- Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Geography in St Columb's College...
.Geography and Career Opportunities
Most employers are concerned that schools should provide for the development of general skills – literacy, numeracy, spoken communication, computer literacy, use of maps and diagrams, analysis, interpretation and presentation of information, decision-making, planning and organisation, individual initiative and teamwork. Geography courses in particular, contribute greatly to developing such skills.
At A level, the subject can be used as an entry qualification for HNDs and Degree courses at most Universities and other institutes of Further and Higher Education.
Geography may be combined with many other subjects at this level, but the choice is important as it will affect the range of opportunities available beyond school.
Mrs Nuala Mc Gonagle (Head of Department)
Mrs. Marie-Louise O’ Kane
Miss Honor Sisk
Mrs Bernadette Boyle
Mr. Lee Mosby
The Curriculum- What do we study?
Key Stage 3
• What is Geography? Pupils are introduced to the various strands that make up Geography – physical, human and environmental.
• Locational Geography –pupils become familiar with geographical scale – from local to global, and develop a sense of place through map work.
• Geographical skills – locating places using latitude and longitude, using graphs in geography.
• Settlements – what are settlements, factors affecting the choice of sites for settlement, how settlements change through time, land use in settlements and benefits and problems of settlement growth.
• Weather and climate – elements of the weather, weather forecasting, microclimates, depressions and anticyclones.
• Map skills - pupils learn the use of direction on a map, and become familiar with the symbols used on maps.
• Erosion – pupils learn how rivers, wind, the sea and ice can wear away the land.
• Rivers – how rivers shape the land – the formation of waterfalls, floodplains and meanders.
• Map skills –recognising river features on a map, showing relief on a map, using contour lines
• The Environment – pupils learn we should be concerned about the environment, and look at energy provision/use of energy resources in detail in relation to oil, coal and alternative sources of energy.
• Population – distribution and density, factors affecting distribution, world population distribution, population distribution in the British Isles. Population change and migration.
• Coasts – coastal erosion and coastal landforms.
• Farming - types of farming, and food supply (origins and shortages)
• Earth’s structure and rocks – igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic
• Plate tectonics – continental drift, plates, plate movements, earthquakes and volcanoes
• Tourism – problems and benefits, changes in tourism, national parks, conflict in tourism, ecotourism
• Map skills – using scale – calculating distances
• Development – levels of development, indicators of development – overpopulation, employment structure, trade and aid.
• Hazards – hurricanes and flooding
Throughout KS3 pupils develop a wide range of skills. In response to the school’s former status as a specialist school in Mathematics and Computing, the Department continues to use specific tasks related to the use of Mathematics – in addition to the normal use of a variety of graph types throughout the course. The Department also contributes to the development of IT skills, including preparation of pupils for the CCEA KS3 Accreditation Scheme in IT – pupils undertake a web design task (on earthquakes) - aiming for Level 6. The KS3 course also has numerous opportunities to develop the skills of literacy, communication, problem solving & decision-making, working with others, self management, and being creative.
Key Stage 4
We follow the Northern Ireland CCEA Specification.
Year 11 Unit 1
• Theme A: Landscape Development – rivers and coasts
• Theme B: Our Changing Weather and Climate
• Theme C: The Restless Earth – rocks, plate tectonics, tectonic activity in the British Isles, earthquakes.
Year 12 Unit 2
• Theme A; People and Where They Live
• Theme B: Contrasts in World Development
• Theme C: Managing our Resources
There are two examinations worth 75% of the total mark. The remaining 25% is for Controlled Assessment.
The following geographical concepts underpin the GCSE course:
• Sustainable development
• Interrelationships between people and the natural environment
• The need to manage both human and physical resources
• Interdependence between countries; and
• International cooperation to tackle global problems
The GCSE course helps pupils to develop a wide range of skills as outlined under the Careers Section below.
Key Stage 5
We follow the Northern Ireland CCEA Specification.
Year 13 - AS Level - This course consists of two assessment units as outlined below:
Assessment Unit 1 - Themes in Physical Geography with fieldwork skills
Section A: Skills related to fieldwork, including a written repost (100 words)
Section 2: Physical processes and systems
1. Fluvial Environments (Rivers) – drainage basins, hydrographs, rivers landforms, river processes; interaction with the human environment and its effects on people (flooding).
2. Ecosystems - Ecosystems as open systems involving the transfer of energy and matter (trophic levels, nutrient recycling); plant succession - development of vegetation through time; human interaction with ecosystems - case study of mid- latitude grasslands.
3. Atmosphere - Atmospheric heating, winds and moisture (precipitation); weather systems - depressions and anticyclones; extreme weather – hurricanes.
Assessment Unit 2 - Themes in Human Geography with skills and techniques
Section A: Skills and techniques – data collection, data processing, graphical and statistical techniques
Section 2: Human processes and systems
1. Population - Population data - the census; age / sex structures - population pyramids;
population and resources.
2. Settlement – challenges for rural environments; rural-urban fringe; remote rural areas; management of the countryside; regional development agencies; urban environments- inners cities and rapid urbanisation in LEDCs.
3. Development - The nature and measurement of development; issues of development – colonialism, dependency, globalisation, aid, trade, debt.
All pupils participate in group fieldwork (compulsory element). There is no project - but there is a written report of 100 words only, which is taken into the exam. The fieldwork – a study of a sand dune ecosystem, is facilitated by the Magilligan Field Centre.
A2 Level - This course consists of two assessment units as outlined below:
Assessment Unit A2 1
Section 1: Human geography
1. Impact of Population Change
2. Issues in Ethnic Diversity
Section 2: Global issues
1. Global Warming
2. The Nuclear debate
Assessment Unit A2 2
Section 1: Physical geography
1. Fluvial and coastal environments
2. The dynamic earth
Section 2: Decision making
The subject also lends itself to the fulfilment of the Key Skills qualification. The Fieldwork element can be expanded to fulfil the requirements for Application of Number and opportunities exist in all topics to satisfy the requirements for Communication.
• Have a minimum Grade C in the Higher Tier at GCSE level
• Come with a good recommendation from their Year 12 Geography teacher
• Have a sound interest in the subject
• Be prepared to read widely around the subject.
• Read a good quality newspaper to keep in touch with relevant current events
The Table below shows show of the possible subject combinations involving Geography. The lists are by no means complete but are intended to stimulate ideas for future career paths.
Geography combined with -
Possible areas of employment
Maths / Physics / Chemistry
Environmental science, geology, industrial management, energy, meteorology, earth science, geophysics, seismologist, surveying, oceanography, physical science, engineering, hydrology
Maths / Business Studies/ Economics/Languages/ Computing
Business Management, banking, town & country planning, insurance, housing, travel, tourism, journalism, transport, accountancy, marketing, development planning, ICT
Architecture, landscape design, cartography, surveying, graphic design
Environmental health, recreational & institutional management, agriculture, ecology, forestry, environmental science, soil science
Retail & personnel management, accountancy, housing
English/ Languages/ History/ Religious Studies
Library, archives, journalism, publishing, law, social work, teaching
Certain fields which employ large numbers and are varied in character – such as teaching, business and public administration (including the civil service and local government) may be entered from many different subject combinations.
Pupils may be attracted to degree courses with a substantial geographical content – these would include – African / Asian/ Australian/ European studies; Coastal studies/ coastal management; environmental science; international studies; mapping sciences; resource management; tourism; journalism; and education.