Geography is a rich and diverse subject that gives children the opportunity to learn about diverse places, people, resources, environments and the effect of mankind. It inspires a curiosity and fascination about the world from an early age and fosters enthusiasm and a passion for learning. By studying the beauty of Earth and the awesome power of Earth-shaping forces, we can fascinate, inspire and create globally-aware pupils.
Whilst the importance of geographical knowledge is recognised, we also wish to enable children to become lifelong geographers who have the skills and attitudes to continue to appreciate the world around them. Throughout the Geography curriculum at Portway, children will learn the Earth’s key physical and human processes. They will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how these affect landscapes and environments. Many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices – cannot be understood without a geographical perspective.
Our Geography Curriculum develops the essential characteristics of geographers:
The Geography curriculum is designed to help pupils form a Geography mental model within their long-term memories.
Schema theory states that all knowledge is organised into units. A mental model is, therefore, a conceptual system for understanding knowledge.
Our Geography Mental model is a way of organising Geography substantive and disciplinary knowledge in a meaningful way; it is an appreciation of how facts are connected and the ways in which they are connected. It is distinct from information, which is just isolated facts that have no organisational basis or links.
Big Ideas help form the basis of the mental model. Big Ideas are key concepts that underpin the subject. There are three Big Ideas in Geography:
Each Big Idea has knowledge strands which help to strengthen the mental model. Learning knowledge in each of the strands allows pupils to express and demonstrate their understanding of the Big Idea, which gradually develops as pupils return to them over and over again.