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Strand on the Green Junior School




Whether it’s the thrill of travel, navigating the local area or being a custodian of our environment, geography touches all of our lives. Strand’s geography curriculum seeks to build the foundational knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the places and processes that shape our planet.

Topics and Big Questions

Geography is one of Strand’s topic subjects, which means that each unit is studied in depth for several lessons a week, usually for half a term.

The topics all have a focal point, a ‘big question’, to which every lesson contributes as part of a carefully planned teaching sequence. By the end of the study, the knowledge gained along the way really adds up to something.

As a result, children get to grapple with the big question from a considerably more informed position.   

Big Questions

What impact does Norway and its culture have on the happiness of the people who live there?

Is there too much development in our area?



Content is drawn from the National Curriculum and has three core elements:

  • Locational knowledge: knowing where places are and how to find them using maps, directions, compass points etc
  • Physical geography: understanding landscape features and the processes leading to their formation
  • Human geography: understanding patterns of human activity and the way people and places interact.

Place is at the heart of geography so each topic is grounded in the context of a real place. By selecting locations that offer a contrast of scale and characteristic features, we aim to expand every child’s view of the world.  


Yr 3


Arctic tundra


Yr 4


The Thames

Costa Rica - Ring of Fire

Yr 5


East Anglia

UK Regions

Yr 6


The Americas/Central America

Brentford and Chiswick



 Big Picture

Concepts are important for building understanding in  our curriculum. Ideas like population, estuary, erosion, trade and biome help to precisely describe the places, patterns and processes that are central to geography. We plan for many concepts to be encountered multiple times, sometimes in other subjects. This helps children to remember the subject vocabulary and make sense of important ideas in different contexts.

There isn't one agreed set of disciplinary concepts in geography so we've chosen the following to shape our curriculum plan 
Place (and the spaces between)
Similarity and difference (spatial variation)
Change over time




Getting outside is a must in geography; we teach children to marvel, respect and be curious about their environment. Conducting fieldwork allows children to really notice what they see every day and to make sense of the less familiar.

We venture out into our school grounds, the local area and further afield. In Year 5 and 6 residential trips to Suffolk and Devon respectively provide an authentic opportunity for fieldwork.

Field work skills include:

Y3: weather data collection in our school site – observation, measurement and comparison

Y4: observational sketch maps of human and physical features on the river; tests of water quality; simple site observation and measurement: litter and how people use the river etc

Y5: land-use surveys, environmental quality perception survey

Y6: designing an enquiry; place making, change of land-use

Map Skills

Across the four years of study, mapping skills become progressively more advanced and broad in scope. This includes understanding and using directional vocabulary, compass points and co-ordinates of various types.

Interpreting  different types of map is also important so we use globes, atlases, computer based mapping and ordnance survey maps.











Geography Progression Model

We’ve sequenced the geography curriculum so children get to learn these important concepts and skills in a meaningful order. This starts in Year 3 looking at place. Once children have a sense of what makes a place ‘special’,  the next logical question -  studied in Year 4 - is how places and landscapes came to be like they are. By Year 6, the more abstract concepts of human geography come to the fore: questions of trade, globalisation and economic variation, for example. This way, as learning builds gradually, we know children make progress. Our aim is that by the time they leave us, connected knowledge and understanding enables our learners to engage with complex questions and ideas.  


To download our progression model for geography as a PDF click here

Geography Planning - Rivers Yr 4

Each topic follows a clear sequence which helps to secure knowedge and develop understanding.

To see an example of an individual unit plan click here to see our Year 4 unit on Rivers.