Geography: Why We Study It

The themes we study in Geography are vital for our young people. The curriculum tackles key global issues in both human and physical geography and provides them with the skills and knowledge to contribute successfully to the contemporary world. Ambitious and diverse topics challenge students to apply a range of transferable skills; interpretation, analysis, evaluation and map skills as well as the chance to work collaboratively through practical field study enquiries.

Geography ensures that students understand more of the world. We aim to develop a broadminded and worldly crew for their onward journey on spaceship Earth. Global citizens who recognise issues and environments on a local, national and international scale, who feel confident in taking their place in the world. Through the lens of equality, social responsibility and challenges, students are empowered to become change-makers in an ever changing world.

Through encouraging an enquiring mind we seek to develop independent and resilient life-long learners. “My geography teacher at school inspired me to a lifelong interest in geography and a curiosity about our world which has stayed with me through my life. Geography is a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and relevant. For me geography is a great adventure with a purpose.” Michael Palin

Geography: What We Study

Our Geographical Green Vine helps us to understand the world, its environments and places near and far, and the processes that create and affect the world. These green vine themes and location knowledge grows throughout all of the topics

Year 7:

The key stage three learning journey is progressing from the foundation key concepts laid at primary school of physical and human geography, interconnections and place, time and space.

Passport to the World is the beginning of our ‘green vine’ of location knowledge which twines through our learning, building understanding of where places are in the world at different scales. To enable Mullin Students to become more globally aware we look at the wider world to their place in the world from global, national and local perspective.

Map skills are key for geographers and in year 7 we become familiar with a range of map skills that will be drawn upon throughout our studies. Students have the opportunity to look more closely at our local area whilst practicing our skills.

With the focus on natural hazards, we begin to explore dynamic examples of physical geography that will be built upon in key stage four. Starting with rivers we recognise the physical processes at work, the landforms created and the challenge of flooding with the need for human management.

Plate tectonics takes us further afield to learn about earthquakes, volcanoes and associated hazards through an understanding of tectonic processes, the effect on human lives and peoples’ responses. Location knowledge will underpin our understanding as we take in these dramatic features and events.

Finally, though our regional case study of the Middle East we explore the physical and human geography of the area. Interconnections are made by understanding more of the environment of the region and cultural diversity. Location knowledge will pivot around the physical and human features of the region. The Middle East forms the appropriate backdrop for learning about the fossil fuels industries which will enable to us to build our understanding as we move to a more sustainable world in year 8.

Year 8:

In Year 8 we start our studies looking at the sustainable planet by delving down into climate change issues and misconceptions by sorting out the fact from the fiction. Studying both human and physical causes, impacts and changes, we look at the greenhouse effect, and how climate change is affecting the world. Through the recurring sustainability, natural hazards and equality themes we study the cause, effect and response of global warming and the future adaption and mitigation through the use of renewable energy sources and solutions to our carbon footprint. Location knowledge includes looking at the Artic Circle as well as more local responses with energy projects.

This leads smoothly into Cornish Coasts studies, looking at the physical processes, sand dune ecology and human management. The indepth study of coastal processes, effects and responses, looks at evidence-based studies of local areas and geology. Within the unit, location knowledge and recurring themes, including cause, effect and response, mapskills and processes, are applied through neighbourhood and UK maps, thus building a foundation for the GCSE topic in Key Stage 4. This progresses into studying Cornwall Rocks where we look at the types of rocks across the County, exploring classification, importance to the economy, and their distinctive landforms. Once again location knowledge interweaves it’s way through the topic through the study of distinctive landscapes in Cornwall, the environmental impact of China Clay and the Eden Project, and historical application of the World Heritage Status.

In order to gain a wider geographical awareness, the next topic is the study of Tropical Rainforests. Geographical skills are developed through mapping TRF locations, consideration of the reasons for their global position, and the use of climographs. Nutrient cycles are discussed as this topic links across to Climate Change through the research of rainforest destruction, the Palm Oil issues and their pressures on the environment. Sustainable options are also considered in order to reflect cause, effect and response. This once again builds a secure foundation for Key Stage 4.

We continue our journey through wild weather and microclimates. Comparisons are made between weather and climate to ensure clear understanding of the difference, followed by an indepth study of the UK weather, including depressions, extreme weathers and their effects. Cause, effect and response are considered through the study of natural hazards, regional comparisons, and data collection used to develop further skills.

This leads into Arid Africa, looking at both human and physical Geography, studying how it’s history explains the modern day continent. We look into the main biomes (climate and ecosystems) and the major physical features, including hot deserts and how nature has adapted to the environment.

Year 9:

Migration and urbanisation themes take us around the world again as we look at the opportunities and challenges of the growing megacities. We look through learning lens with an empathy filter to view the shared and varied human experience over different continents and countries. The ‘green vine’ of location knowledge underscores all our learning this again this year by revisiting and anchoring our location knowledge as we progress through interlinked topics.

World development encourages us to broaden our minds and sharpens our perspective of what development means to people and countries. Big topical issues including trade, aid and appropriate technology with the threads of equality, self-help and caring for others astutely weaving through.

Following on from this overview we concentrate the spotlight on to a country case study of Nigeria. We investigate the interconnections between the human and physical geography, look at Nigeria as a newly emerging economy and make comparisons with the UK. Our location knowledge will build upon that of year 8 with the emphasis on countries and physical features of the African continent.

This glides into returning to the UK to question how a high income country can also undergo change. Earlier themes of urbanisation, sustainability, opportunity and challenge are studied in the context of a UK city; themes that will spiral into key stage four for fieldwork investigation. Location detail will focus on UK counties, cities and smaller scale local maps.

Key Stage 4 Geography:

We have chosen to study the AQA Geography GCSE course, covering the topics that are outlined below.

Year 10:

Many topics studied through the course are building on foundations built at Key Stage 3. Natural hazards looks at the risks posed to people and property, followed by the global distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, their relationship to plate boundaries, and the physical tectonic processes that take place. Within these studies, continuous location knowledge is embedded to ensure geographical awareness. This unit progresses to the management of hazard impacts (prediction, protection and planning) with indepth casestudies looking at cause, effect and response.

Regions are compared and map skills are developed through the continued study of further natural hazards which include tropical storms. Their distribution, structure and features, and their effect on people and environments are explored through the study of casestudies to ensure understanding of climates becoming more extreme. This topic progresses into Climate Change where we look at the result of natural and human factors and how manging this change involves both mitigation and adaptation.

We move forward into the more human element of geography to look at the urban issues and challenges. Within this unit we focus on human processes, systems and outcomes and how these change both spatially and temporarily. Casestudies are used to look at a range of places, a variety of scales, and at differing state of development. These focus areas include Mumbai, India, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, which are then compared with London and Bristol in the UK. Within this unit there is also a continuation of interweaving mapping skills and location knowledge.

Living with the physical environment is concerned with physical processes and systems, their dynamic nature and human interaction with them at a range of scales and in a range of places. The aim of these units are to develop an understanding of the processes and forms associated with tectonic, geomorphological, biological and meteorological processes in different environments, and the need for management strategies governed by sustainability and consideration of the direct and indirect effects of human interaction with the Earth and the atmosphere. These studies are supported by UK cases to apply the learning.

Geographical skills are developed and demonstrated throughout Key Stage 4, including cartographic, graphical, numerical and statistical skills, throughout the study of the topics. Skills are practiced and assessed, including Ordnance Survey (OS) maps and other map extracts, to ensure the skills are utilised confidently.

Year 11:

Themes and concepts from key stage three are expanded here as we study our changing economic world. Development, population, equality, cultural diversity all interconnect with statistics and data skills to recognise trends as countries shift and strive to progress towards the healthy, wealthy finish line.

The green vine of location knowledge continues to entwine into our learning with maps of high and low income countries, newly emerging economies and their neighbours. We return our attention to Nigeria to build on what we learnt in year 9 and delve in more detail into the human geography, issues and challenges facing this rapidly growing and changing newly emerging economy.

Exam practice will continue to form part of our routines allowing students to gain familiarity with technique and exam language. Feedback provides learning opportunities for students to better facilitate their exam preparation and success.

In the living world students are immersed in the study of ecosystems, tropical rainforests and hot and the location knowledge of these ecosystems. Building on foundations laid in key stage 3 we are equipped for study with greater detail and deepening our appreciation of unique environments and the role of humans within them. Case studies will focus on Malaysia with the causes and effects of deforestation and the opportunities and challenges found in the Thar Desert region. Biodiversity, interdependence and sustainability are key themes which complement our transition into resource management.

We commence the challenge of resource management with an overview of resources through a case study of the UK. The significance of food, water and energy is integral to economic and social well-being on national and global scales. Increasingly relevant matters of supply and demand, surplus and deficit, exploitation and sustainability are enhanced by our prior learning. Examples of schemes and locations with map work further augment these themes.

The spring sees the arrival of the issue evaluation pre release material. This element of the assessment provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate critical thinking and decision-making prowess.

A resource booklet will be available in advance so that students have the opportunity to work through the resources in class, enabling them to become familiar with the material. Sources could include maps at different scales, data presentation, statistics, images and diagrams of which students have secured confidence earlier in their school career.

Our goal is that by completing their learning journey Mullion students have developed an extensive skill set with a broad and varied, relevant knowledge base and an inquiring mind, equipped to take their next step as global citizens: a new better informed crew for spaceship Earth with a lifelong love of geography.

We ensure that all students are exposed to rich learning experiences both in and out of the classroom that aims to:

  • Overcome the vocabulary deficit by exposing students to tier three vocabulary regular and ensuring the understanding of words in context.
  • Utilise and understand command words across the Key Stages to embed expectations and routine.
  • Develop the use of geographical language and vocabulary through oracy.
  • Promote collaboration and developing a general sense of enquiry, which encourages them to question and make suggestions.
  • Build on our student’s natural curiosity and develop a geographical awareness of their surroundings but also what is in the wider world.
  • Make links between geography and other subjects.

Create a culture of high aspirations which will allow our students a platform to learn about careers related to geography in the wider community with specialist skills and knowledge, ensuring that they are well prepared for the next steps of their education.

KS3 Curriculum in Geography

Green vine – Geography helps us to understand the world, its environment and places near and far, and the processes that create and affect the world. These green vine themes and location knowledge grows throughout all of the topics:



Mega City Growth and Issues

World Development Issues HIC,LIC and NEE

Nigeria: A Newly Emerging Economy

(Introduction to the GCSE)

Urban Change in the UK

Death of the Town Centre? Local Fieldwork

Geographical Skills



Sustainable Planet

Cornish Coasts

Cornwall Rocks!

Tropical Rainforests Issues

Arid Africa

Weather and MicroClimate Investigation



Passport To The World

Mapping Cornwall (OS Map skills)

Raging Rivers

Plate Tectonics

Middle East

China: A Newly Emerging Economy (NEE)

Scheme Of Assessment

Autumn Term


Summer Term

Year 7

Comparing Countries

Locating continents, selected countries and key physical world features

OS Map Skills

Year 7

River Processes and Landforms

Plate Tectonics

Year 7

Middle East case study

Desert Environments

China case study

Year 8

Climate Change

Renewable Energy decision making exercise

Year 8

Coastal Management decision making exercise

Sand Dune Environments

Year 8

Tropical Rainforests

Horn of Africa case study

Microclimate Fieldwork investigation

Year 9

Migration decision making exercise

Shanty town decision making exercise

Development Issues data response

Year 9

Nigeria case study

Bristol Opportunities and Challenges

Year 9

Helston Fieldwork enquiry

Geographical Skills focus.