Making Geography Happen was funded by the Action Plan for Geography which centres around good quality, innovative curriculum-making. The Making Geography Happen project developed this to focus on work done by students in geography lessons and how it contributed to their wider understanding of the world.
The project sought to address a number of questions:
- What does a contemporary geography classroom look like?
- What do students get up to in geography lessons?
- In what ways can they use their creative and imaginative instincts in geography?
- What kind of knowledge is being created in geography lessons?
- What kind of thinking is going on?
- In what ways does geography contribute to young people’s understanding?
- How do we know if children are making progress in geography?
- How does geographical learning advance with age, experience and good teaching?
Five schools participated in the project, each teaching a unit of work on place. In addition, King Edward VII School, Sheffield was used for a longitudinal study, tracking four students through the whole of their Key Stage 3.
The teachers supplied material for this website including student work, photos and videos of students in action, and student reflections. The teachers also added their own reflections. For example:
‘We were able to focus on the geographical learning and mental processes rather than the “production” of, for example, a poster or project, this helped increase the pace of learning and challenge of lessons’
‘The students were given the opportunity to develop the ability to make informed decisions using geographical evidence’
Making Geography Happen Online
The Making Geography Happen area is divided into two main sections: three information pages and individual sections for the participating schools.
The five participating schools supplied a variety of resources for these webpages, including samples of work, reflections from teachers and students and information about the curriculum-making process.
Materials from King Edward VII School will be added during the year.
Detailed advice on assessment is provided in the GA publication Assessing Progress in your Key Stage 3 Geography Curriculum (Paul Weeden and Graham Butt, 2009).
The teachers involved in the project reflected on what they learnt about how to make geography happen in their classes. Some of these thoughts were combined to form a ‘Teacher Tips‘ page containing practical ideas of how to move children forward in their geographical thinking.
Through the Action Plan for Geography, the GA highlighted the importance of curriculum-making. We produced a variety of resources, advice and guidance on how to design and make a geography curriculum.
Young People’s Geographies is a curriculum development and research project investigating how school students and teachers working together can effectively develop the school geography curriculum and students’ geographical learning.
The GA has also published a wide range of resources, such as the KS3 Geography Teachers’ Toolkit series, which will be of interest to any geography teacher engaged in curriculum planning.