Curriculum Giveaway 2.0 – Geography

A few weeks back, I released a package of curriculum materials relating to the primary science curriculum (see this blog for further details about the science stuff: https://primarycolour.home.blog/2021/04/07/curriculum-giveaway-2-0-science/)

As promised, here are the geography curriculum overviews and written texts in the same format:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ScQZlwCr87JbPR5uqrZXAiiNyEBkGzwG?usp=sharing

A few caveats:

  1. Of the three curriculum packages that I intend to release, this is the one that is the least developed. I think it is in a perfectly functional state (i.e. content chosen carefully, sensibly ordered, etc), but there are definitely some aspects that could use – and will receive – further development in the coming year or so (e.g. geographical enquiries, resources to support individual lessons, etc). Naturally, a curriculum is never truly finished, and I thought it more useful to release this now than to wait until I’m much more satisfied with it.
  2. The order of the individual topics is not exactly what I would choose if I were to create a geography curriculum document from scratch with a completely free hand. (There were some constraints that affected topic sequencing that I won’t bore you with here.) That said, the order is still, I hope, sensible, with the key concepts and vocabulary building on what has come before. Potential niggles, for example the teaching of rivers before mountains, may seem less than ideal, but children really only need to understand the idea of higher ground in order to understand rivers and the water cycle; they don’t necessarily need to know the difference between a fault-block mountain and a plateau mountain before they can grasp the idea that water tends to move downhill. It is easy for those developing curricula, once they have made up their mind, to assume that the way they have ordered things is the only sensible way. In more hierarchical subjects, like mathematics, there is some truth in this, but in geography the ordering of topics is much more a matter of preference. One person’s “poor sequencing” is another person’s “artful sensitisation to later topics”. That said, there are definitely certain concepts that require extra thought when it comes to ordering. (It seems more sensible, say, for children to learn what trade is before they learn what an economy is.) I hope that this has been achieved in these overviews, and I am happy to take constructive feedback.
  3. Naturally, any curriculum – especially one relating to people’s interactions with places – is bound to be built to suit the needs of a particular community. It is also built to complement other aspects of the wider curriculum (e.g. science, history), making connections and filling gaps. (An example of this is the water cycle which is primarily taught in the science curriculum and then retrieved in the geography curriculum.) Nevertheless, I hope that this curriculum work can still be supportive for those developing their own curriculum and can perhaps even signpost some of the ways that a geography curriculum can be personalised to fit with a specific school. If you want to discuss this with me, please get in touch.

In making this, I was indebted to the ideas and inspiration of the wonderful people of EduTwitter, especially @MrsSTeaches, @Mr_AlmondED and @ClareSealy. Any strengths in this work are credit to them; any weaknesses are all on me.

If you are wondering how I have gained permission from my school to share these, then allow me to explain: Firstly, I have the privilege of working with people who see the education system as I do (i.e. an essentially collaborative enterprise, regardless of the systemic forces that impel schools to compete with one another). Secondly, I have done a lot of unpaid work on these curriculum documents in my own time. The schools I have worked for have always been aware that part of the deal of me doing this is that I am then free to share the results as I see fit.

I hope you find this stuff to be useful. If you do, please direct other teachers you know to these resources in the hope that we might save teachers some time and support some schools in their curriculum development.

Finally, if you find this stuff really useful, and you decide you want to chuck a few quid somewhere out of a sense of unnecessary gratitude, why not give my new book on primary reading a chance? It’s available to pre-order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Science-Teaching-Primary-Reading-Corwin/dp/1529764165/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

As with any writing I do, all royalties/fees will be going to the Malaria Consortium, a GiveWell-recommended charity. More details about the Malaria Consortium can be found here:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christopher-such2

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