National 5 Geography Basics

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  • 1. National 5 Geography BasicsDetails from SQA documentsIntroduction to the courseGeography opens up for learners the physical environment around them and the ways in whichpeople interact with this environment.The purpose of Geography is to develop the learner’s understanding of our changing world andits human and physical processes. Opportunities for practical activities, including fieldwork, willbe encouraged, so that learners can interact with their environment.In the 21st century, with growing awareness of the impact of human activity upon theenvironment and scarce resources, the study of Geography fosters positive life-long attitudes ofenvironmental stewardship, sustainability and global citizenship. This qualification will furnishlearners with the knowledge and skills to enable them to contribute effectively to their localcommunities and wider society.The contexts for study are local, national, international, and global. Geography draws upon thesocial and natural sciences: interdisciplinary learning is therefore fundamental to geographicalstudy and encourages links with other disciplines.The main aims of Geography are to enable learners to develop: a range of geographical skills and techniques detailed understanding of the ways in which people and the environment interact in response to physical and human processes at local, national, international, and global scales detailed understanding of spatial relationships and of the changing world in a balanced, critical and sympathetic way a geographical perspective on environmental and social issues an interest in, and concern for, the environment leading to sustainable developmentCourse learners will develop a range of important and transferrable skills including: using,interpreting, evaluating and analysing a range of geographical information; interpreting andexplaining geographical phenomena; using a range of maps and other data to process andcommunicate geographical information; and researching skills, including fieldwork.Learners will also develop an awareness of a limited range of geographical information systemsthrough ICT or alternative means.GIS in National 5 Geography
  • 2. It should be remembered that map skills are the key skills element for this Unit. To help bringthis alive for learners it might be appropriate to combine map skills with some GIS applications.This GIS might take the form of class demonstrations — showing classes how data can bepresented alongside mapping, whole class activities — where data collected as a class is fedinto the GIS to produce a final class product, so giving ideal opportunity of peer and classassessment. With learners who are achieving well in the map skills element of the Unit, andperhaps fieldwork activities, individual GIS work may work as a form of differentiation.Incorporating GIS into teaching, learning and assessmentGeographic Information Systems (GIS) represent a powerful tool to engage learners withapplied map skills. It also represents another potential form of assessment/collating evidenceof a learner’s knowledge and understanding. GIS does not however need to be overly complex.It its simplest form a GIS is just the combining of maps (geospatial data), data (perhapsstatistical collected during fieldwork) and database entries. There are many commercial GIScompanies who are producing software for schools. A simple GIS can also be created withGoogle Earth:Pictorial GISWhen plotting a series of waypoints in Google Earth, all sorts of data can be attached. Forexample, something as simple as pictures can be uploaded to show landscape types, land usesand weather conditions. These pictures might come from a field trip or form a virtual field tripin the classroom. Teachers/lecturers may find Digital Explorer helpful.Graphical GISUsing a combination of Google Earth and Google Graphs, bar graphs and choropleths can belocated onto a mapped surface. This makes a relatively simple graphing task far moreimpressive to look at and more engaging, particularly for learners with an interest in IT. Forexample, river width measurements could be plotted as bar charts on a Google Earth mappedsurface. This requires waypoints to be added which also has the potential to introduce learnersto the use of GPS when collecting field data.These are just two examples of how free, down-loadable software can be used to reinforce mapskills, introduce GIS and build enthusiasm and engagement in Geography. Google products arejust one of many possibilities for these types of activities.Teachers/lecturers may find that expecting learners to produce their own GIS is far beyondwhat is expected at National 5 level. At this level it may be appropriate for the GIS to be usedfor demonstration purposes and to illustrate the geographical tools that are used in a range ofbusiness and employment opportunities. This approach will further link National 5 levelGeography with the Skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work.Centres may also expect National 5 candidates to be able to critique the benefits andchallenges of using GIS technology to process and display maps and geographical data. Showingan understanding of the role and capability of GIS in relation to map skills and geographicaldata would represent excellent evidence for assessment purposes.
  • 3. Map SkillsAn alternative/complementary approach to assess map skills may be to embed them within thelandscape type section.For example, to deliver the learning and teaching for rivers and their valleys, learners mightfollow a river from source to mouth identifying features, characteristics and land uses using anOS map. Using map skills to accurately describe the course of a river would therefore provideassessment evidence for elements of the Unit requirementsTo deliver the learning and teaching for investigating land use in an area, learners might followa city from centre to suburbs identifying characteristics and land uses using an OS map, GoogleEarth or a transect created from personal fieldwork. Using research skills to accurately describethe layout of a city would therefore provide assessment evidence for elements of bothOutcome 1 and Outcome 2 of the Unit.A range of mapping skills should also be covered:Geographical skills (National 5)The following skills will be sampled in the Course assessment in contexts drawn fromacross the Course:Mapping skills including the use of Ordnance Survey maps:♦ grid references (4/6 figure)♦ identification and location of physical and human features♦ measure distance using scale♦ interpret relief and contour patterns♦ use maps in association with photographs, field sketches, cross sections/transectsResearch skills including fieldwork skills:♦ gathering♦ processing♦ interpretingExtracting, interpreting and presenting numerical and graphical information which maybe:♦ statistical♦ graphical♦ tabularThe case for fieldworkFieldwork should be seen as a key element of geographical learning. It can be used to reinforcemap skills, build independent research skills and expand the learner’s understanding of
  • 4. landscapes and weather in the United Kingdom. Fieldwork should be seen within the context ofoutdoor learning, a key component of a Curriculum for Excellence. Teachers/lecturers mightconsider fieldwork at a range of levels; from the immediate school grounds which can beaccessible within the normal teaching timetable, to local day trips and residential opportunitieswithin the Scotland and the United Kingdom.ScotlandLearning about Scotland and Scottish culture will enrich the learner’s learning experience andhelp them to develop the skills for learning, life and work they need to prepare them for takingtheir place in a diverse, inclusive and participative Scotland and beyond. Where there areopportunities to contextualise approaches to learning and teaching to Scottish contexts,teachers and lecturers should do this.UNIT INFORMATIONThere are 3 unitsGeography: Physical Environments (National 5)In this Unit, learners will develop geographical skills and techniques in the context of physicalenvironments. Learners will develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the processesand interactions at work within physical environments. Key topics include: location of landscapetype; formation of key landscape features; land use management and sustainability; andweather. Learners will study a selection of landscape types from contexts within Scotlandand/or the UK. Landscape types will be chosen from: glaciated upland; upland limestone;coastlines of erosion and deposition; and rivers and their valleys. Personalisation and choice ispossible through the landscape types and areas chosen for study.Geography: Human Environments (National 5)In this Unit, learners will develop geographical skills and techniques in the context of humanenvironments. Learners will develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of the processesand interactions at work within human environments. Learners will study and comparedeveloped and developing countries drawn from a global context. Key topics include: contrastsin development; world population distribution and change; and issues in changing urban andrural landscapes. Personalisation and choice is possible through contexts chosen as casestudies.Geography: Global Issues (National 5)In this Unit, learners will develop skills in the use of numerical and graphical information in thecontext of global issues. Learners will develop a detailed knowledge and understanding ofsignificant global geographical issues. Key topics include climate change and sustainability; theimpact of world climates; environmental hazards; trade and globalisation; and development
  • 5. and health. Learners will study major global issues and the strategies adopted to manage these.Personalisation and choice is possible through the issues selected for study.For each of the 3 units, there is course content, and also skills to be developed. These feed intothe assessment, which may be a focus for initial planning.Physical EnvironmentsThe Unit identifies four landscape types, two of which should be chosen for learning andteaching. This creates ideal opportunities for learner-led and teacher-led personalisation andchoice.The United Kingdom focus further promotes choice through the case-study areas used. WhileNational 4 candidates may find it more inclusive to consider landscape types that are more localto them, National 5 candidates may experience more challenge and progression whenexamples are taken from a wider geographical area.Personalisation and choice are key components of Curriculum for Excellence. Enjoyment andenthusiasm for the subject can be maximised by giving learners the freedom to chooselandscape types and/or case study areas. By using learning and teaching techniques, such as co-operative learning, there is the potential for a single class cohort to investigate differentlandscape types independently, then to engage in peer teaching. This style of approach wouldalso support meaningful assessment of individuals’ knowledge and understanding as well asembracing the four capacities.Learners will draw on knowledge and understanding of various aspects of the physicalenvironment through the study of a variety of landscape types in the United Kingdom.Learners who complete this Unit will be able to:1 Use a range of mapping skills in geographical contexts in the United Kingdom2 Draw on detailed knowledge and understanding of physical environments and weather in theUnited Kingdom1 Use a range of mapping skills in geographical contexts in the United Kingdom by:1.1 Interpreting geographical information from at least two sources in order to be able toidentify and explain in detail any patterns which are found1.2 Presenting geographical information, in detail, in at least two waysIf Units are being taken as part of a Course, then the evidence for ‘mapping skills’ and ‘researchskills’ Outcomes may be presented in the context of either Geography: Physical Environmentsor Geography: Human Environments Units.Outcome 2The learner will:2 Draw on detailed knowledge and understanding of physical environments and weather inthe United Kingdom by:
  • 6. 2.1 Describing, in detail, key features of one landscape type in the United Kingdom2.2 Giving detailed explanations of the formation of one landscape type in the United Kingdom2.3 Giving descriptions and detailed explanations of factors affecting weather conditions andweather systems in the United Kingdom2.4 Giving detailed descriptions of the possible land uses and detailed explanations of alandscape management issue for one landscape type in the United KingdomThe content is outlined as follows:Physical Environments (National 5) UnitWeatherWithin the context of the United Kingdom:♦ the effect of latitude, relief, aspect and distance from sea on local weather conditions♦ the characteristics of the five main air masses affecting the UK♦ the characteristics of weather associated with depressions and anticyclonesLandscape typesWithin the context of two landscape types, selected from either:♦ glaciated uplands and coastal landscapesor♦ upland limestone, and rivers and valleysThe formation of the following landscape features (from two landscape types):♦ glaciated upland — corrie, pyramidal peak, arête, u-shaped valley♦ upland limestone — limestone pavements, potholes/swallow holes, caverns,stalactites and stalagmites, intermittent drainage♦ coastal landscapes — cliffs, caves and arches, stacks, headlands and bays, spits♦ rivers and valleys — v-shaped valleys, waterfalls, meander, ox bow lake, leveeLand uses appropriate to the two landscape types studied. The land uses should bechosen from:♦ farming♦ forestry♦ industry♦ recreation and tourism♦ water storage and supply♦ renewable energyIn relation to one landscape type studied, candidates should be able to describe andexplain:♦ the conflicts which can arise between land uses within this landscape♦ the solutions adopted to deal with the identified land use conflicts
  • 7. Further guidance:Inclusion of basic Earth scienceLearners understanding of landscape types will be enhanced through an understandingof Earth science at an appropriate level.1 Glaciated uplands requires learners to appreciate: past climate change of glacial and interglacial periods landscape weathering (such as freeze-thaw weathering)2 Upland limestone requires learners to appreciate: rock classification (what is a sedimentary rock), formation of carboniferous limestone in shallow tropical seas, role of glacial erosion in exposing limestone to weathering, landscape weathering (such as freeze-thaw weathering)3 Coastlines of erosion and deposition requires learners to appreciate: role of rock type (and hardness) on landscape type role of geological strata controlling cliff shape and form, how sea level change might impact on coastal landscapes4 Rivers and their valleys requires learners to appreciate: how different rock types erode role of relative rock hardness in landform formationThere are also suggestions for overlap, e.g. landscapes and weather Landscape type Weather concepts that could be embedded in learning and teaching Glaciated uplands Upland temperature range resulting in freeze- thaw weathering Impact of altitude on temperature change Use case study to reinforce weather variations across UK Impact of weather conditions on land uses such as farming, recreation (ie skiing), forestry, settlement and transport Upland limestone Upland temperature range resulting in freeze- thaw weathering Impact of altitude on temperature change Use case study to reinforce weather variations across UK
  • 8. Impact of weather conditions on land uses such as farming, recreation, settlement and transport Coastlines of erosion and deposition Storm conditions associated with air pressure impacting on rates of erosion and deposition Impact of weather conditions on land uses such as farming, recreation (ie holiday resorts), settlement and transport Rivers and their valleys Differences in weather conditions along the river course (ie upland source versus coastal river mouth) Role of snowmelt in river flow/seasonal usage Changing river flow due to changing conditions, such as a passage of frontal system (and how this may impact of landform formation — waterfalls, meanders, floodplains) Impact of weather conditions on land uses such as farming, recreation (eg water sports), settlement and transportHuman EnvironmentsLearners who complete this Unit will be able to:1 Use a range of research skills applied to developed and developing countries2 Draw on detailed knowledge and understanding of human environments in developed anddeveloping countries1 Use a range of research skills applied to developed and developing countries by:1.1 Collecting detailed geographical information effectively in at least two ways1.2 Interpreting geographical information from at least two sources of information in order tomake detailed comparisons and contrastsIf Units are being taken as part of a Course, then the evidence for ‘mapping skills’ and ‘researchskills’ Outcomes may be presented in the context of either Geography: Physical Environmentsor Geography: Human Environments Units.Outcome 2The learner will:2 Draw on detailed knowledge and understanding of human environments in developed anddeveloping countries by:2.1 Explaining, in detail, a human development issue in a developed and a developing country
  • 9. 2.2 Giving detailed descriptions and detailed explanations of the factors influencing populationdistribution and change in developed and developing countries2.3 Giving detailed descriptions and detailed explanations of land use and change in an urbanarea and a rural areaThe content is outlined as follows:Geography: Human Environments (National 5) UnitIn the context of developed and developing countries:♦ social and economic indicators♦ physical and human factors influencing global population distribution♦ factors affecting birth and death ratesIn the context of urban areas:♦ characteristics of land use zones in cities in the developed world♦ recent developments in the CBD, inner city, rural/urban fringe in developed world cities♦ recent developments which deal with issues in shanty towns in developing world citiesIn the context of rural areas:♦ changes in the rural landscape in developed countries, related to modern developmentsin farming such as: diversification, impact of new technology, organic farming, GM, currentgovernment policy♦ changes in the rural landscape in developing countries related to modern developmentsin farming such as: GM, impact of new technology, biofuelsGlobal IssuesLearners who complete this Unit will be able to:1 Use a range of numerical and graphical information in the context of global geographicalissues2 Draw on detailed knowledge and understanding of a significant global geographical issueOutcome 1The learner will:1 Use a range of numerical and graphical information in the context of global geographicalissues by:1.1 Interpreting detailed numerical and graphical information from at least two sources1.2 Evaluating numerical and graphical information to draw detailed conclusions based uponevidenceOutcome 2The learner will:2 Draw on detailed knowledge and understanding of significant global geographical issues by:2.1 Describing, in detail, key features of a significant global geographical issue
  • 10. 2.2 Giving detailed explanations of causes and effects of a global geographical issue2.3 Giving detailed descriptions and detailed explanations of strategies adopted in response toa significant global geographical issueContent is described as follows:Candidates should study two global issues from the following:Climate change♦ features of climate change♦ cause — physical and human♦ effects — local and global♦ management — strategies to minimise impact/effectsImpact of human activity on the natural environment♦ description of tundra and equatorial climates and their ecosystems♦ use and misuse♦ effects of degradation on people and the environment♦ management — strategies to minimise impact/effectsEnvironmental hazards♦ describe the main features of earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical storms♦ causes of each hazard♦ impact on the landscape and population of each hazard♦ management — methods of prediction and planningTrade and globalisation♦ description of world trade patterns♦ cause of inequalities in trade♦ impact of world trade patterns on people and the environment♦ strategies to reduce inequalities — trade alliances, fair trade, sustainable practicesTourism♦ features of mass tourism and eco-tourism♦ causes of/reasons for mass tourism and eco-tourism♦ impact of mass tourism and eco-tourism on people and the environment♦ strategies adopted to manage tourismHealth♦ describe the distribution of a range of world diseases♦ explain the causes, effects and strategies adopted to manage:— AIDS in developed and developing countries— one disease prevalent in a developed country (choose from: heart disease, cancer,asthma)
  • 11. — one disease prevalent in a developing country (choose from: malaria, cholera,kwashiorkor, pneumonia)Learners should be provided with the opportunity to examine a range of sources relatedto the issue. These could include maps, diagrams, graphs, charts and statisticalinformation, e.g. a table to show the percentage deforestation over a given time frame, amap to show hurricane tracks in the North Atlantic, a line graph to show tourist numbersin Greece.Learners would be expected to extract information from these sources and describe whatthey show. They should also feel confident presenting detailed information usingnumerical and graphical forms or presentation.Enquiry sequence that is suggested Present the learner with sources of information, presented in a variety of formats, ie numerical and graphical, relating to the selected issue to allow them to become familiar with the issue in the global context. Sources of evidence could include bar graphs/line graphs/pictographs/data tables/census data/choropleth maps/theoretical models/kite diagrams/scatter graphs/flow line maps. Living graphs could be created that encourage higher order thinking skills while at the same time introducing pupils to the issue. Investigate the causes of the global issue giving equal consideration to natural and man-made factors. Having studied the evidence pupils will then begin to examine the causes of the issue. This could be looked at through the eyes of a geographical mystery. The learner is set an enquiry question and presented with evidence that will allow them, through a process of elimination to begin to develop an understanding of the causes of the issue. Identify the immediate and longer term effects of the global issue on people, the economy and the natural environment. In order to understand the differing levels of impact across different scales pupils must begin to learn to classify information, a higher order thinking skill. Information can be classified in a variety of ways including group classification and colour classification. Throughout the issue learners are being asked to identify the impact of the issue on people, on the places they live and on the economy. These themes lend them self naturally to a classification activity. Learners must also give consideration to the temporal scale and classify the evidence further into immediate and longer-term effects. Suggest strategies used to help manage the global issue now and in the future. This stage in the enquiry provides an opportunity for the learner to engage in a variety of decision-making activities that will allow them to consider what has been and what could be done to manage the issue. Ideally learners should be given opportunities to discuss a ‘best fit’ approach to managing the effects and reducing the future consequences created by each issue. This could be done by setting up class debates and discussions that examine current evidence. Equally, learners should look to the
  • 12. wider geographical community to extend solutions beyond a local level response and give due consideration to national and global responses to managing the issue. Select sources of information that make clear the global issue and encourage learners to present these to display their understanding of the issue. This final stage of the enquiry provides an opportunity to assess each stage of the enquiry and display understanding of the issue. This could be done in a variety of ways including a summative poster presentation, digital presentation, written report, video presentation that essentially tells the story of the issue from beginning to end and provides the learners with a concrete case study resource.Content of this document collated from various documents produced by the ScottishQualifications Authority (SQA) – http://www.sqa.org.ukInformation available for use for educational purposes free of charge.