Year 9 Geography

Unit Content

Unit 1

Humans and Extreme Environments

In this unit, students explore how humans have influenced the world, including through the extraction and use of natural resources. They study how our species has adapted to living in extreme environments, learning about the threats that we have created as a result. The unit focuses closely on coral reefs and the Arctic, and on how humans use these natural spaces to develop economies and improve quality of life.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Knowing the importance of the world's oceans for humans and animals
  • Knowing how micro-plastics threaten marine life
  • Knowing who lives in the Arctic
  • Understanding the differences between the Arctic and Antarctica
  • Knowing how humans have adapted to thrive in the Arctic Circle

Key skills developed:

  • How to recognise elements of sustainability in the management of natural spaces
  • How to read and analyse data displayed in climate graphs
  • How to evaluate using geographic terminology

Assessment: At the start of Term 2, students complete a written assessment based on the skills and knowledge they have accumulated. Subsequently, they complete a decision-making exercise mid-way through Term 2, which is self-assessed in class.

Unit 2


In this unit, students develop their understanding of how physical landscapes vary, using the world’s largest country to support their learning. They implement their understanding of world biomes and develop skills in geographic information systems (GIS) to create a road trip across Russia. Later in the unit, students learn about geopolitics, exploring Russia’s global significance, and the alliances and conflicts that have been created.

Knowledge developed:

  • Understanding variation in physical landscapes
  • Knowing that access to natural resources can support countries in gaining superpower status
  • Understanding how Russia’s economy and climate change are linked
  • Understanding reasons for national and global conflicts

Skills developed:

  • How to use GIS to understand differences in landscapes
  • How to evaluate a strategy used to manage natural resources

Assessment: Learning is assessed formatively in lessons, through the use of students’ class notebooks alongside quizzes and discussions. Students will self-assess their 'Russian road trip' work, using established success criteria. Learning is summatively assessed at the beginning of Term 6, in a written paper.

Unit 3

South America

In this unit, students study the use and misuse of two major biomes in South America. They explore the impacts that fast fashion has on the Atacama Desert, and its links with deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. Students consider the underlying causes of these changes and learn about the social, economic and environmental issues that are created as a result. Finally, the unit focuses on urbanisation in Rio de Janeiro, and the impacts of a rapidly growing population.

Key knowledge developed:

  • Understanding the implications of consumerism in the context of a growing population
  • Understanding the global and local importance of rainforests
  • Understanding the causes and impacts of deforestation
  • Understanding a variety of perspectives on deforestation
  • Knowing about different management strategies to protect the rainforests
  • Knowing global population trends
  • Understanding the impacts of a growing population, with specific case study detail
  • Understanding how the social, economic and environmental factors of favelas are managed in Rio de Janeiro

Key skills developed:

  • How to make informed and justified decisions
  • How to calculate the amount of carbon stored in trees
  • How to present data on scatter graphs

Assessment: Learning is assessed formatively each lesson in class. Summative assessment takes place at the start of Term 6, in a written assessment that includes a range of short and long questions, using a variety of command words.