Year 8 Geography

Unit Content

Unit 1


Students build on prior knowledge of plate tectonics by studying earthquakes and tsunamis, both the physical processes that cause them and how humans interact with them. The unit works through causes, effects and responses with a significant emphasis on the contrast between low- and high-income countries (LIC/HIC) by covering events in countries such as Haiti and Japan.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Knowing how earthquakes are distributed across the world
  • Knowing the processes that create earthquakes and tsunamis
  • Knowing how humans interact with earthquakes in countries of varying wealth

Key skills developed:

  • How to use development indicators to explain difference in the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis
  • How to explain physical and human processes using key vocabulary
  • How to evaluate human responses to earthquake and tsunami events using examples

Assessment: Learning is assessed formatively at the start of Term 2 with a range of practice questions that can be self, peer or teacher assessed. This unit is then assessed summatively at the start of Term 3 and Term 6, with a range of short and long questions using a variety of command words.

Unit 2

Climate Change

Students examine the issue of climate change considering the natural causes of such changes over the entirety of Earth’s lifespan before examining contemporary anthropogenic change. Students cover climate change impacts and responses at a range of scales and are encouraged to consider how their own actions and lifestyles relate to climate change. There is a particular focus on how climate change is linked to changes in tropical storm events.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Knowing the natural and human causes of climate change
  • Knowing climate change-related effects at a range of scales
  • Knowing responses to climate change from individual to governmental levels

Key skills developed:

  • How to explain processes of the enhanced greenhouse effect
  • How to research independently the impacts of climate change across the world
  • How to evaluate the effectiveness of a range of responses to climate change

Assessment: Learning is assessed at the start of Term 3. The assessment will include a range of short and long questions covering both causes, impacts and responses to climate change.

Unit 3


Students build on prior knowledge of shanty towns in low-income countries (LIC) by examining urbanisation in high-income countries (HIC). The unit covers causes of urbanisation before examining how HIC cities respond to the challenges of urbanisation. There is a strong link to local geographies as students consider how new housing, as seen in local villages, can be sustainably planned. 

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding historical and contemporary causes of urbanisation
  • Understanding the challenges of and responses to HIC urbanisation around the world
  • Understanding the strategies that make new housing estates sustainable

Key skills developed:

  • How to interpret and analyse graphs relating to urbanisation
  • How to write a formal letter of complaint about the challenges of urbanisation
  • How to plan a sustainable housing estate

Assessment: Learning is assessed during the unit through a sustainable housing plan activity and, formatively, at the start of Term 4 with practice questions. It is later assessed summatively, at the start of Term 6, with a range of short and long questions using a variety of command words.

Unit 4


Students build and apply their knowledge of river processes by examining processes relating to coasts. In this unit, students explore the UK coastline, studying coastal landforms, and how humans interact with and affect these. Through studying a range of specific examples students are able to build on their existing knowledge of the coastline.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding the processes that shape coastal landforms
  • Understanding the ways in which humans interact with the coastline, positively and negatively
  • Understanding the challenges the UK's coastline faces

Key skills developed:

  • How to plan the management of coastal erosion with sea defences
  • How to explain the formation of coastal landforms through coastal processes
  • How to make and label diagrams with key processes

Assessment: Learning is assessed summatively at the start of Term 6 with a range of short and long questions using a variety of command words.

Unit 5


Students examine the topic of tourism through the lens of closing the development gap (building on Year 7 knowledge of development). Learning focuses on what tourism is and how it has grown before turning towards an in-depth study of tourism in Ibiza. This case study helps students to evaluate successes and failures of the industry and how future tourism could be more sustainable.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding how tourism relates to the development gap
  • Understanding positive and negative impacts of tourism in social, economic and environmental (SEE) categories
  • Understanding sustainable tourism strategies in SEE categories

Key skills developed:

  • How to calculate growth in tourism
  • How to plan sustainable tourism strategies using SEE categories
  • How to evaluate impacts of and strategies for tourism

Assessment: Learning is assessed during the unit through the Ibiza sustainable tourism plan activity and, summatively, at the start of Term 6 with a range of short and long questions using a variety of command words.

Unit 6


Students study Africa, examining both the physical and human landscapes across the continent. Through the unit students challenge stereotypes of Africa and develop positive attitudes to its diverse geographies. This is achieved by studying the opportunities and challenges people face, socially, economically and environmentally.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Knowing the range of environments in Africa
  • Understanding the challenges and opportunities that people face
  • Understanding the interaction between humans and the physical landscape

Key skills developed:

  • How to use data to complete climate graphs
  • How to evaluate geographical opportunities and challenges
  • How to explain our connections to Africa

Assessment: Learning is assessed formatively through the use of student booklets, and through a variety of questions distributed throughout the unit's lessons.