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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
Would you like to travel to Hong Kong
Travelling in Hong Kong
What is Hong Kong like
Hong Kong - Asia's World City
What are the challenges facing Hong Kong?
Hong Kong - Data Challenge

Hong Kong: A city in Asia by the sea

Key Stage 1-2 teaching resources

This module, comprising six lessons, or half a term's work, focusses on the city of Hong Kong.

This series of lessons is designed for key stage one and lower key stage two pupils to get a sense of a densely populated city in Asia that is geographically and culturally diverse. There are modern skyscrapers and traditional villages, urban and rural areas, a Country Park, port districts and shopping districts. There are both modern and traditional elements of the city’s human geography: Chinese cultural traditions sit alongside modern western facilities; wealthy families with domestic helpers alongside an aging population with long life expectancy but no old age pensions. 

This teaching unit brings Hong Kong’s complexity to life through a range of media and narratives. Distinctive and dramatic photography (both aerial and landscape), engaging and interesting globe and map activities, and narratives of individuals from a range of backgrounds are included. There is built in progression through the lessons. Lessons one to three are largely pitched at KS1. Lesson four, five and six are suitable for KS2. 

Lesson one: Would you like to visit Hong Kong?

This lesson involves a fun and engaging map and photo-based activity which allows pupils to learn about the journey to Hong Kong from their own location.  They learn about the location of Hong Kong in a global context and follow the flight path from London to Hong Kong International Airport, discussing the range of countries and oceans they cross on route.

Lesson two: Travelling in Hong Kong

This lesson involves a route planning and writing activity which allows pupils to learn more about what Hong Kong is like, the different areas of Hong Kong and how to travel between them. Pupils continue their journey to James’s house; travelling from the airport, to Central on Hong Kong Island, and then on to Lamma Island. The main activity involves writing a postcard describing their journey and James’s local area.

Lesson three: What is Hong Kong like?

In this lesson pupils view a series of engaging photographs of Hong Kong that will aid the development of geographical vocabulary, description and a strong sense of place.

Lesson four: Hong Kong - Asia’s World City

This lesson focuses on the human geography of the city and engages pupils through individual narratives about the people of Hong Kong.  They gain an insight into daily life, lifestyles and culture. It also explores the process of migration. Pupils learn the diversity of age, wealth, cultural background and family histories in the city.  Pupils compare and contrast Hong Kong with the place they live.

Lesson five: What are the challenges facing Hong Kong?

This lesson introduces children to the challenges facing the city region of Hong Kong; the main teaching part of the lesson covers the human-induced or man-made challenges, and the activity covers natural challenges. Pupils learn the challenges of eight million people living in a very small space. It supports pupils’ development of geographical skills. Photos reveal key challenges, including pollution and waste as well as current solutions such as recycling and landfill sites. 

Note: the partner work of the group activity requires access to a computer, and the use of a child-friendly search engine.

Lesson six: Hong Kong data challenge

This lesson involves data and evidence-based activities. There will be some cross-curricular learning through maths activities involving larger numbers with a wow factor. The questions are related to the topic of last lesson, and reinforce the learning related to the human-induced and natural environmental challenges facing Hong Kong such as overfishing, pollution and flooding.  

Subject Content Areas

Locational Knowledge

  • An aim of the geography national curriculum for KS1/2 is to develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places;
    Hong Kong is a world city of trade and finance in China with strong historical and modern links with the UK.
  • KS2- developing locational knowledge - identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer;
    Hong Kong adjacent to the Tropic of Cancer and is in the Northern Hemisphere;

Place Knowledge

  • This supports the delivery of KS1 expectations in developing place knowledge -  understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area in a contrasting non-European country;
    Hong Kong is in area a small city region with contrasting urban and rural environments in close proximity.

Human and Physical Geography

  • This unit support the expectations of early KS2 in the use of geographical vocabulary - key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop;
    Hong Kong has all these features that will enable teachers to easily contrast with the UK locations.
  • The unit also supports the expectations of early KS2 in learning human geography, including: land use, economic activity including trade links;
    Hong Kong is a significant port with trade links across the world.

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • Developing geographical skills - use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied;
    Hong Kong is a significant city in the world which will allow students to learn about the location of continents - Europe and Asia, the location of major countries such as China and Russia, the location of major mountain ranges – the Himalaya and cities such as London, Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, San Francisco and New York.
  • Developing geographical skills - aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features;
    Hong Kong is a group of islands and a peninsula which is well mapped and its aerial imagery is easily accessible.


About the authors

Chris Dubin is an Associate Director for School Support and Evaluation based in The Netherlands, responsible for International Schools all over the world. Prior to this, he worked as a School Development Adviser for the English Schools Foundation, as an LEA inspector/advisor and prior to that, at BBC Education as an Education Officer. He is also an author of children’s geography books, teacher resources and text books and a lifelong environmentalist and cyclist.

Ross Burrough is the Coordinator for Environmental Education for the English Schools Foundation (ESF) in Hong Kong. He is also a teacher of geography and humanities at Island School, Hong Kong. He is an innovative educator and an excellent photographer.  His eye for detail is a geographer’s eye.  Prior to becoming a teacher, Ross started out organizing safaris in Africa. He has subsequently organised charity long distance races in the Gobi, Atacama and Sahara deserts.  


This resource has been developed as part of the Rediscovering London's Geography project, funded by the GLA through the London Schools Excellence Fund. It seeks to improve the quality of teaching and learning of geography in London's schools, in addition to encouraging more pupils to study geography.

Department for Education

Mayor of London

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