Year 8 Geography

Unit Content

Unit 1


Students build on prior knowledge of plate tectonics by studying earthquakes and tsunamis, exploring 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 differences in the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis
  • How to explain physical and human processes using key vocabulary
  • How to use specific examples to evaluate human responses to earthquake and tsunami events

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


In this unit, students study the most populated of the world's continents. They learn about the various biomes of Asia, and the vast difference in their landscapes. Looking more closely at countries, students evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of industrialisation in China, as well as the rapid development of Dubai. Later in the unit, students explore the human and natural causes of climate change, and make connections between feeding the world's growing global population and achieving environmental sustainability.

Knowledge developed:

  • Knowing the countries and biomes of Asia
  • Knowing human and physical causes of climate change
  • Understanding the causes and consequences of rapid development
  • Understanding global issues around food production and distribution

Skills developed:

  • How to interpret information from population pyramids
  • How to explain the steps that lead to tropical storms
  • How to analyse information from a proportional symbol map.

Assessment: Learning is assessed formatively in lessons, through the use of students’ class notebooks alongside quizzes and discussions. Learning is summatively assessed at the beginning of Term 6, in a written paper.

Unit 3

North America

In this unit, students study tropical storms and the impact they can have on islands such as Puerto Rico. Learning is based on the graphic novel After Maria by Gemma Sou, which was created to tell the real-life stories of individuals impacted by Storm Maria in 2017. Studying the graphic novel allows students to empathise with the different groups impacted and to consider the different vulnerabilities that groups of people face in such circumstances. They then explore the various responses to Storm Maria, considering the media’s representation of people who are impacted by natural hazards. In the second half of the unit, students examine weather and climate, studying the devastating wildfires of North America, as well as the impacts that wildfires can have on ecosystems.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Knowing case study details relating to a tropical storm
  • Understanding the world’s climate and its relationship with natural hazards
  • Understanding the importance of ecosystems, and how various factors can impact them

Key skills developed:

  • How to use GIS to understand countries

Assessment: Learning is assessed formatively in lessons, through the use of students’ class notebooks alongside quizzes and discussions. Learning is summatively assessed at the start of Term 6 in written paper.