WHY ARE WE TEACHING A KNOWLEDGE-RICH CURRICULUM; HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
The Geographical Association believes that a knowledge rich curriculum should be delivered within a school environment. At Smithdon High School, we support this view. This will develop rounded Geographers who can make well-informed decisions about the future of the planet, and their role within society as global citizens.
Having read the quote below from the Geographical Association we felt this should be part of our reasoning for teaching a knowledge rich curriculum.
“A knowledge-rich curriculum in geography builds up students’ geographical knowledge through mastery of geographical concepts. Making sense of new knowledge depends on their prior knowledge and, over time through geographical study, students begin to develop the breadth and depth of geographical knowledge that allows them to spot similarities and differences and make comparisons between places and processes. When they have this knowledge at their fingertips they can assimilate new information and begin to grapple with the complex geographical ideas such as sustainable development”
WHY ARE WE TEACHING THIS CONTENT?
The content covered at KS3 includes physical geography, for example, weather and climate; human geography, for example population; and environmental geography, for example the impacts of climate change. Embedded within this are synoptic units e.g Africa which uses the knowledge and skills developed throughout the course.
We have designed the curriculum with the aim that pupils learn the geographical content included within the Geography National Curriculum. With our colleagues within the West Norfolk Academies Trust we have positioned content across the Key Stage allowing for continual application of knowledge to geographical situations.
It is important that pupils reach the end of Key Stage 3 having learnt sufficient subject knowledge of geography. The curriculum should also serve as a foundation and long-term preparation for both GCSE and A-level geography.
WHY ARE WE TEACHING IT IN THIS ORDER?
We start KS3 at a small scale by consolidating work covered at KS2 with a focus on map skills and the British Isles. We then begin to introduce geographical concepts and theories which are later applied to larger areas both locally and globally.
WHAT DO PUPILS NEED TO REMEMBER AND BE ABLE TO DO IN THIS SUBJECT?
It is expected that pupils are able to remember, recall, and use specialist geographical vocabulary. Throughout the topics they are taught a range of substantive knowledge which they apply in extended written answers to investigate a topical issue. For example, the potential for tourism in areas that have experienced glaciation, whether Brexit has been a success and the reasons behind the Russia Ukraine tensions.
WHAT METHODS DO WE USE TO HELP PUPILS SECURE THIS KNOWLEDGE IN LONG-TERM MEMORY?
To embed the use of subject specific vocabulary, we use a knowledge organiser and make clear reference to key terms. In class, we use retrieval quizzes in every lesson to aid knowledge recall and check for any gaps in understanding. Backing up the use of the knowledge organiser, students are set questions to answer from Educake.
Also, within lessons regular, short, exam style questions are utilised to secure and develop their use of knowledge using a range of command words. Pupils regularly receive feedback and use the feedback to improve their understanding and written answers.
To ensure fluency of skills, we use map extracts and data response tasks in every KS3 summative assessment. This ensures that skills are demonstrated frequently and supports the long term memory.
To view the Geography Curriculum Overview click here.
More information on the Geography Department can be found here.