system, teeth and the process of mummification.
Spotlight on Leicester
The first Learning Journey in Year 4 moves out to our nearest city. It aims to develop children’s awareness of how an urban area can be different to a rural area, such as the one they live in. It is appreciated that many of our children, although they have been to a shopping outlet near Leicester, have not been into our city centre. Studying Leicester in Y4 is also significant as the cultural diversity is very limited within Barwell. By putting the ‘spotlight’ onto Leicester, we are helping children to broaden their horizons both physically and culturally. Therefore, this Learning Journey is very geography-based but there is some science in the form of sound and electricity. Obviously, within a city, the sounds and use of electricity increase and this Learning Journey explores how we hear sounds and how electricity travels in a circuit.
It's the Circle of Life
This is one of our key Learning Journeys as not only does it link to so many other Learning Journeys, it is the one where our children stay away from home for a night. This is so important for our children’s development as many of them have not spent a night away from home before, even to extended family or at a friend’s house. Our residential is held at Beaumanor Hall in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside. This is used as a direct contrast to the urban environment that children learn about in Spotlight on Leicester. This allows children to see the county of Leicestershire, which their village is in, as being made up of both urban and rural environments. Beaumanor Hall is also significant within our curriculum as it is a Victorian building and was used during WWII. In the Science element, as children have chance to be able to explore the wildlife at Beaumanor, there is a heavy focus on plants and animals and their habitats.
It's a Matter of Fact
This is a science Learning Journey that builds on children’s previous learning and takes key aspects and builds on them. In previous learning, they have built up knowledge of precipitation in the rainforests and about how rivers are important to people throughout history and in shaping the geography of our world. In this Learning Journey, they learn the science behind the water cycle and about solids, liquids and gases. The key learning about the water cycle is vital for their work in Year 6 about rivers.
See the Sea
One of the saddest things is hearing that some of our children have never experienced seeing the sea. Barwell is very central in England but this is still a very sad state of affairs. This Learning Journey wants to ensure that children have a knowledge of the coast and understand how it is different to their own environment. Its work focuses on Hunstanton in Norfolk because this is a relatively close coast, it is a typical English Seaside resort and it is a Victorian Town. It also includes interesting geographical features such as the fact that it faces west even though it is on the East Coast and it is suffering from erosion. This Learning Journey also provides the perfect opportunity to bring in some science work about the properties of materials; it looks at reversible and irreversible changes and how materials can be separated.
Hill Areas Mountains
Following on from their Year 3 Learning Journey Opposites Attract where children learn about volcanic mountain formations, this Learning Journey takes the children on the next step of their mountainous adventure and discover different types of mountains around the world. Too often in curricula plans geography gets left behind history but this Learning Journey is geography and nothing but geography. It focuses on how mountains are formed and the different parts and where different mountain ranges are found throughout the world and some facts about them. It focuses in on one specific mountain, Mount Olympus, so obviously this has direct links to the following year when children study about the Ancient Greeks in their It’s all Greek to me Learning Journey.
Everything Revolves Around Me
This is a really important Learning Journey at the centre of our learning adventure. It ties in previous geography learning by really understanding the Earth and how we divide it up into different spheres and also important science learning about where our planet is in relation to the Solar System. It also takes children’s understanding of forces covered in Opposites Attract in Year 3 to the next level so that they learn about gravity, friction and resistance. This helps them to really understand things like tides following on from their learning of a coastal region of the beginning of Year 5.
Cry Me a River
Many of our children’s cultural references are based on North America. The language and cultural references come from watching television programmes, films and gaming, often without adult supervision. We strongly feel that children need to have an understanding about the Americas as, although it is very close to our children and easily accessible in some ways, in others they are literally thousands of miles away. This Learning Journey is to bridge this gap in understanding. This geography-based Learning Journey really gets to grips with understanding the continents and countries and the bio-diverse nature of the Americas. There is a strong focus on rivers and therefore links to many of our other learning journeys. It also gives children a chance to revisit and revise their knowledge of the water cycle.
Let's Blitz This!
Following on from children learning about what happened in Barwell during WWII, why we have a war memorial in the village, and learning about Beaumanor’s role in the war effort, children spend this learning journey exploring World War II and the key people and dates involved. This is mainly a history unit but it does have some science incorporated in with it in the form of electricity and light as this links with the idea of how lights were used, and not used, during the Blitz. This learning journey is so important as it sets out the context for much of our history and gives the children a good grounding of knowledge and understanding ready to continue their history learning into Key Stage 3.
It's All Greek to Me!
In this final Learning Journey of our Barwell Learning Adventure, the children go back in time to visit the Ancient Greeks. Children in Year 5 will have already looked at Mount Olympus as part of their Hill Areas Mountains Learning Journey and so will have geographical knowledge of this part of the world. Again, as in their study of Romans and Victorians, the theme of an empire will be explored in more depth but also to use this as a contrast to democracy and how they differ. As they did in their Battle it Out Learning Journey, they will have chance to look at how the decisions in a battle can affect its outcome. In addition, as they did with the Romans, they will be able to explore an ancient civilisation who were a polytheism culture.
Inclusion in Geography
We do not want to put a ceiling on our children’s learning. It is imperative that all children, especially those with special education needs or disabilities, access an ambitious, broad, challenging and inspiring curriculum. It should not be narrowed nor should the default position be to expect children not to be able to achieve. High expectations of all of our children are at the heart of our vision and this of course includes all children and all areas of the curriculum.