Welcome to the Geography Department!
Throughout their time at Gateacre students will have the opportunity to discover the world in their geography lessons with the department aiming to make sure that students are not only learning about the world, but are also prepared to go out into it when they leave school and be successful in it.
The department holds 2 nationally recognised accreditations awarded by the Geographical Association (GA) in 2015- the Secondary Geography Quality Mark (SGQM) & Centre of Excellence (CoE) status illustrating its commitment to teaching and learning. As well as being a member of the GA the department is also a member of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and is also the lead subject across the school in the Global Learning Programme (GLP).
Meet the Staff
- Mr A. Smith (Head of Department)
- Mrs S. Woodhall (2nd in Dept)
- Mr A. Killip
- Mr J. Povlotsky
Geography at Key Stage 3
Students at KS3 (Years 7-9) have 2 lessons of Geography per week.
Our Year 7 students start the year by completing a baseline enquiry that covers topics and issues that they may have completed at primary school so that their teacher can help them make the best possible start at Gateacre. Students are provided with feedback and targets to work on over their first few weeks. Many Year 7 students will have also received a ‘Geography Passport’ over the summer holidays to complete through the departments work with local primary schools. The passport is full of exciting activities and quizzes again to help students make the best possible progress at Gateacre when they start in September.
Students in year 7 also complete units such as ‘What is Geography?’ which focuses on introducing them to the different types of Geography. Students will learn about Physical, Human and Environmental Geography. They will study the major features of UK Geography and the major oceans, continents, rivers and mountain ranges of the world. This unit is designed to stimulate interest, enjoyment and a sense of wonder about the world’s places and environments but also provide them with a firm grounding.
Another unit which students complete is ‘Mapping my world’, where students look at the essential elements of map reading. The skills in this unit will provide students with the knowledge that they need to successfully interpret a variety of maps which will be used across the different Key Stages. Students will learn how to work out distances and use scale, interpret map symbols and contours and use 4 and 6 grid references as well as practice their orienteering skills.
Students also study rivers and what happens to them on their journey to the sea with the chance to complete some 3D models as well as completing other units such as deserts & settlements throughout their first year.
Year 7 students are also offered the opportunity to take part in a fieldtrip to a local shopping centre to undertake a shopping enquiry. Some Year 7 students are also invited to attend a fieldtrip to visit Loggerheads Country Park in North Wales to complete an orienteering course as well as a mini river study to build on their classroom learning.
Year 8 is a great year in Geography. Students have a close encounter with rainforest animals when the department is visited by the ‘Rainforest Roadshow’ where students have the chance to handle some rainforest animals whilst completing their ‘Extreme Environments’ unit. Students also investigate temperature and wind differences around the school grounds when completing a microclimate study in the ‘Weather and Climate’ unit.
A popular unit is ‘Volcanoes and Earthquakes’ with students competing against each other making their own erupting volcano!
Year 9 is another exciting year in Geography with lots of different units on offer. Year 9 is also an important year as students must choose their GCSE options.
For 2015 Geography was the most popular optional subject at GCSE at Gateacre!
Students start off the year by completing a mini unit entitled ‘Geography in the news’ where they review all the geographical news that has hit the headlines over the summer holidays. Students go on to look at a number of contemporary issues in their other units that help to bring geography to life. Students complete units on population and migration, Antarctica, Supervolcanoes and tsunamis alongside units such as urbanisation, rocks and the Middle East.
Year 9 students are also offered the opportunity to take part in a fieldtrip visiting the world famous White Scar Cave and Malham located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Year 9 have also visited the Valley Theatre investigating the impact of flooding on the local area.
The Geography department has worked hard to make lessons fun and interesting so that all our students gain a better understanding about their place in the World and to ensure they are prepared to take Geography at GCSE if they wish.
To view the Key Stage 3 long term plan please click here
GCSE (Current Year 11)
At GCSE students have 3 or 4 Geography lessons depending on their route from KS3 and currently follow the AQA A specification which incorporates lots of relevant and contemporary geographical issues.
Unit 1 Physical Geography (33.3%):
Students will choose from 3 of the following units:
- The Restless Earth
- Rocks, resources and scenery
- Challenge of Weather and Climate
- Living World
- Water on the Land
- Ice on the Land
- The Coastal Zone
Unit 2 Human Geography (33.3%):
Students will choose 3 of the following units:
- Population change
- Changing urban environments
- Changing rural environments
- The development gap
Unit 3 Controlled Assessment (coursework) (25%):
Students participate in a residential trip to Ambleside located in the Lake District National Park to collect information for their Controlled Assessment. Students spent 2 exciting days researching how tourism benefits Ambleside staying close to Lake Windermere. Other students visit the Albert Dock to complete similar fieldwork.
On return to school students spend several weeks completing their coursework ready to submit their projects before Christmas. The Controlled Assessment is an important part of the course worth up to 25% of a students final GCSE grade.
Students who choose GCSE geography are also offered the opportunity to participate in a fieldtrip aboard in Year 10. This year students are travelling to Iceland at Easter for 5 days visiting spectacular attractions such as the world famous Blue Lagoon, the Mid Atlantic Ridge, Gullfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls as well as the capital-Reykjavik.
GCSE Geography 2016 (9-1). Exam board: Edexcel Geography A (Current Year 10)
What you will be studying
You will be studying a range of topics from both the Human and Physical sides of Geography. Students will also have the opportunity to take part in exciting fieldtrips in preparation for their exams.
Component 1: The Physical Environment
- Topic 1: The changing landscapes of the UK – including optional sub-topics from which students choose two from three:
- 1A: Coastal landscapes and processes,1B: River landscapes and processes or 1C: Glaciated upland landscapes and processes
- Topic 2: Weather hazards and climate change
- Topic 3: Ecosystems, biodiversity and management
Component 2: The Human Environment
- Topic 4: Changing cities
- Topic 5: Global development
- Topic 6: Resource management – including optional sub-topics from which students choose one from two:
- 6A: Energy resource management or 6B: Water resource management
Component 3: Geographical Investigations: Fieldwork and UK Challenges
- Topic 7: Geographical investigations − fieldwork
- Topic 8: Geographical investigations − UK challenges
How you will learn
You will acquire a range of skills through field work, map and atlas work, using IT, graphic and presentational work, discussion and group work using a number of different resources. We use a variety of teaching styles including interactive lessons to access all students learning styles.
How you will be assessed
- Physical Environment exam paper: 1 hr 30 mins worth 37.5% of grade
- Human Environment exam paper: 1 hr 30 mins worth 37.5% of grade
- Geographical investigations: 1hr 30 mins worth 25% of grade
What to do next
Speak to your Geography teacher for more information.
A Level Geography
Its official Geography is the must have A Level!
According to the Royal Geography Society 13% more students took the subject at A Level this year than last, up to 37,100 - the biggest jump of any of the major subjects!
A Level Geography is a subject in a unique position in that it can keep degree course choice open as it is regarded as both a science and a humanities subject. This can help you to keep your option choices open and not restrict your future career choices.
Methods of teaching and learning are important to students. At Gateacre, in the Geography Department, we aim to provide our students with the skills necessary to further their studies as independent learners in higher education.
Students will also develop their thinking and analysis skills as well as developing a wider understanding of contemporary issues.
We use a variety of interesting and interactive teaching and learning techniques and provide students with a range of opportunities to enhance their experience.
Students have 6 lessons of Geography at A Level and are usually taught by 2-3 members of the Geography Department.
“Relevant, up-to-date, interesting, exciting, challenging and well taught”. These are just some of the comments of students who have studied Geography at Gateacre.
Studying AS Geography gives you the opportunity to investigate both physical and human Geography. Students follow the AQA syllabus. It is composed of two units.
Unit 1: GEOG 1 Physical and Human Geography (70%)
Students study compulsory topics such as ‘Rivers, Floods and Management’ and ‘Population Change’ - along with optional topics which are currently ‘Cold Environments’ and ‘Health Issues’.
Unit 2: GEOG 2 Geographical Skills (30%)
This unit helps you build on geographical skills. Throughout the year students construct various types of maps and graphs as well as using ICT and statistical skills. These practical methods will be assessed in the examination together with questions based on a compulsory topic from GEOG 1. AS Geography is not all about the theory either. You’ll get the opportunity to visit places of geographic interest and don your wellingtons, dig out the waterproofs and roll up your sleeves with some fieldwork. At present students attend a 1 day fieldtrip to the River Alyn in North Wales and also a residential field trip to Malham Tarn Field Study Centre in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The centre is based within a large Georgian country house with excellent accommodation, teaching facilities and staff.
In the second year students have the opportunity to build on their AS success.
Unit 3: GEOG 3 Contemporary Geographical Issues (30%)
This unit allows students to investigate topics surrounding ‘Weather, Climate and Associated Hazards’, ‘World Cities’ and Plate Tectonics’. This is complemented by GEOG 4.
Unit 4: GEOG 4 Geographical Issue Evaluation (20%)
This unit gives candidates the opportunity to use their skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. An advance information booklet is pre-released prior to the exam to facilitate candidates’ research into an area which extends from the specification content. This contains text extracts, maps, graphs and tables on a relevant geographical topic. Structured short and extended questions will then be based on the booklet.
2016 AQA A Level Geography
Component 1: Physical geography
How it's assessed
Component 2: Human geography
How it's assessed
Component 3: Geography fieldwork investigation
How it's assessed
Where can Studying Geography at Gateacre take me?
Geography is a subject that really compliments other subjects. Our students go on to take a variety of courses at university and enter a wide range of careers such as Law, Journalism, Teaching, Languages, Dentistry, Business, Design, Engineering, Earth Science, Art, Sculpture and Geography.
Want to know more about studying Geography at Gateacre? Contact Mr Smith - Head of Geography on 0151 363 1111.