Pittington Primary School | Hallgarth Lane, Durham, County Durham DH6 1AF

0191 3720314

Pittington Primary School

Welcome to our school

Geography at Pittington

Summer Term 2021

Nursery – Exploring Near and Far

In Nursery, we looked at examples of different types of maps including road maps, walking maps and atlases.  We also talked about the different features in our outside area and identified the key landmarks such as the caravan, shed, mud kitchen and sand pit. 

We used a large piece of paper and worked together to create a map of our garden. After that, we chose the correct coloured pen to draw on the landmarks and even labelled them.  We then used our map to find different areas of the garden and had great fun too!  We talked about how we had created a map with a ‘bird’s eye’ view. 

During our work around the book ‘Handa’s Surprise’ we talked about the story setting.  This led us to talk about the continent of Africa.  We used our globe to locate Africa and did some research finding out about the River Nile, the Sahara Desert and the different animals which lived in different parts.  We learned that many different countries make up Africa with people speaking many different languages too.

Reception –  Location, Location, Location

The children were challenged to work out where the best spot would be to home our Bug hotel. They needed to think about the spaces where children could be running, building, using water etc. as well as the areas that were too uneven and not flat.

Once they had discussed their suggestions we looked at how a map can help us to plan things as well as locate things. The children all created their own map of the outdoor area ensuring they included all of the static objects that could not be moved, such as the sandpit, mud kitchen, trees, and climbing frame. Finally, the children had to indicate on their map where they feel the Bug Hotel should go.

We had some great suggestions and reasons as the children had lots to consider before making their judgement!

Year 1 – Our Key Stage One Cartographers

In Geography this term we have been learning about the different countries of the United Kingdom and what their capital cities are. We have also matched the flag to the country.

We have also been working on our mapping skills looking at what different map symbols mean and why they are used. Next we drew our own maps of the school grounds just in case Mr Shackler ever gets lost!


Year 2 – Local Heroes

Year 2 have used world maps and atlases to find out about the Equator this term. We know that the hottest parts of the world are closest to the Equator and where the coldest parts are in relation to the North and South Poles.

We have found out about our local area and we can identify the human and physical features of Newcastle upon Tyne. We used our knowledge to make postcards to advertise ‘what’s cool about the Toon?’ We used photographs of lots of landmarks. Which landmark would you like to visit?

Year 3 – Classifying Climates

During this summer term we continued learning about the earth and its representation on a globe compared with Google Earth and DigiMap software.  We revisited what we had learnt about Russia in the autumn term and described its position in the world relative to the Arctic & Antarctic circles, and the two hemispheres.

We revisited fieldwork from a previous half term and learnt more about the north east area of UK, using a selection of printed maps and aerial photographs to better understand the human and physical geography of our local area, both past and present.


We now know more geographical vocabulary and facts about climate zones, which are polar (including tundra and snow/ice), temperate, arid, equatorial (tropical) and Mediterranean.  This was quite challenging because we used to believe that a desert was sandy and without life, but now know that life can exist in some deserts and that there are non-sandy deserts too.  Some of us thought that all deserts were located near the equator, but learned about a desert on Antarctica. 

Year 4 – Moving on to Higher Ground

Year 4 have been working hard to develop their atlas using skills by locating areas of higher ground around the UK.

It has been a year packed full of learning in geography for year 4 and this showcases a snapshot of the knowledge the children have accrued over this year. Children used their prior learning to independently label and annotate the map of the UK and surrounding seas to collate everything they have learned.

Year 5 – Postcards from Around the World

In Year 5, we have been developing our global knowledge and understanding. We have continued to develop our accuracy and recall with regard to the location of European and South American countries and the capital cities of each. The children really are getting quite quick with this. We have also explored the topic of biomes and the range of these found across the globe. We even write postcards from different places around the world and could identify the biome of features which we would find there.


To further our global understanding, we have also studied the Equator, Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and the Arctic and Antarctic circles. We have discussed how location within or near to these impacts upon climate and other geographical features.

Year 6 

In Geography this term, Y6 have been building on their knowledge of biomes and considering vegetation belts.

We focussed upon the Alps and completed a countries jigsaw to enhance our knowledge of the countries which the Alps run through.  That wasn’t as easy as it sounded!

We then explored the human and physical geography within the Alps, carefully considering tourism and the impact which that has on the area. 

Alongside this, we considered the vegetation belts in the Alps and compared these to the Himalayas.

Spring Term 2021

Nursery – Globetrotting from an early age.

In Nursery we read the story ‘The Day the Crayons Came Home’ and talked about the postcards they sent.  We looked at the pictures on the front of real postcards and talked about visiting different places on holidays.  We looked at a globe and talked about all of the countries in the world.  We looked at some of the landmarks the crayons saw on their travels such as the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China and found each country on the globe.  The children wanted to find different countries they had been on holiday including Spain, Italy, Barbados and Turkey.

Reception – What would Inuit do?

We have been using our recent weather to make links to the world around us.  The snow and ice made us consider those people who live in such conditions most of the time.  We compared the lifestyle of Inuit people to ours.  We discovered that they make the most of their landscape and surrounding to eat, live and travel.  We even attempted to build our own igloo’s!

Year 1 –  Featuring a city near you

In year 1 we have been learning all about what the weather is like in our country and how this affects what we wear.  Throughout the term we track what our weather is like on our very own weather station display in school.

We then went on to do a local study of Durham. A city very close to our school. We looked at where Durham is on a map and brainstormed everything we know about it.


Next, we looked at what is meant by human and physical features and linked this back to Durham. We were then able to sort out the main landmarks of Durham into human and physical features and we found out that there were more human features than physical.


Year 2 – A class of cartographers

In Geography this term Year 2 have been using maps and atlases to find out about the UK, South Africa and the local area. Children, both at home and in school, made some fabulous posters looking at the human and physical features of U.K. capital cities. We also compared Edinburgh and Cape Town. There were more similarities than we thought there might be. Edinburgh was the most popular as a holiday destination. Extinct volcanoes are too cool to miss.

We carried out some fieldwork in Pittington and spotted some human and physical features. When we returned to school we drew our own maps of Pittington to pick out some of the features we spotted on our fieldwork.

Year 3 – Making the most of their local environment

Every few weeks during the first two months of this half term, the year 3 children who were home learning received activities that helped them to continue accessing the geography curriculum.  The children both at home and in the classroom explored aspects of human and physical geography.

The fieldwork activities for both home learners and those children in the classroom followed on from the skills and techniques practised in the autumn term, with a focus on our local area and the use of the Digimap website.

Countries within North West Europe and the UK were compared with similarities and differences being highlighted.  Links were emphasised when they helped overlay prior learning about continents, oceans and compass directions, or where there was a meaningful cross curricular link such as with English and the writing of a Travel Guide for the UK.

Year 4 – Digital geographers

Year 4 have been using our digital online mapping tool ‘Digimaps’ to explore the local area as well as further afield by learning about the geography of Russia. The class have continued to work on their Year 4 objectives by learning the major cities of the UK and Europe and have worked well to do so with so many of us home learning. Digital technology really helped with online mapping and quizzes to test their knowledge.

Year 5 – More  marvellous ‘Digimappers’

In Year 5 we have continued to work upon our key Year 5 expectations. These have included: recognising and locating European and South American countries, developing the recall of the capital cities of these countries, being able to locate the UK cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Liverpool, Birmingham, York, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Belfast, Leicester, Nottingham, London and Bristol, and naming and locating the rivers and mountain areas of the UK. The Year 5 children have worked hard on these aspects and home learning tasks have mirrored these key focus areas. Online resources for the development of the recall of these facts have been provided and home and school learners have both had the opportunity to access the Digimaps online mapping resource which the school subscribes to.

Additionally, we have continued our learning about a South American country (Brazil) and have had the opportunity to write travel texts about Brazil in English. We have also researched the rainforest areas and have debated aspects such as deforestation. The children also wrote a speech about why we should care for these areas. Recently, we have accessed a range of maps to explore vegetation belts and their key characteristics.

Year 6 – Fantastic fairtrade

Y6 have been continuing to learning about global trading.  We started the term by looking at the trading links between El Salvador and the UK and the issues which some people living there face to earn their living. This led us on to find out more about fair trade.  We looked at the supply chain of bananas, coffee and chocolate and guessed how much each part of the chain earned according to the level of work involves.  We were very surprised with the real answers.

We also looked at some global supply chains and were surprised by how many different places a pair of jeans need to go before they arrive in our wardrobes!

We then finished off by looking at how trade has changed over the centuries and considered similarities and differences between trade from the Tudor era, Victorian era and present day.

Autumn Term 2020

Nursery – Holidays at home and away

The children in Nursery have enjoyed sharing photographs and talking about their Summer holidays.  Some children holidayed in the UK and we located their holiday destinations on the UK map display.  Some children travelled to other countries on holiday.

The children looked at the world map and found the countries which they went to.  The class talked about how people travelled on holiday.  Some children travelled by aeroplane or ferry but most travelled by car.  Everyone has enjoyed looking at the picture atlases especially looking at the different animals which live in other countries.  The new map display in the classroom has been very popular with the children who like to explore the world with their friends.  Nursery have also learned about road signs and how to stay safe on the road. They even made our own road maps and added signs.

Reception – From France to Africa

To mark the occasion of European Day of Languages Reception learnt all about France. The children chose France so they could learn some words in French as this is the language that is taught as the children progress through school. First, the class looked at a map to see where different countries are and mainly the countries in Europe. They located the United Kingdom on a globe and then looked to see where France is. The children also used an Atlas to find more information.

Reception have been reflecting upon different families and lifestyles through a book called ‘Masai and I’. The book sparked the children’s curiosity and they wanted to know more about Africa and the Masai people. Children explored what ‘tribe’ means and how the Masai people see the whole tribe as their family. The little girl in the story imagined life as a Masai in Africa and compared it to her current life.  The class explored transport, being self-sufficient, climate and daily tasks such as shopping (and carrying it home)

Year 1 – Experts at work

In Geography this term the year 1 children have been learning all about three continents of the world and where to find them on a world map. The children have looked at Europe, Africa and Australia. For each of the continents, the class picked a country to find out a little bit more about it.

Year 1 are very lucky as they have two Australian experts. One used to live in Australia until he was three and the other has family who live there. They brought in lots of things to show us like his Blue Australian Passport, dollars, books and animals you would find there.  

We have been looking at a compass and learning what each of the four points are and where they appear. The children had to design their own compass and write on the labels.

Year 3 – Taking a different viewpoint

Year 3 have enjoyed learning about the country of Iceland, especially when they used live webcams to observe physical and human features.  The class also enjoyed the online mapping website ‘Digimaps’ to view our school from above. This helped us when learning about field work and how to use sketching to record features near our school.

Year 3 used their class room display to better understand the link between our local area, the county, regions of England and our location in the UK.  They then compared the location of the British Isles and Iceland within Europe when viewed from space and the position of nearby continents.

Year 4 – Cyclists, but not as you might think!

After, learning about the water cycle and the reasons behind the process, the class then went on to describe the process and demonstrate it using water cycle wheels which helped make each step clear and develop our understanding of key vocabulary.

They then went on to create their own ‘water cycle in a bag’ to demonstrate the process on a smaller scale which you may have seen adorning the year 4 classroom window!

Year 5 – Testing times and Brazilian climes

Year 5 have focused upon their recall and locational knowledge of countries in Europe and South America. This has also included a growing knowledge of the associated capital cities. Children have spent lots of time in class having quizzes and developing this.

Year 5 have an overall focus of developing our geographical knowledge of Brazil. The children completed fieldwork activities by using digital mapping technology ‘Digimaps’ to compare and contrast the land heights and mountainous areas found in England, Iceland and Brazil. The children made some very astute geographical observations.

Additionally, year 5 have started to explore some of the human geographical aspects and this has included comparing resources and key exports of both the United Kingdom and Brazil. The children were very active in discussions about trade and how demand can impact upon prices.


Spring Term 2020

Nursery – On top of the world 

There is now a world map and a map of the UK in Nursery.  The children have looked at the different countries and talked about places they have been to.  They have also started to mark our holiday destinations on the map. 

Following on from a concern from a parent regarding road safety, nursery decided to look at the local area and how to cross the road safely.  The children looked at a powerpoint and then practised using the zebra crossing and pelican crossing outside in the garden.  Some of the class were drivers of the vehicles stopping at the traffic lights and some of the class were the pedestrians crossing the road. 

Reception – Treasure hunting 


Reception have just started to look at maps and in particular treasure maps.  The children have begun to explore using directional language to make and then follow a route.  Children have been mapping out routes on the playground floor and then drawing their own treasure maps for others to follow.   


Year 1  

In year 1, the children have been exploring Durham and the area they live in. They looked at what is near where they live, for example, church’s, shops and farms, and discussed the differences found between us in the class. One of the children brought up how they know their address because it is important in case of emergency. This led to the children working really hard to remember their own and I can gladly say all of Year 1 now know their address. 

Year 2 – They can see the seas 


The class are now experts at recognising if something is a human feature of a physical feature – just ask them! The children looked at examples from around the country and then marked some local physical features on our class geography display. 

Year 2 have also been learning the seas that surround the United Kingdom and used an atlas and the index section to locate each one. 

Year 3 – A bird’s eye view 

Year 3 have used Google Earth and street maps of where they live to learn more about the rivers, coasts, cities and regions near their house.  The class used Art and Design skills to sketch, label and annotate what they could see from the different compass point directions when on the school yard.   

The children also made comparisons between continents and countries that linked with what they were learning in other subjects. 

Year 4  Teaching Tyne and Wear 

Year 4 have completed their key focus on the River Tyne and the River Wear and how these key physical features have impacted upon the human geography around them. 

The class completed fieldwork activities by using digital mapping technology to trace the rivers to their sources, identifying tributaries and key settlements. They also looked at crossing points and were able to link the width of the River Tyne to its crossing point at Newcastle, making the city’s location important historically. This connected to their learning about the Normans in history. 


The children also used 8 figure compass points to describe the location of local features and settlements.  

The children explored the history of both rivers with relation to land use and, in particular, coal export and the shipbuilding industry. Then they explored the role of the rivers in the growth and development of the settlements found upon their banks. This also included further digital fieldwork to explore the change in land use over time. 

Year 5  An ‘Amazon’ carnival atmosphere 

Geography learning in year 5 has been centred around South America and learning about the human and physical aspects of the continent. The class have looked at tourism, landmarks, mountain ranges, major cities and studied environmental issues around the deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest.  

The children used maps, atlases and tourist information sources to find information. They stood at the top of the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue using Google Earth and shared the view. 

They then created a travel show promoting Brazil and why people should visit. They included a question and answer section specifically based around our geography learning to showcase their knowledge and understanding from the whole term. 

Year 6 – Looking at a clear solution 

Year 6 have been studying the precious global commodity which is water.  The class learnt about each stage of the water cycle in detail and related these to understanding world climate zones.  

The class then progressed to finding out about what makes water a necessity for a community and this led them to consider water vulnerability. The class thought about potential problems and their apparent solutions. 

Autumn Term 2019

Early Years

In Nursery this term the children have been looking at a world map. We have been looking at some of the places that they have been interested in and labelling them on the map. Come and take a look to see where the titanic sank and where the leaning tower of Pisa is! The children showed a lot of interest in making maps and plans of their own. With a little help they are starting to understand the purpose of keys on maps and how they can be used to navigate.

Many children in Reception have been very curious about a classroom display all about Africa and wanted to know more so we have been reading a book (called Masai and I) about a child who imagined life as a Masai in Africa.

The children have really enjoyed learning more about Masai life such as clothing, jewellery, music and being self-sufficient. We looked at similarities about our lives and routines. We reflected on our families and the routines of Masai families.

The children have learnt new words such as Kraal (which I’m sure they can explain to you) and have been intrigued to learn that the Masai people build their own homes with mud, dung, ash and branches. In class so far we have made African leaf pictures and Masai jewellery, we even attempted to build our own kraals outside too!

Keystage 1

In Year 1 we have been learning about the countries of the United Kingdom. We have looked at where we find them and challenged ourselves by remembering the capital city. We used a map of the world and a globe so we could see what the UK looked like and the size of it in comparison to some other countries.

Our topic this term was fire and ice. As part of the ice topic we looked at Antarctica. We compared Antarctica to the UK and discussed the differences. For example; the weather, clothing, animals and plants. Year 1 have loved learning about Antarctica but were happy that they did not live somewhere that cold!

Year 2 have been learning the names of the continents and oceans of the world and have some nifty songs to help us remember them all. Since the class are now experts, they went on a fossil hunt! The different fossils were found all over the world and we had to apply or knowledge and show which continents they were found on a map of the world.

Keystage 2

Year 3 have been learning about each of the continents and then developing our understanding of them by making links with what we learn in other subjects.  Children who had returned from overseas travel during the summer break explained their destinations with reference to countries and continents.  We have also focussed on our local region, country, and neighbouring places within the UK.  When learning about the coast of Scotland we linked this with what we had learnt in history about Skara Brae.





Within Geography in Year 4, we have been learning about cities and how they differ from other types of settlement. This has included both a range of map work and computer research. To being with, we investigated the location of major cities and how this linked to river or coastal locations and how this was historically key to their growth. We then explored the key differences between cities and other settlement types. This included using computer mapping technology to investigate Newcastle upon Tyne and we explored the numerous features such as: museums, shopping centres, transport systems, monuments, hospitals and universities.  Recently, we have explored transport systems in more details and this included examining the benefits which the London Underground brings. The children were even challenged to plot journeys on the transport system using maps. 

In Geography year 5 have been learning about North and South America. We can name and locate mountainous regions, use an atlas to find the highest peaks and have made information leaflets on Alaska looking at both human and physical features. We also undertook the 50 states challenge – see our video for the progress we are making.

Year 6 have been investigating scaled maps and we used trundle wheels to measure the perimeter of our school grounds in order to create a scaled map of our school.  We have also been finding out about 4 and 6-figure grid references and looking at Ordnance Survey maps.  We used these and Google maps to plan a journey home if we had been left behind at Robinwood!

Summer Term 2019

Early Years

A sense of place….

One of the children had drawn the location of where another child could find their worm.

Key Stage 1

Year 1

Year 1 have had a visit from the RNLI and learnt about the features of beaches.

They have also been comparing Antarctica and the United Kingdom.

Year 2

 We made a class compass by magnetising a needle and then used it to find out which direction north, south, east and west were. We then described where areas were on the school grounds.

Key Stage 2

In Year 4 we have been learning how to read maps and use them correctly.  We looked for Roman towns in Britain. We traced the Roman roads such as Fossway and Watling Street. We also put local landmarks on a map of Pittington. We found St Laurence’s Church, Hallgarth Manor and Citron Vert as well as Pittington Primary! We then had to find our house if we lived in Pittington Village.

Year 5

In Year 5 the children have been discussing the Amazon rainforest. They had a debate about land usage and formed a peaceful protest to discuss issues and concerns. 

  They Year 5s have even written travel guides to Brazil!

Spring Term 2019

In the EYFS children have been looking at their place within their family and what sort of homes different people live in. We have also been lucky enough to have some tadpoles in class and the children have been thinking about where they live and how they develop and change over time.

 In KS1 the children have looked at maps of the local area and learned about map symbols. They have considered human and physical features and the difference between the two. In Year 2 children have been comparing and contrasting two different places to live, South Africa and the UK. They have explored the differences between the two. Children have also been finding out about weather patterns for different seasons.

In lower KS2 children have been following somebody’s trip around the world and comparing life in their local region with Greece. Children have also been looking at how the Roman’s affected land use in the UK. They have looked at both regional and national maps.

In upper KS2 children have been looking at Brazil. They have written a travel guide, researched places of interest and looked at cultural traditions like the Sao Paulo Carnival. They have thought about landuse in the rainforest and the prejudices that exist between various groups living there. Children loved using maps, timetables and the internet to plan a journey too, from North Yorkshire to Pittington!

Autumn Term 2018

At Pittington Primary school we offer Geography through both embedded activities in other curriculum subjects and as discrete lessons.

What have we done this term?

In the Early Years classes children have been familiarising themselves with their situation within the school building and where they are in comparison to home. In Reception children have looked weekly at the map of the world and discussed where they have visited, where objects in their classroom come from and where the art that they have been exploring comes from; the Masai Mara!    

In Key Stage 1 children have looked at where Pittington is on maps and where they live. They have also been creating maps of the school grounds using a mapping key to help the caretaker Mr Shackler.

In a remarkable turn of events when the children got outside they found dinosaur bones and eggs on the field, they recorded their exact location with symbols on their maps.

In Lower Key Stage 2 children have been learning where in the world you can find volcanoes using a globe. They have noted where the tectonic plates meet that can cause volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis.


They have learnt in more depth about how to read maps and use them correctly.  Using these skills the children have found where Roman Roads such as Fossway and Watling Street are. To deepen knowledge of the local area children have added local landmarks to a map of Pittington Village.

In Upper Key Stage 2 the children were challenged to produce a scale map of the school grounds. Using measuring equipment they measured the key distances around the grounds and then converted these from metres into centimetres and produced maps to the scale of 1:1000.