In Geography, students study the world around them, investigating a broad range of topics, from urban growth in Brazil to the impact of earthquakes in Japan. Students learn about the physical and human geography processes that cause change, from the local to the global scale. Students acquire skills such as the use of maps and analysing data that help them to study places and the ways they can be managed sustainably. They are expected to apply the geographical concepts and their knowledge to new situations.
Students are encouraged to research topics and become independent learners – there are elements of project work from Years 7 to 13. They are encouraged to apply thinking skills to use evidence to reach conclusions and to be able to offer their own explanations. The curriculum also helps students to consider why interest groups may disagree about the management of the natural environment and urban areas.
Students carry out fieldwork which helps to bring the subject alive and aids their understanding. Cumbria offers many superb opportunities for students to undertake field studies on topics such as glaciation, tourism and coastal management. At A Level the department runs field trips abroad to places such as Italy and Iceland.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7 students will study five topics: What is Geography?; Rocks, Soils & Weathering; Rivers & Flooding and Map reading & Settlements. In Year 8 students study four topics: The Weather; Europe; Reading the landscape and Coasts. Here in Year 8 students have the opportunity to undertake a fieldstudy to St Bees to see coastal erosion at first hand. Finally in Year 9 students study Eartquakes & Volcanoes; World Development; Polar Environments and Exploring Ghana. These topics develop students geographical skills useful for GCSE Geography and build up world knowledge.
Geography is a popular option at GCSE and A Level at Cockermouth School with an established teaching team and the benefit of access to the stunning scenery of the Lake District.
The Department has five members of staff and is housed in the Main School teaching block. There are four main teaching rooms. Each classroom has interactive whiteboard with links to the school's intranet and an extensive library of DVDs.
Key Stage 4
GCSE (AQA 9030)
In GCSE Geography students develop a wide range of skills, including those of collecting and processing data from different sources, interpreting maps, photographs and satellite images and the use of ICT. The main topics taught are earthquakes and volcanoes, rivers and water resources, coastal geography, tourism, urban environments and international development. Fieldwork involves a trip to a honeypot site in the Lake District to investigate the impact of tourism.
Key Stage 5
AS (AQA 1031)
Geography at AS Level pursues one topic from GCSE (Rivers) but the rest are new to students. The core topics taught are Population, Energy Issues, Rivers and their Management, Cold Environments. There is also a geographical investigation carried out in the Buttermere valley to investigate the relationship between river discharge and drainage basin areas. Understanding of this fieldwork experience is tested in the AS exams. There is no coursework.
A Level (AQA 2031)
The core topics of Geography in Year 13 are Plate Tectonics and Associated Hazards, Weather and Climate and Associated Hazards, Development and Globalisation and Contemporary Conflicts. In addition to an examination on these topics a synoptic exam tests pupils understanding of the management of a range of physical and human issues in a small area through the study of an Advance Information Booklet, issued before the exam period.
Outside the Classroom
Fieldwork is part of geographical studies in the School. Cockermouth’s situation gives easy access to a rich variety of contrasting environments including the Lake District and the Cumbrian coast. In addition, we have run an overseas field trip for sixth form Geographers on a biannual basis to Italy (2010), Iceland (2012 and 2014). An expedition to Iceland is planned for 2016.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/geography/ (the old bitesize website – still the most complete)
BBC news website (all of Geography is topical and in the news!)