Year 8 Geography

Curriculum Intent

Our aim in the Philip Morant geography department is to inspire in students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We aim to offer our young people an interesting, engaging, relevant and cumulatively challenging curriculum, which will provide students with the valuable knowledge, and equip them with the intangible skills, which will support them in the next stages of their lives.


Our students will acquire broad locational and place knowledge whilst studying geography at Philip Morant, and will be equipped with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Students will continuously deepen their understanding of the interaction between the human and the physical as they progress through our geography curriculum.

Our students learn in conjunction with the acquisition of a mélange of skills, such as collecting, analysing and communicating with data, interpreting a range of visual, digital and written sources, and communicating geographical information and data through maps, numerical and quantitative skills, and writing at length.


It is imperative that our young people have an awareness and a genuine consideration of the important geographical issues which surround their everyday lives. We see it as our responsibility to educate the future generations of our town, county and country in a way that allows them to be cautious, considerate and curious of the physical and human environment around them, having a sound awareness that every action they make will have ramifications on others, be it in the present or in the future.

Autumn Term 1

Population Change


Pupils will be introduced to the rate of global population growth and the key terminology surrounding the topic. Pupils will then begin to study the challenges presented by population growth and decline, before studying the impacts of migration.


Students will continue to learn through analysing sources such as maps and graphs, however our module on population change allows opportunity for discussion based learning, decision making exercises, and GIS mapping of international migration rates.


Students will showcase their learning in the familiar formats of low stakes quizzing and written explanation, however will also be assessed through classroom discussions, decision making justification, and the production and analysis of GIS maps.

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With global population increasing exponentially, and being expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, population change is arguably one of the most important issues related to geography now. With rapid population increase across the developing world, this brings significant challenges, including, but not limited to; food and water security, poverty, inequality, housing shortages, soaring unemployment and the spread of diseases. Moreover, the decline in populations in some developed regions around the world, such as France and Japan, poses other problems with the majority of a country’s population being elderly.

In addition to this, great waves of migration as people attempt to better their lives triggers additional political and moral pressures on the more developed regions of the world. Wherever you live in the world, population change presents challenges. These real challenges are being faced now, and will be faced to an even greater extent by the young people we are responsible for educating. Instilling a comprehensive knowledge surrounding the causes, effects, and solutions of population change in our young people is imperative if we are to tackle the issues that we are faced with.

Hans Rosling – TED Talk – Once you scratch the surface of the numbers surrounding the worlds changing population, it doesn’t take long until you can be quickly overwhelmed. However, Hans Rosling, a Swedish physician, academic and public speaker made easy work of it when he did a TED talk on the topic a few years ago. Watch the TED Talk with your child and become intrigued with the simple contextualisation but thought provoking ideas Hans raises.

Read the news together – Download the BBC News or Sky News app on your phone, or simply search for articles on population change and read / discuss them with you children. With global population being expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, population change is arguably one of the most important issues related to geography now, and as a result of this a lot of literature is being written about the topic.

World population day – Take part in recognising world population day. World population day is observed on the 11th July every year, and seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. Every year there are events to raise awareness in London.

Discuss your opinions – Immigration is a topic of debate across the world. Everyone has his or her own individual opinions, with your child being no exception. Ask them what they think about immigration. Ask them how they would have voted in the Brexit elections. Ask them what they think of Donald Trump’s wall.

Autumn Term 2

Water on the Land


Whilst students will learn the traditional geographies surrounding hydrology, such as how rivers behave and the landforms that ultimately form, students will also study the causes, impacts, and potential solutions of flooding events around the UK.


During our Water on the Land module our students learn through; diagrams, video sources, written sources, photo analysis, debate, cartoon design, poem analysis and through undertaking their own thinking hat analysis imagined by Dr. Edwards de Bono.


Students will be assessed by a combination of; low stakes testing, spoken contributions, diagram annotation, and a variety of different written tasks. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their abilities with debate and cartoon design.

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Be it the absence or abundance of water on our land in the United Kingdom, managing the hydrology of the country will always be a challenge for a country with a climate such as ours. With 2010-2012 being the driest two year period on record since 1910, and 2020 bringing the new record for the driest spring since records began, the absence of water has always presented challenges for the UK, especially in the South East around Colchester. Additionally, the abundance of water in between these droughts threatens the UK’s population even more, with the 2019 – 2020 winter flooding events causing at least £150 million of property damage.

Whether our young people grow to become employed in sectors which are directly responsible for responding to, and managing, these challenges or not, the absence and abundance of water around the country on an almost annual basis has implications on everyone who lives here. It is therefore important for our students to comprehend the processes behind these events, and to understand the reasoning behind the government policies which are prescribed to manage them.

Whilst students study the important physical geography aspects of the hydrological cycle, students will also learn how the human interacts with the physical with regards to rainfall and flooding in the UK. Students will begin to suggest solutions to these issues, and evaluate recent government’s attempts to manage the growing issue of flooding in the United Kingdom.

Take a walk – Colchester is surrounded by relatively short rivers. Take a walk along a local river with you child and discuss how the river and the activity around it changes from source to mouth.
You could walk along the middle course of the river Colne through Colchester, before driving to Brightlingsea seafront to see where the river enters the sea at its mouth. You could also visit the source of the Roman River in Great Tey, and then drive down to its middle course at Layer Road en route to Tiptree, before seeing where the river flows into the river Colne just outside the Rose and Crown Pub in Wivenhoe.

Hire a boat – The Boathouse restaurant in Dedham have a stock of 26 Clinker built Rowing Boats all for hire from 30 minutes to an hour for a leisurely row along the river Stour. Flatford Mill, the Mill made famous by John Constable, is just a mile and a half row along the river if you are feeling energetic. For those of you that would prefer an ice cream, drink or snack, the boathouse also has a snacks kiosk with outdoor seating.

Flood risk maps – Have you recently bought a house? If so, you should have a flood risk map for your property somewhere. If not, visit either or to view flood risk maps for your area. How at risk of flooding are you and what could you do to prevent your home from flooding?

Spring Term 1



Students begin by defining, and explaining the reasons behind, the process of urbanisation, before progressing onwards to study the emergence of megacities and the substantial challenges these cities pose to their populations.


Students will learn through a variety of activities, through the study of literary sources such as diary records, but also via more practical activities such as map analysis, and the inspection of cartoonist interpretations of geographical concepts.


Students will showcase their learning in a collection of methods to accommodate all learners preferred methods of broadcasting their brilliance. Students will write, create cartoonist depictions, , and create mega city top trump cards.

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By the year 2050, it is projected that almost 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. This is a future which will undoubtedly pose significant challenges to its residents. By the law of averages, many of our students will presumably be said residents facing said challenges. With such a scenario becoming increasingly closer to our reality, it is imperative that we educate the future residents and managers of such cities of scale about the challenges they will face, and how these challenges can be managed to live sustainably and responsibly within their environment.

With many millions of people around the world making the choice to migrate from the rural countryside to the urban metropolis, this may well be a decision our students are faced with contemplating at some point during their lives – it is our motivation to educate and inform, in order that this decision is well judged, informed, and knowledge based.

Many cities around the world have made great steps forward in creating the sustainable cities which must be part of our future as a nation. Students will study places such as Singapore and Copenhagen, the worlds meccas for sustainable urban living, and how these cities have evolved over time to manage, mitigate, and eradicate many of the challenges our cities will be faced with in the future.

Visit a City – Visit a local urban area with your child, be it a local city such as Colchester, a national city such as London or Birmingham, or a global city whilst on holiday. As you walk around the city enjoying the sites, start a dialogue with your child about the challenges which the city might be facing, and the potential solutions to these challenges.

Play Top Trumps – Create a pack of 30 city top trumps cards together and play. Include numbers such as; population, wealth, area, tallest building. Your child will learn about important urban areas around the world, at the same time as having fun with the family. Top tip, the back of an atlas will likely provide a lot of the numbers you will be looking for when creating your top trumps cards.

Watch a movie – Watch a movie set in a particular city. Ask your child questions whilst watching; I wonder how many tourists this city gets each year? What might the tourists visit? How will this help the local people? How is this city similar or different to other cities we’ve visited? Is this a wealthy or poor city? How can you tell?

Consider relocating – Perhaps only theoretically, but have a look at houses for sale on sites such as Rightmove or Zoopla. Ask your child if they would like to live in this place. Why, why not? What might be the good things and bad things about living in rural areas / urban areas?

Spring Term 2



Students begin by studying the difference between the terms weather and climate, and then study the atmospheric science behind many of the different weather events experienced around the world, and the implications they have on our lives.


Students learn through reading, with the premise of this unit of study based on The Weather Book, by Dianna Craig. They also learn through the study of more practical applications of weather theory, such as weather forecasts and synoptic charts.


Pupils show their learning journey through a mélange of mediums, such as; creating and presenting weather forecasts from weather data, keeping a weather diary, and conducting weather investigations, graphically plotting the data collected.

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Weather is something which affects all of our day to day lives, and informs the decisions we make diurnally, so much so that there are daily TV broadcasts informing the public of the upcoming weather conditions and how it may impact our weeks ahead. Clearly, weather has a hold over all of our lives, admittedly to varying extents at different times of the year, but even more so as climate change has already begun to affect our weather patterns in the UK, with the nation experiencing milder winters, hotter and drier summers with record temperatures every other year, and extreme weather events such a The Beast from the East and other notable and named storm events.

Students learn weather through reading, with the premise of this unit of study based on The Weather Book, written by Dianna Craig. Students read and study extracts of the book, which provide a basis for the study of the atmospheric science behind the weather conditions which we experience as a nation, such as; rain, wind, snow, fog and mist, and the weather conditions which affect places further afield than us, such as tropical cyclones and tornadoes.

Students build on this foundational knowledge of atmospheric science, and study real life implications and applications of said weather events, for example through the study of the effects of different weather events on student behaviour at school, and innovations such as fog nets which are being used to solve the water crisis in some developing nations.

Read Together – With the premise of this unit of study being based around The Weather Book, written by Dianna Craig, why not read it together. The book is filled with real-life and thought-provoking anecdotes, questions and activities which will allow you to learn about weather in an engaging and interactive way with your child.

Create a weather station – Collect and analyse data about your local weather by creating a weather station in your garden. Weather stations designed for young geographers and scientists to learn about the phenomenon can be purchased online from around £10, or you could build your own – something which Dianna Craig talks you though in her Weather Book.

Cloud watch – Be it a nice day where you can lay out in the garden, of a rainy day peering through the window, look up. Discuss the different types of clouds with your child, maybe using an image downloaded from the internet, and discuss the weather conditions they bring with them.

Watch the weather forecast – Watch the weather forecast with your child for 3 minutes each day. Pick out some of the key words used in the forecast, and discuss the implications the weather will have on your lives in the coming days.

Create your own hurricane – Identify the correct conditions needed and build a killer hurricane, using this free online tool from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Summer Term 1



Students learn the modern classifications of countries as HIC’s, NEE’s and LIC’s, and the techniques used for measuring the levels of development from country to country. Pupils are then acquainted with the concept of the development gap.


Pupils experience a variety of learning activities whilst studying development, including; studying world maps displaying various development data, and analysing detailed and highly relevant sources of information to compare countries development.


Students will be assessed by a combination of; low stakes testing, classroom discussions, and a variety of different written tasks. Students also have the opportunity to showcase their abilities with teamwork learning and extended writing.

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With such a large and ever-increasing gap between some of the worlds most impoverished and wealthiest nations, it is indispensable that, if nothing more, the young people whom we are responsible for educating are guided towards an awareness of this situation.

Pupils will delve into the fundamental human geography aspects relating to international development, economic geography, and geopolitics during this development module of study.

Students will furthermore gain a broad extension of their locational knowledge and spatial awareness of all regions around the world as they gently inspect their levels of development, before analysing more specifically the development of countries in Asia such as China, India.

Students learn the modern classifications for the countries around the world as high income countries, low income countries, and newly emerging economies. Gone are the outdated descriptions of countries of the first, second or third worlds. Through the use of innovative teaching strategies, student then learn the techniques used for measuring the levels of development from country to country.

Once introduced to these key principles of economic and development geography, our pupils are then acquainted with the concept of the international development gap, where they will study the causes, impacts, and solutions to the increasing gap between the world richest and poorest.

Play Top Trumps – Create a pack of top trump cards for 30 countries around the world. Create a template and then fill the cards with key facts about each country’s development, such as the life expectancy, GDP, literacy rate and unemployment rate. Then play!

Try fairtrade – Fair trade deals are one of the main mechanisms used by higher income countries such as the UK when it comes to supporting the development of lower income countries. On your weekly shop, have your child help you with only buying fair trade products that week. They would need to scan every item for the fair trade mark. Compare the cost of your shopping to the week before, and the taste of your meals to that of the week before – you might be surprised!

Make a charitable contribution – As well as fair trade, giving lower income countries aid is an important instrument in helping a countries development. Even if it is only a £1 donation, ask your child to identify a charity they would like to donate to. Ask them to justify why they have chosen to donate to that charity, and how the donation will help that country to develop.

Guide their thought patterns – When you visit a new place, be it a trip to Africa, a holiday in southern Europe, or whilst visiting another place in the UK, ask your child to compare the development of that place with the development of the place they live in. Ask them what evidence they can see in that area that has brought them to that conclusion.

Summer Term 2



Students learn about the physical geographies of tropical rainforests, coral reefs and the deep ocean, before progressing to study why these ecosystems are essential to our survival, how we are threatening them, and what we can do to protect them.


In addition to the manipulation and analysis of graphical data such as climate graphs to analyse these ecosystems, students also experience innovative teaching strategies to learn about the value of, and threats posed to, these ecosystems.


Students have the opportunity to showcase their learning through creativity. Pupils design and create; musical demonstrations, cartoons strips, TV adverts, letters to government, school assemblies, poems, and letters to future generations.

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With many of the world’s major ecosystems under significant threat from both population growth and climate change, our ecosystems module gives students the opportunity to understand these threats, and begin to contemplate the roles they could play in either the destruction or salvation of these great ecosystems.

Students study both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, from tropical rainforests, coral reefs as the rainforests of the sea, and the deep ocean. Be it the capture of carbon dioxide and regulation of global temperatures in coral reefs, the provision of useful resources such as timber, perfume, soaps, and medicines from tropical rainforests, or the provision of a home for fish as one of the world’s most in demand food sources in deep oceans, these ecosystems all provide valuable goods and services to us – but we are at the same time threatening their very existence.

Tropical rainforests are threatened by deforestation, coral reefs by rising sea levels and increasing ocean temperatures, and oceans by the dumping of plastic. By 2050, there is predicted to be more plastic in the sea than fish, and 25% of all fish sold in the UK contains plastic. Just think of that as you tuck in to your Friday evening fish and chips!

It is these threats to the aforementioned ecosystems, the implications of ecosystem destruction on human society, and the potential solutions to these threats which our students study in detail during this unit of study.

Watch a classic movie – Whether they have noticed or not, your children have been learning about ecosystems for some time. Modern depictions of classic children’s films, such as Tarzan (tropical rainforests), Lion King (the savannah), Aladdin (hot deserts) and Finding Nemo (coral reefs), all depict the ecosystems they are based in with significant accuracy. Take a trip down memory lane and watch one of these movies with your children.

Visit an ecosystem – Two sites in England (Kew Gardens in Richmond and the Eden Project in Cornwall) have recreated multiple ecosystems found around the world, and are both easily accessible to visit. Take a visit during a weekend of a half-term.

Follow in Greta Thunbergs footsteps – Other countries across the world put the UK to shame when it comes to recycling plastic. Most countries have instilled a plastic return scheme, where people are given money back when they recycle plastic bottles. In Germany for example, the recycling rate is 98.5%, and this is because people are given the equivalent of 22p every time they return a plastic bottle. A recent poll shows that 60% of people in the UK support a plastic deposit return scheme. Together, write a letter to your local councillor demanding such a scheme in your local area.

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