KS3 | Geography

Key Stage 3 geography aims to develop students’ skills in writing, presentation and numeracy through the study of contemporary and engaging topics. It begins with issues and places local to students’ experiences before widening in scope to more global issues in Year 8.

Key Stage 3 Co-Ordinator:

Mr G Delbourgo  (HoD) 


Year 7:

Autumn term

Students will begin the year by gaining an understanding of what geography is and investigating the geography of their local area. Developing abilities with geographical skills begins with an introduction to essential atlas and OS map skills; these foundations are designed to build students’ confidence and develop competence so that they begin GCSE studies fully prepared. Students are first assessed on the map skills themselves, before working collaboratively on route planning for the expedition. The DofE expedition story is written up as an individual piece of work following the group work (route planning).

Students then begin a physical geography unit on weather and climate, which continues into the New Year.

Spring term

The New Year continues with the unit on weather and climate, which includes a look at the hydrological cycle and types of rain. Throughout, students are developing a number of skills, such as graph plotting and interpretation, logical reasoning and explaining effectively / developing ideas through making explicit linked statements. After February half term, the focus switches to some contemporary human geographical issues, set within the context of the world’s megacities (e.g. slums, population growth, migration, etc.)

Summer term

‘Our Living World’ is a unit on the Earth’s ecosystems. This physical geography topic aims to answer questions such as: ‘where does my breakfast come from?’; ‘how do humans fit in to the web of life and how are they changing it?’ Biomes such as temperate deciduous forests and coral reefs are used to illustrate the key concepts and issues.

There is, of course, time built-in to the latter part of the term for revision, in the run-up to end-of-year examinations.

The year concludes with a focus on the continent of Africa, aiming to tackle the many misconceptions people have about the people, wildlife and landscapes. The High Atlas mountains of Morocco will be used to illustrate many themes, from both physical & human geography, at both local, regional and continental & planetary scales.

Year 8:

Autumn term

Students begin the year with a focus on human geography and the development of nations. The main focus of this unit is to gain an understanding of what progress means for countries and societies, how this can be measured and what these measurement statistics tell us about how developed a place is compared to others; this is done through an investigation into Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so-called ‘BRICs’) in which a justified evaluation of the most developed country is made. BLM content is explicitly addressed, with students required to evaluate the extent to which colonialism has been responsible for the development gap

After October half term, the emphasis shifts towards physical geography – with an overview of physical landscapes of the UK (coastal, river and formerly glaciated upland environments) –  exploring how natural processes lead to changes in the landscape.

Spring term

The New Year begins with the study of plate tectonics to gain a secure understanding of why earthquakes and volcanoes occur where they do and the landscapes they create. The assessment for this unit is a decision-making exercise in which students develop their skills in making links and justifying their decisions, with supporting evidence.

A detailed investigation into tropical revolving storms, as part of investigating extreme weather, then follows – exploring their global distribution, causes and impacts, through a contemporary case study.

Summer term

The focus then switches closer to home, with a unit of work centred on the many contemporary challenges we face here in the UK; from poverty to waste management and water supply to energy and pollution, this scheme of learning aims to raise awareness of the impact of human activity on our immediate surroundings.

There is then time, built-in to the latter part of the term, for revision, in the run-up to end-of-year examinations.

Before the summer break, the scale of study is expanded by examining global issues facing people and planet, such as plastic in the oceans, climate change, conflict zones, the impact of mass tourism and wilderness areas under threat. The year concludes with a transition to GCSE unit – a short series of lessons on fieldwork and geographical skills.