Geography
 

Geography

In 2015-16, Chapeltown’s Geography A level results were in the top 1% nationally in terms of value added (ie how much students’ had progressed from GCSE results to A level results).

Summary

“Geography is one of those richly comprehensive subjects whose relevance is all around us. Where we come from, what we eat, how we move about and how we shape our future are all directly the province of the geographer. More than ever we need the geographer’s skills and foresight to help us learn about our planet - how we use it and how we abuse it.”      Michael Palin

Geography is the study of the world around us, and just as the world is continually changing, so is Geography. Consequently, Geography is a dynamic, vital and lively subject. Being able to understand some of the processes behind these changes and being able to predict potential outcomes means Geographers have important skills necessary to help manage the future of the planet. Over the course, you will develop an understanding of the processes causing the current migration crisis, global warming, famine in Africa and rising sea levels. It is perfectly possible to study Geography at A-level without Geography GCSE, so please do not let this put you off if you want to know more about the world in which we live.

The course and its structure

We will be studying the Welsh Board (Eduqas) A level Geography curriculum and will be learning about the following 7 topics:

Topic:

Some key questions:

Plate tectonics

How does the structure of our Earth cause volcanic and seismic events?

Can we predict earthquakes?

What factors determine the vulnerability of a population to a volcanic eruption?

Global governance

In which ways has our world been shrinking?

Why has there been a recent dramatic rise in refugees?

Who owns our oceans and what geopolitical conflicts have arisen over their use?

Global systems

What is a system?

How are the carbon and water cycles connected?

What is the link between the increased store of carbon in our atmosphere and recent increases in extreme weather events?

Glaciated landscapes

What causes glacial periods?

How have glaciers shaped the UK landscape?

How does ice create patterned ground?

Development in an Africa

How is desertification blighting the lives of millions of people in Africa?

What is the resource curse?

How can we promote development in Africa?

Weather and climate

Why is it frequently cloudy and rainy in the UK?

What are the causes and impacts of hurricanes?

Why are cities often warmer than their surroundings?

Changing places

When people think of Sheffield, what do they imagine? How is this image shaped by film, songs and the media more generally?

How is the knowledge economy shaping places today?

How are places ‘branded’ in order to attract visitors?

In terms of examinations, you will sit 2 exams at the end of Year 12 in order to gain an AS qualification. You will then sit a further 3 exams at the end of Year 13 in order to gain the A level qualification. In addition, 20% of your final A level grade will be based on a non-exam assessment which will be 3-4000 words long and undertaken individually, with support from me.

In order to build up your fieldwork skills and prepare for the exams and non-exam assessment, we will do 4-5 days of compulsory fieldwork. This will include a residential to Malham in the Yorkshire Dales in Year 12 followed by some local fieldwork days in Year 13. The cost of the Malham trip will be approximately £220, but there is the potential to obtain a needs-based bursary.

The transition from GCSE to A level can be challenging and support will provided to help you reach your potential in Geography. At the beginning of Year 12 we will focus on developing various study skills and there will be lots of focus on exam technique. In addition, there will be a support session once a week where anyone is welcome to attend. You will also have the opportunity to stretch yourself by going to various lectures organized by the Geographical Association in town as well as by doing extra reading which is designed to broaden and deepen your Geographical understanding beyond that required at A level.

In lessons you will be doing a range of activities including note-taking, individual research, group work, discussions, mapping and statistical analysis. Written work will range from short answers through to longer essays and report writing.  

Geography helps develop both your literacy and numeracy skills and, according to the Guardian, “It is inherently multidisciplinary in a world that increasingly values people who have the skills needed to work across the physical and social sciences.” (13th August 2015). As a result, Geographers are in high demand in the workplace and as a result, unemployment amongst geography graduates is much lower than the average. The types of jobs that Geographers go on to do diverse, but they include becoming a hydrologist, town planner, international developer, GIS analyst, surveyor, cartographer, teacher, environmental consultant, oceanographer, meteorologist or aid worker. 

Geography complements almost any other subjects at A level. It helps further literacy and writing skills for those selecting mainly sciences at A level as well as numeracy skills for those studying languages and humanities. Finally, it provides an excellent bridge between those studying a mix of sciences and languages / humanities subjects.

Subject requirements

5 B grades, B in Geography (or if Geography has not been studied, a B in another humanities subject such as History or RS).

Additional Information 

Tutor: Juliet Rowson jrowson@chapeltownacademy.com

Link to eduqas webpage

 

Where will Geography take me?

Geography A-Level, by its very nature, has one of the broadest remits of any subject and is known as the generalist’s discipline. From volcano formation to city planning policy, geography students gain a rare perspective into how societies and nature interact and intersect. Combine its breadth and content with either the fieldwork or the synoptic paper, and geography A-Level is an excellent basis for university degrees that emphasise independent study, macro-level thinking and original ideas. Apart from geography itself, studying this A-Level would be useful for social sciences such as politics, sociology, psychology as well as history, economics, law, land economy, sustainability studies, natural sciences and geology.