Working With Other Subject Areas
Geography is a subject that touches on many other areas taught in schools, from Mathematics to Art, and Food Technology to Physics. When it comes to teaching, the obvious areas where these topics can be taught together are known as cross-curricular links. For example, a link may be the maths and geography staff working together to teach co-ordinates, and making sure that their lessons compliment each other.
Cross curricular links are important because ...
1. They help the curriculum to become a 'whole learning experience' with continuity rather than a series of separated lessons on different subjects.
2. They can improve teaching by getting both teachers and pupils to work together for common goals.
3. They add fun and novelty to lessons, encouraging wider thinking, participation and enthusiasm.
4. They promote subjects with 'reality', in other words they can set topics into a relevant context for pupils and remove the isolated learning so often associated with single subject teaching.
This page offers some thoughts and a sample suggestion for a cross curricular activity involving Geography, Citizenship , History and PSHE.
Often the type of food eaten in a country reflects the ingredients grown there and the traditions / history of its peoples. For example, the familiar Garabaldi Biscuit owes its existence to the scorched earth policies of a retreating army, leaving General Giuseppe Garabaldi with nothing but locally grown wheat and grapes with which to feed his army. Likewise, in India, Sugar Biscuits contain both rose wine and cinnamon, ingredients readily available in the area. To find more regional and national biscuits visit the Biscuit Recipes site.
In both cases the ingredients reflect the climate, vegetation,history and farming habits of the area.
The Geography National Curriculum requires a study of both MEDCs and LEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries and Less Economically Developed Countries) and the differences between them, including degrees of wealth, development, health etc. A study of the local area is also common, and can include traditional crops, foods and industries.
In Citizenship teachers are expected to teach about the diversity of national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom (1b), to encourage pupils to think about topical political, spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues, problems and events (2a) and to use their imagination to consider other people's experiences. There is plenty of scope here to look at the production of ingredients, what food is available to a family and what traditional foods exist together with social and religious reasons behind different foods.
In History almost every era has it's associated foods, for example war time rationing or the arrival of spices and sugar in the western world. Wars have been fought over access to food stuffs and prime agricultural land, and wars have been won or lost for the lack of / abundance of food and food production.
In PSHE the UK curriculum includes coverage of how to keep healthy and what influences health (2b), again offering links to both the availability and suitability of different foods (junk versus organic etc).
Many other opportunities exist for links between Geography and other subjects,including Modern Languages (traditional foreign foods) Science (yeasts, nutrition, how materials alter when heated, preservation and decay) and Design Technology (traditional ovens, materials used in different countries such as bamboo chopsticks rather than metal forks / clay ovens rather than metal ones)
What you, as a teacher, choose to do is going to be controlled by many factors such as your curriculum, the time available, resources to hand, attitudes of colleagues and senior management and the abilities of your pupils. However, with thought and enthusiasm so many projects can be undertaken to add value across the curriculum and raise your pupils' understanding.
Purely as an example here is one possible project outline, showing how different curriculum areas can get involved in a collaborative teaching project. The details are up to you and your personal skills / interests but the outline is sufficient to get you started.
Project: Food Rationing During The Second World War
In the UK food rationing was introduced during WWII. Explore why this happened, how the population coped with it and what the consequences were / could have been.
Geography has links through ...
Transport: Importance of routes cut off by enemy action, how we transport goods, why are goods not grown where they are needed, what influences the sites of farms and factories.
Trade: Where did our food come from, and why did different things come from different locations?
UK Geography: Traditional farming locations and areas brought into production.
Local region: What was grown in / contributed from your region, and why?
Climate: What could be grown / farmed and where could it be done? How did climate determine the distribution of crops and the introduction of new land for agriculture?
History has links through ...
The Home Front: What was it like at home during the war?
The Front: How did rations get to the front, and what was the importance of maintaining supply routes?
Military Action:How did enemy action control access to food and why were resources allocated to cutting food supplies?
How did the country adapt to rationing: Land Girls, home grown food, black market, treats such as oranges or chocolate...
PSHE has links through ...
Health: Why is nutrition important, how did home front rations differ from military rations, and why were there differences?
Health of the Nation: Did war time Britain have a healthier diet despite rationing? Why? What can we learn from that?
Personal Health: What do you eat now - is it as good for you as home grown produce, less sugar and less processing?
Citizenship has links through ...
Empathy: What was it like to be on rations?
Modern equivalents: What's life like for refugees / people suffering from starvation / drought / war / natural disaster today?
Volunteering: The work of community-based, national and international voluntary groups during the war, and now.
Media: The significance of the media in society, and how the Government mobilised an entire nation to 'dig for victory'.