Geography is the subject that really can change the future of our planet for the children at our school! In lessons, children at Manor Farm appreciate how everywhere within our world is interlinked, how cultures and heritage are a part of everyday life and how our impact on the environment may change our planet forever. Geography not only teaches an understanding of places and environments, it allows children to develop a sense of self and identity and to value their own and other people’s cultures in modern, multicultural Britain. By considering how people live and their impact on the environment they are better informed to make their own life choices in the future.
At Manor Farm the children’s love of geography is developed through deep enquiry, allowing the children to develop research-based skills research. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use computing regularly where this serves to enhance their learning. Children take part in discussions and debates and present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue.
Field work trips are a highlight of the curriculum. The success of the day is seen by the muddy boots, massive smiles and reliable data collected by the children. This is used within the classroom and these experiences deepen their love for the subject.
Throughout lessons children use maps, atlases and globes to locate countries. They are taught to use the four points of a compass and four figure grid references.
Children look at the local area in which they live and how this relates to their place in the United Kingdom and Europe. Their digit mapping skills are developed through using Google Earth, with much glee experienced when they find their own and other’s homes and the locating of different land uses as shown on the digit maps.
The water cycle links closely to our science units and is a great starting point for children to extend their knowledge of rivers and water. They look at local rivers and create sketch maps, plans and graphs to show their understanding.
We use the eight points of a compass and six-figure grid references to help children build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world. They use the index and contents of an atlas to help locate places. During their field trip to High Wycombe they develop their observation, measuring and presenting skills when looking at the human features in the local area and using a range of methods to record their findings, including the use of digital technologies.
We study both volcanoes and the Romans in Year 4. The intentional intertwining of these two topics deepens the children’s comprehension and brings the subjects to life. They particularly enjoy homemade volcanoes in the classroom for an explosion of understanding!
We compare the differences of life in the UK compared to the rest of Europe, using Switzerland as an example. This topic is brought to life through personal experiences, an understanding of trade across the continent, and how trade may change.
Through looking at North America, children study the impact that earthquakes can have on our World. They consider how and why the population of the continent lives where it does and the distribution of wealth and natural resources.
The local study of the Chilterns closely links to a history lesson unit – History of our County – which allows the children to be immersed in their local area and develop their identity towards this. Within this area of work children work closely with the Chiltern Society to hone their skills in reading OS maps and the collection of data through fieldwork.
This unit of study envelopes many aspects of everyday geography – from longitude and latitude lines, considering time zones, and the climate zones of the World. Children use the eight points on a compass and six-figure grid references, symbols and complex keys. In their field trip to Wendover they develop their observation, measuring, and presenting skills when looking at the physical features in the local area and using a range of methods to record their findings, including the use of digital technologies.
In Year 6, children begin to use the sixteen points on a compass and six-figure grid reference, but also analyse how and why different types of maps give different perspectives from across the world.
The study of South America closely links to the Maya topic of History. This is a deliberate choice to allow the children to study in depth this area of the world. Children examine the different biomes of the world and the continent (of which there are many) and the concept of Fairtrade through industries linked with the Amazon Rainforest. Mountains are also considered in this wide ranging unit of study.