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Fieldwork: What geography can I see from here?

What geography can I see - drawing

This is a fun activity for younger pupils which will help them engage with the idea that geography can be found in lots of different places – including in the view they might have from a window at home or at school. The activity also develops pupils’ literacy skills and gives a creative edge to a geographical task.

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Length of time

One lesson.


Suitable locations

School or home.


Equipment needed

(Optional) a paper or cardboard viewfinder square.


Key skills and objectives

  • Observing a landscape or view through a ‘geographical lens’.
  • Thinking about the key differences between ‘describe’ and ‘explain’.
  • Using descriptive words to complete a piece of creative writing.
  • Thinking about how the ‘what three words’ system works and its practical applications (for example for emergency services).


Suggested delivery

Depending on how confident pupils are with being able to recognise various geographical themes, it might be a good idea to begin the task by creating a mind map of different topics that come under the broad subject of geography. This should be retained in a poster or on the board for pupils to use as a reference point.

Pupils should then choose a window in the school which has a view which they find interesting (alternatively this could be set as a home activity, or pupils can go outside to choose a view from the school field, or from a bench or piece of play equipment). Pupils can use a paper viewfinder to help them draw a field sketch of their view in the centre of a page. This should be a simple line drawing.

Pupils can be encouraged to draw the main features first and then add layers of geographical detail until they feel their field sketch has become a good representation of their view.

Next, pupils should draw arrows that go from the field sketch to the outer borders of the page to create annotations. These annotations should both describe the feature in the field sketch and explain its geographical significance. Pupils should draw on their knowledge and understanding of the different topics that come under the broad idea of geography that were explored earlier. It might be helpful for pupils to do this using two different colour pencils – one for the description and a different colour for the explanation.

Finally, pupils can look up the ‘what three words’ code for their chosen view (see link below). Pupils can then create a haiku which not only describes the geography in the view they have chosen but which also incorporates the three words allocated to the view by what three words mapping and navigation system.

Pupils might like to think about why what three words system works and in what practical circumstances it might be particularly useful. They might also like to think about disadvantages of the system.

It might be suitable for pupils to perform their haikus to their peers alongside scanned or digital visualised versions of their field sketches.


Potential risks to consider

If pupils are sitting on the ground outside while they are completing their field sketch it may be a good idea to provide a protectant ground cover.


Possible follow up activities

  • If pupils have chosen different views, they might be able to guess where each other were stationed for the activity by listening to the haikus their peers have produced.
  • Pupils can use symbols and a key to show whether each of their field sketch annotations is connected to human geography, physical geography or a combination of both.


Useful links


This collection of Fieldwork activities were created by Paula Richardson and the Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning Special Interest Group (FOLSIG) for the National Festival of Fieldwork, the GA invites everyone to take part during the summer term.

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