Geography

This subject is a multi-faceted one which includes scientific study of the physical world, the study and understanding of humans and their use of the environment, and their interactions with people globally.

The aim of the subject department is for each boy to gain insight into and to query the relationship between humans and their dynamic environment through a progressive exposure to the complex physical, social and political environments in which he lives. The purpose is to inspire critical thinking, which is a life skill.

Who should opt for this subject?
Geography is a very popular subject at College and it caters for a wide range of ability levels, from the weaker boy through to the very academically able one.

Some of the skills it teaches are:

  • handling data & writing a concise report
  • formulating questions, finding answers and then drawing conclusions
  • thinking creatively and independently
  • problem-solving
  • social, economic and political awareness.

The course provides a firm base for life-long learning.

Outline of the curriculum

Some aspects studied are:

Form 4

      • The Atmosphere (composition & structure of it, heating & moisture in the atmosphere, synoptic charts)
      • Geomorphology (the structure of the earth, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes)
      • Population (distribution, movement , growth & density of population, HIV & Aids)
      • Water Resources (oceans, water management in SA, floods)
      • Mapwork Skills & Techniques (topographic maps, aerial & orthophotos, Geographical Informations systems)

Form 5

      • The Atmosphere (the earth’s energy balance, global air circulation, Africa’s weather & climate, drought)
      • Geomorphology (rock strata, igneous rocks, slopes, mass movements & human responses)
      • Development (trade & development, issues & challenges, Development Aid)
      • Resources & Sustainability (soil & soil erosion, conventional & unconventional energy sources)
      • Mapwork Skills & Techniques (extension of Form 4 curriculum)

Form 6

      • Climate & Weather (various types of cyclones, rural & urban climates)
      • Geomorphology (drainage systems in SA, fluvial processes, catchment & river management)
      • Rural & Urban Settlement (types of settlements, urban hierarchies, urban structure & growth)
      • Economic Geography of SA (structure of the economy, agriculture, mining, industrial development, informal sector)
      • Mapwork Skills & Application (extension of Forms 4 & 5 curricula)

Geography, as a subject, is very up to date and relevant, so the boys are able to identify with the concepts they are learning about in the classroom as they can relate them to their own experience. The integration of technology into the subject has made learning more immediate and meaningful. The subject has an academic and a practical orientation. It is a learning subject, as it content and skill based. It provides an opportunity to explore and investigate.

Highlights of the course

In Form 4, boys particularly enjoy studying the geology of the Pietermaritzburg area.

In Form 5, they find the analysis of soil from their homes especially interesting. Recently they have studied the application of appropriate technology in rural Nepal and its relevance to South African rural areas.

In Form 6, the Geographers respond to the study of a local river system and the effect humans are having on it.

All boys enjoy the introduction to Geographical Information Systems and its application in the world of research and business.

Assessment

The exams are made up of two papers – Paper 1 is Theory and Paper 2 is Mapwork.