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A Level subject content overviews

To support teachers with the introduction of the 2016 A Level courses, the Society is providing a new range of online resources and support.

The following overview document provides an introduction for teachers to some of the key content, concepts and geographical theories within the new A Levels and will be particularly useful for colleagues who have not previously taught elements of the new content.

These have been written by leading academic geographers, a number of whom were members of the ALCAB subject advisory panel for geography. 

There is particularly focus on the areas of core content.

Cycling of carbon and water are central to supporting life on earth and an understanding of these cycles underpins some of the most difficult international challenges of our times. Both these cycles are included in the core content elements of the specifications for A Level geography to be first taught from 20161. Whether we consider climate change, water security or flood risk hazard an understanding of physical process is central to analysis of the geographical consequences of environmental change. Both cycles are typically understood within the framework of a systems approach which is a central concept to much physical geographical enquiry. The concept of a global cycle integrates across scales. Systems theory allows us to conceptualise the main stores and pathways at a global scale. The systems framework also allows for more detailed (process detail) and local knowledge to be nested within the wider conceptual framework. Local studies on aspects of hydrology or carbon cycling can be understood as part of a broader attempt to understand in detail the nature of water and carbon cycling. Global environmental challenges frequently excite student interest in physical geography but it can be difficult for students to see how they can conduct relevant investigations of fieldwork given the large scale and complexity of the issues. By embedding their knowledge within systems framework students can understand how measurements and understanding derived from their own fieldwork and local studies contribute to the wider project of elucidating the cycling of water and carbon at the global scale.

Download the full A Level Subject Content Overview document from the downloads box

Written by Martin Evans, Professor of Geomorphology, School of Environment, University of Manchester


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A Level Subject Content Overview: Water and Carbon Cycling


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