A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable". So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said, "This being is like a thick snake". For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant, "is a wall". Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear. - Ancient Indian parable. The elephant represents the importance of geography and each body part characterizes the key subjects that make up geography - biology, chemistry, physics, geology, history, maths, English. As a blind man, it is difficult to comprehend the bigger picture. Tackling each subject as though it is a separate entity, we are blind to the many links between them. Through geography, we can begin to understand how everything is connected.
Why teach geography?
From a very early age young people have a curiosity about the world, a wonderful geographical imagination and an appreciation of the world's diversity. This link between the physical and the human is the unique strength of geography and helps children think critically about the interconnected world. Generating hypotheses and discovering the answers to these questions creates a fun and engaging learning environment.
How do we teach geography?
At Bude Primary Academy Juniors we teach geography as a discrete subject which contributes to a wider project focus each half term. We use Curriculum Maestro across the school to ensure the Geography National Curriculum is covered in full, through innovative and engaging topics. The vast majority of our projects have a geography aspect, and at least one half-termly project will have geography at its core. Fieldwork is also an important aspect, helping children connect what is being taught in the classroom to the real world.
What difference does learning about geography make?
- develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
- understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
- are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
- collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
- interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
- communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length