Pupils choosing GCSE courses are now often encouraged by schools to include courses which will enable them to achieve Ebacc as part of their Key Stage 4 education. This means that in addition to English, maths and science, pupils choose a modern foreign language and either geography or history. In addition to these choices pupils will continue to have additional option choices enabling them to pick more level two options which may include arts, technologies, additional languages, additional humanities subjects and vocational subjects.
Geography helps you to make sense of the world around you. It is hands on, it is relevant and it is fun. Current GCSE courses are a good mix of topics such as urban issues, world development, extreme environments, rivers and hazards – to name but a few. The course will give you the chance to get to grips with some of the big questions which affect our world, and understand the social, economic and physical forces and processes which shape and change our world.
Martin, Kent about GCSE Geography
GCSE Geography is designed to allow a large number of topics to be studied and to provide an insight into a variety of the most important and relevant geographical issues. This diversity also allows all students to find topics they are interested and engaged in. A selection of these are described below:
Urban issues & challenges
Cities and urban areas are some of the most dynamic regions of the world. For the first time, a majority of the global population now lives in towns and cities with the UN predicting this will increase to 75% by 2050 highlighting the importance of studying these settlements. This topic looks at reasons why urban areas emerge and develop unevenly within and between countries and the challenges and opportunities that this creates.
Globally, there are large variations in economic development and standards of living between countries. This topic looks at the reasons for, and consequences of having a ‘global development gap’ in addition to why such divides occur nationally such as the UK’s north-south divide.
The demand for food, water and energy is rising across the globe, yet the supply of all of these resources is limited which can create conflicts. Technological advances allow new strategies to be used which can increase the supply of these goods, however these can be controversial such as genetically modified crops.
Global ecosystems - ranging from hot arid to cold tundra environments - all have distinctive characteristics, which have lead to distinctive adaptations within their plant and animal communities. Whilst these environments all provide economic opportunities such as using rainforests for logging, farming or energy, they are extremely fragile environments which require sustainable management.
Whilst the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, it is still a highly dynamic body continually undergoing changes. These continued changes result in the creation of a variety of hazards that pose a threat to both humans and the environment. Some of these hazards you will have already felt the effects of in the UK, such as climate change and weather hazards, whilst others occur in geographically district regions such as tectonic hazards and tropical storms.
The distinctive landscape of the UK has been gradually formed over millions of years by coastal, glacial and fluvial (river based) processes, which continue to act today. A number of factors affect the processes of erosion, weathering, deposition and transportation taking place, both physically such as rock type to human interference.
There are so many ways of learning in geography. It is very practical, with opportunities to learn new skills such as modern computer based mapping (called GIS), map skills, interpreting photographs, fieldwork skills, presenting, role play and debating techniques. You will improve your literacy through your report writing and written work and make practical use of your numeracy skills when you interpret data and construct graphs. Fieldwork, or working outside the classroom, is a really important part of geography. Whether you go locally or get the chance to travel further away, it will be a brilliant opportunity to experience some of the things you have learnt about in class, see things differently and of course have fun.
Your teacher will be able to tell you more about the specific GCSE course offered in your school. Don’t forget to ask about what sort of topic you might cover in your controlled assessment and where you will do your fieldwork. There has never been a better time to study geography so make the choice to go places with geography by taking geography at GCSE.
Studying GCSE Geography provides students with a variety of valuable skills that can be transferred and used across other subject areas and in everyday life. Key skills gained are listed below:
Geography students study issues that are extremely relevant to the challenges the world is facing today both environmentally and in society. This equips students with valuable knowledge for future studies.
Geography of the UK – in-depth knowledge and under-standing of the UK’s economic, social and environmental geography.
Geographers uniquely tackle and investigate big issues across a variety of scales and from different perspec-tives.
Fieldwork is an enjoyable opportunity to explore new environments, improving the understanding of topics as they come to life. Fieldwork provides you with use-ful skills in collecting, understanding and later com-municating data to different audiences.
Read a letter from Michael Palin, our former president
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