Our Geography learning has always happened as part of our projects, when we learnt about Vikings we also learnt a lot about Scandinavia and the parts of Europe that the Vikings invaded, whenever we learn about animals we always learn about their habitats and how the animals adapted to suit their habitats, even our map work actually came as a result of my sons airplane interest and then again we revisited it while reading our How to Train Your Dragon Books. Geography always seems to effortlessly slip in with our project work and I must admit I really like that. And this year I really want to keep that natural flow but add some more with in-depth learning for my daughter.
We are currently in a slight map craze. Whenever we watch a documentary or read a book which includes countries or significant landforms we jot them down onto our maps. Very simple, nothing fancy but this simple act has really meant the kids are remembering where the different places are and they really enjoy having maps that they have created.
We have been using the different Continent Maps from Activity Village for this. My plan is to continue with this as much as we can. We are definitely going to be doing it while we watch our River documentaries that I have lined up and I also want to expand on our Africa map, I have some cool animal themes documentaries that talk about significant areas in Arica that I think will work well with the map idea.
And we are going to stick to our country learning idea (pin the label onto the country) just because it has worked really well and both the kids enjoy it. I also want to bring in more flag recognition (I like the flag pages from Activity Village for this)
For us all of this happens very naturally, it is not considered a project the kids like watching the documentaries and then adding info to maps.
I do also want to do more detailed map work with my daughter – like creating relief maps, drawing cross sections of maps. For that I have found some nice pages on the Twinkl Secondary site (Twinkl links – Drawing cross sections of a map, compass directions, sketch maps).
And Twinkl have a FREE to download Map Skills Set. Oaka Books also have a new Map Skills Board game that looks interesting (we have not tried it out but I am thinking it might be a good Geography resource).
And of course we are sticking with the On the Map game. This game has been a hit with my daughter and I have noticed that every time we play it she retains more and more information so there is definitely learning happening while we play the game. The game also comes with two different boards – Europe and the Rest of the World – which means you can focus on either at a time – I really like this.
Topics. Because we want to do more detailed map work I am not sure if we will complete 2 or 3 topics (I am thinking 2 topics as my daughter really likes the map work and is keen to work on a few projects around it). Anyway for Topics I know we are going to look at Rivers in detail (it ties in nicely with some topics we have been looking at) but I am not sure if we will then do a Weather and Climate topic or Plate Tectonics. We can decide on that later.
For now I have three Oaka Books Topic Packs. We have used their topics packs for History but we have never used a Geography Topic pack. It looks the same – a topic booklet with summarized key facts – very visual – so pictures depicting the key points and no long paragraphs – we like this format.
Then a Topic workbook where the kids can write in the key words and make sure they understand what they have read in the Topic Booklet and a Learning Game. In the past the learning games that come with the topic packs have always been very popular with my daughter, she likes this way of learning so I am hopeful that the learning games included in the Geography Topic Packs will also be as popular with her. (For those of you interested Oaka Books have other Geography Topics here – Oaka Books Key Stage 3 Geography).
With all of these topics I always try and find documentaries to watch with the kids and books to read. We don’t just read through the topic booklet and leave it as that for us the strength of these Topics packs is the way they summarize the information into Key points. The Key points are starting points for further investigation, and a good summary after we have gotten lost in the detail (This is important for us – when we learnt about the Battle of Hastings my daughter went into incredible detail, I loved watching her explore the topic like she did, finding out about different sources and opinions but I also needed to bring her back and remind of the key points and not just focus on her tangents. She tends to get lost in detail so I feel like a good key point source helps her.)
For the three Topics above I have already found some extra pages to use. Here are a few ideas.
Rivers. I like the World River Map from Twinkl but apart from that the only other River item I thought we could use was their Year 6 Pack (I know they are still adding to their Secondary site). I have however found quite a few FREE to download River pages on the Teachit Geography site which look like they could be very useful (just type in river in their search bar and you get a lot of resources all around rivers, erosion and flooding). Just a few that I found – How does a river system operate, the long profile of a river, river landforms, river processes and a river’s journey.
Weather and Climate. I found quite a bit on the Twinkl Secondary site for this – Weather and Climate Unit of Work. I still need to go through it all but it looks like there is quite a bit there that we could use. For those of you with Free Teachit Geography membership I also found some interesting looking pages on their site – UK weather, Extreme weather, Climate but I have not gone into detail yet of what they have.
Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes and Volcanoes. We have already looked at this a few times but it is just an interesting topic and every time we go into more and more detail. (We recently revisited it with a documentary about Pompeii – I really liked tying the two topics together). But it is something that we do need to go back and do more detail. (If you are near London the Natural History Museum have a great section on this).
Twinkl Secondary have a few interesting looking under what they call Restless Earth.
Teachit Geography have a number of pages under Structure of the Earth, Plate Boundaries, Earthquakes and Volcanoes. If you are covering this topic I would recommend having a look on the Teachit Geography site.
Admin Bit – I was given the Oaka Books Geography Topic Packs. I have a free membership with the Teachit Geography site and I used to have a subscription with Twinkl (so they may have added new items they I have not mentioned).