Nelly, KS3 Geography Teacher
We have developed a range of exciting and engaging online resources to enliven geography lessons at KS3.
The resources found in this section have been developed, written and reviewed by teachers, for teachers.
Up-to-date and ready to use but easily adaptable, with support for teachers not trained as geographers, they cover both new and familiar topics from Climate Change to 2012 Olympics in an innovative way. Combining up-to-date geographical research with taster online lessons they are an essential resource for teaching about the new national curriculum for KS3 launched in 2007.
If you are interested in getting involved in developing these new resources or have views on topics that have a particular need for new and inspirational materials, please contact Eleanor Coulber at the RGS-IBG.
The KS3 Resources strand of the Action Plan for Geography is run by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
KS3 Resources overview
Selecting content to teach the key concepts of the new KS3 geography needs a conceptual framework behind it in order to justify the choice of content. Teachers need to select content and plan a three year KS3 geography curriculum that suits the needs of their particular school’s circumstances that covers the key concepts and processes in the PoS whilst delivering balance of geographical approaches.
The framework outlined in the document aims to be a bridging tool between content focussed ‘topics’ –the vehicles for teaching the key concepts and processes – programme of study itself and a also to aid with planning a balanced, yet tailored to particular circumstances, geography course over three years.
KS3 is the last time every young person has a statutory entitlement to a geographical education before they may or may not chose to pursue it voluntarily.
For those who do not choose to do geography after KS3 we urge that the element of geographical entitlement that prepares and informs young people for the challenges of their medium and long–term futures.
In this section we explore different approaches to providing curriculum opportunities in the following areas:
- Using ICT
- Using images
- Using GIS
- Fieldwork and local learning
- Geographical issues in the news
- Cross-curricular, community and business links
- Learning outside the classroom
- Education for Sustainable Development
- Cultural Understanding and Diversity
- Active participation in geography
- Embedding ICT, GIS and other ‘Curriculum Opportunities’ of the Key Stage 3 Programme of Study using the KS3 Resources from Geography Teaching Today website is a useful collection of exemplars with links to the free ready to use resources on this website.
According to the QCA Programme of Study, during the key stage pupils should be offered the following opportunities that are integral to their learning and enhance their engagement with the concepts, processes and content of the subject.
The curriculum should provide opportunities for pupils to:
- use a range of enquiry approaches
- use varied resources, including maps, visual media and geographical information systems
- participate in informed responsible action in relation to geographical issues that affect them and those around them
- examine geographical issues in the news
- investigate important issues of relevance to the UK and globally, using a range of skills including ICT
- undertake fieldwork investigations in different locations outside the classroom, individually and as part of a team
- make links between geography and work in other subjects and areas of the curriculum.
Geographical information systems
GIS is valuable for mapping and visualising information as well as linking and analysing different spatial datasets. There should be opportunities to learn with GIS and to learn about GIS.
Participate in informed responsible action
This enhances pupils’ understanding of how geography has meaning and relevance to their own lives. It can also help them make informed and independent decisions and take action both at a personal level and as citizens in society.
Fieldwork provides opportunities analyse issues in real contexts. Fieldwork also links study to pupils’ personal experience of places and environments.
Different locations outside the classroom
New KS3 Programme of Study
Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson said:
“The new draft Curriculum is designed to create greater flexibility for schools so they can ensure pupils master the basics as well as offer more stretching opportunities for those who excel.
“The curriculum should evolve to meet a rapidly changing world, and enable teachers to teach in a way that will continue to interest and enthuse their pupils. These proposals move us away from a ‘one size fits all’ curriculum to one that offers more flexibility to tailor teaching to pupils’ needs and aspirations. More flexibility for teachers, more interesting for pupils.
“More emphasis has been placed on developing in-depth understanding of the key ideas and practice of particular subjects. But crucially, it is balanced with the retention of tried and tested parts of the curriculum as well as giving young people better personal skills greatly valued by employers.
Some of the key changes and retained elements to geography include sustainable development and environmental change being given a much stronger focus as a theme throughout the curriculum.
Sir Anthony Greener, QCA chairman, said that the revised curriculum will help learners to contribute to social cohesion, whilst developing a sense of self, community, nation and global citizenship, ideas which have long been at the centre
of geography and history.
In a new challenge for some geography teachers, there will be a move away from subject content to a concern about the nature and impact of the subject itself: “how do we get students to be geographers of the highest quality” said, Director of Curriculum, QCA, Mick Waters.
However, things that have stood the test of time in the curriculum will survive confirmed Waters: “Anne Boleyn will still be beheaded; Romeo will still love Juliet; and the Pennines will remain the back-bone of England.”
The increased flexibility of the PoS provides not only opportunities but also potential pitfalls. What ‘version’ of KS3 geography are you going to teach? One that is enjoyable, inspiring and relevant to students; is good for teachers: a course that staff can teach effectively and enthusiastically, including non-specialists; and is good for geography: reinforcing the relevance of the discipline, its connectivity with GCSE & A-level and that encourages take-up. This is easier said than done. What content are you going to use to teach it and why?