Mrs C Chisim (Leader of Learning & Year 14 LOL)
The Geography Department at the Belfast Model School for Girls is a progressive department having employed a highly effective strategy for using ICT, multi-media and audio techniques within the subject content. The study of Geography is therefore a popular choice beyond Key Stage 3.
At Key Stage 3 topics are themed by year group, beginning in Year 8 with investigations of the pupils’ own local environments with a focus on mapskills, settlements and rivers and landscape processes. Field study is promoted within each year group and all Year 8 pupils will have the opportunity to participate in a field trip to either the River Colin in West Belfast or the Giant’s Causeway.
In Year 9 pupils widen their geographical knowledge beyond their local area with investigations including ‘Into Europe’, weather and climate, tourism and population. The field study for this year group will be a visit to the Titanic Belfast exhibition as one of the foremost tourist attractions in Belfast.
Year 10 is a crucial year for those hoping to study Geography at GCSE level with a focus on the Restless Earth and Coasts, which give the students a clear understanding of what is expected at examination standard. Pupils are taught from the CCEA GCSE Geography specification in preparation for continuing their studies in Year 11.
Key Stage 4
The GCSE course is modular with a unit of study focusing on Physical Geography examined at the end of the academic year which continues on from topics began in Year 10. Also in year 11, the girls complete a field investigation within the local community to stimulate inquiry in preparation for their Unit 3 examination in Year 12. In total, by the end of year 11, the students will have completed or prepared 60 % of their GCSE course. Year 12 completes the course with studies of Human Geography focusing on Population, Development and Settlement. To assist in learning the Geography Department use the novel approach of singing their GCSE notes to encourage learning as shown by these examples (Example 1) (Example 2).
Advanced Level Geography is a two year course at Key Stage 5. In Year 13 the students sit three modular examinations, both in the summer series. Physical Geography, Human Geography and Geographical Skills are examined. The final year involves pupils undertaking a study of a Global Issue as part of a Human Geography module which also includes Ethnic Diversity and Population, followed by a Physical Geography module where the students study Tropical Ecosystems, Coastal Environments and apply their Decision Making Skills.
In addition, the Geography department regularly offers the opportunity to participate in national and international educational visits. Most recently in July 2016 we escorted 38 students to San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, in October 2015 we brought the A-Level students to London to investigate tourism in the usual tourist locations plus the Olympic Park at Stratford. In March 2016, 35 pupils from Years 9 to 11 were shown the volcanoes, glaciers and Northern Lights in Iceland. At Easter 2017 we will visit Poland.