Pupils enjoy confronting issues such as how an endangered species can be protected or if tourism should be allowed in Antarctica.
The study of Geography at Prior Park Prep School aims to develop pupils’ understanding of the planet we all share, and to help them realise its future is everyone’s responsibility. It is an important part of the curriculum to learn about living conditions in other parts of the globe and to have a knowledge of how environmental and climate issues have affected people’s lives. Children are naturally curious and respond well to enquiry based tasks in which they use their findings to think, reason and draw their own - or if working in a group - collective conclusions. Geography is exciting and thought provoking and pupils benefit hugely from the use of IT in lessons.
A knowledge of ‘where on Earth’ places are and how to locate them are underpinned through use of a variety of OS and digital maps, atlases and satellite images. Pupils are encouraged to use geographical terminology in discussion and written tasks. It's important to acknowledge the features of our own environment too and pupils produce maps of their route to school as well as a birds-eye view of where they live.
The beauty and fragility of the Earth is recognised and appreciated through the topics of Antarctica and the Amazon Rainforest, as is its power and destructive unpredictability seen during tectonic studies. The shape of the land, whether glacial valleys or lowlands for example, affect the decisions where people settle and how they are able to survive. Economic, as well as social issues, impact communities and the combination of physical and human geographical study is an attractive and inseparable characteristic of the subject.
An important element in Geography teaching at the school, and a further measurement of the children’s understanding, is the collection, recording and evaluation of data. There are plenty of opportunities for pupils to take readings of wind speed, air pressure and precipitation for example and to plot their results. Interpreting data and drawing conclusions from it is an important and necessary skill. Through the confident use of graphs and pie charts, pupils can transfer these valuable skills to Maths and Science. The fieldwork pupils undertake in Year 8, presents them with the perfect opportunity to develop these and other skills. This is an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate independent learning techniques through planning, organising and presenting their findings following a thorough fieldwork assignment.
Questioning is becoming an increasingly important part of Geography. Individual opinions are important and through research (via iPads), pupils are able to access and compile an impressive list of points to consider. Geography is a subject which is continually evolving and at the heart of our very existence. It is both an art and a science and the cross-curricular links achieved highlight the range and depth of study possible.