At Giffard Park Primary School, our children explore a wide range of topics covering a broad range of historic events and geographical locations. Within these topics, our children learn key skills which they will build upon each year, in order to grow into confident and independent geographers and historians.
Once a year, the children take part in a themed week, where they immerse themselves into a different country's culture, history, music and art. Children take part in a variety of different activities to learn about their chosen country, including: locating the geographical locations, learning aspects of their countries history, cooking or tasting famous foreign delicacies, part-taking in science experiments as well as creating/replicating artwork and creating a piece of writing. This is a week that both children and staff look forward to and enjoy exciting new topics and sharing their work with others around the school.
At Giffard Park, we offer wider opportunities to further our history and geography learning, through hook days and educational visits both inside and outside the classroom. See below for some of our recent expeditions!
The foundation curriculum at Giffard Park Primary School provides the fundamental geography and history skills for the children to build upon each year through the early learning goals by exploring the world around them.
Percy the Park Keeper
During this topic, the children talk about the immediate members of their family and their community. They start to name and describe people who are familiar to them and comment on familiar situations in the past.
The Jolly Postman
The children start to compare different environments to the one in which they live in.
Deepest Darkest Peru
In Foundation, the children use the adventures of Paddington Bear, to begin to explore some similarities and differences between life in the United Kingdom and life in Peru.
The children learn all about dinosaurs and start to develop their idea of the past through comparing and contrasting characters from stories, including figures from the past. To immerse the children further into the prehistoric world, they take part in ‘Dino Day’.
Year 1 and 2
The Great Fire of London
The children had a visit from local firefighters during their ‘London’ topic where they had been learning about fire equipment at the time of The Great Fire of London. The children put the events of the fire in chronological order and use role play and their senses to imagine they were there. They explore the differences between London in the past and London today.
MK to Mumbai
During their ‘MK to Mumbai’ topic, the children use atlases to find continents, countries, seas, and oceans. They also use them to identify capital cities both in the United Kingdom and India. They learn about the similarities and differences of the human and physical geography of the United Kingdom and India. They learn about the history of Milton Keynes and investigate the lives of significant people from their local area, i.e., Sir Captain Tom Moore.
Pirates and Explorers
In their Pirates and Explorers topic, the children learn all about what it was like to be a pirate in the 17th century. Including the life of famous pirate ‘Blackbeard’ as well as explorers such as Neil Armstrong, Christopher Columbus, and Ibn Battuta. As a pirate would use a map to find treasure; the children explore their map skills through reading and creating their own maps. The children bring the topic to life on our very own pirate day!
Stone Age – Iron Age – Bronze Age
In Year 3 the children explore different eras in history. They learn about survival in the stone age, flints and theories around Stonehenge. They also learn about Skara Brae and write a newspaper report on the discovery of it. In their history lessons the children compare the changes in Britain over time.
What a Wonderful World
In geography, the children use atlases to identify the countries in Europe and capital cities in the world. They carry out compass reading of cardinal and intercardinal points and learn about map symbols. They learn about hemispheres, the equator and tropics. The children build on their knowledge of human and physical features of different countries. They enjoy carrying out water cycle experiments.
The children learn all about Romans during their topic 'The Romans’. Throughout this topic, they explore who the Romans were, where they came from and the changes across Britain influenced by the Romans that are still seen today. We look at intriguing inventions, glorious gladiators and incredible invasions of the Roman Empire. Alongside this dive into history, they learn about mosaic patterns and their importance, daily life as a Roman (from slave to Emperor) and how the Roman Empire came to an end. Our learning is supported by a Roman topic day and a trip to Bradwell Abbey in Milton Keynes.
Raiders and Settlers
In Year 4, the children look at two periods of history in detail. First, they explore the Anglo-Saxons; who they were, where they came from and their way of life. They then discover the life of Vikings, who came shortly after the anglo-saxons and draw comparisons from the two time periods. They look closely at the lives of these two groups of people and learn a lot about how they lived and what drew them to Great Britain. They look at a range of sources from artefacts, photographs, drawings and videos and use these to make judgments about the past and how they impacted and influenced the way we live now.
In their geography lessons, the children enjoy learning about rainforests and in particular the Amazon rainforest in South America. They build upon their prior understanding of physical and human geography and use this to identify features on both maps and in photographs. The children find out about the animals settling in the rainforests and the adaptations they have to survive their habitat. As well as exploring the lives of Amazonian indigenous tribes and comparing the similarities and differences between their geographical location, within the Amazon, with their own in the UK.
Following their learning about the rainforest, Year 4 explores the Mayan Civilization. They find out who they were, when and how they lived and why they are considered to be an advanced civilization for their time. They particularly enjoy finding out how chocolate has evolved from this time as well as the gruesome punishments the Mayans endured.
In summer in Year 4, we learn about water and its importance in our everyday lives. We explore the water cycle and learn how water is processed to make it safe to drink and how once washed down the drain, the water is made safe to return back to the rivers. They are intrigued by extreme weather and find out why flooding occurs, the impact it has on people as well as the environment. We include a local study about canals, where we learn about the uses of canals and even had a canal boat trip down the Grand Union Canal.
During the Autumn term, Year 5 explores the Ancient Egyptians. We spend the first half term working from a historian point of view, where we explore their daily life, study artefacts from the era as well as Egyptian gods, goddesses and pharaohs. We particularly enjoy finding out about their gruesome mummification process, the pyramids and Tutankhamun.
Throughout the second half term we move towards learning about the Egyptians from a geographical view point, where we study the River Nile and the importance it held in Ancient Egyptian times. Whilst also comparing human and physical geography features seen in Egypt and the United Kingdom.
During the spring term we explore our geography topic on 'Natural Disasters'. We use the story book 'Escape from Pompeii' to learn all about Volcanoes and Earthquakes. We explore the key terms and vocabulary and use these to create detailed diagrams and reports on different natural disasters. We learn about the causes of different natural disasters and the impact after they occur.
In our ‘Remembrance’ topic, we learn about the causes and key events of World War I and World War II. We explore life in the trenches, the role of women and the Blitz. We round off our topic with a trip to Bletchley park, where we discover more about the vital role it played in the Second World War and take part in a code breaking workshop and see an enigma machine.
In our Victorian topic, we learn all about what life was like in the Victorian times. We compare Victorian schools with the modern day schooling system and what childhood is like today compared to children living in the Victorian era, where the children went to work from as young as five years old! We look at the life of Queen Victoria, the industrial revolution, Victorian inventions and the British Empire.
Our Space topic links closely with our science learning. From a historical perspective we explore the events of the Space Race, the man on the moon and the lives of different well known astronauts. We have joined video calls to watch interviews and witness a space launch! We finish our topic with a trip to the National Space Centre.
Year 6 begin the year with an exciting focus on an event in British History: The Titanic. The children focus on their understanding of the importance of the ship itself as well as working with a range of primary and secondary sources to identify who is to blame for the sinking. We also begin to look at the reliability of different sources of information in order to reach our own conclusions.
The Frozen Kingdom
In Year 6 we carry out a comparison between locations outside of Europe, looking at the key land features, human geography and adaptations that animals have made in order to survive. We then compare this with our own locality to build up an understanding of climate zones, tourism and how/why cultures and countries have adopted some traditions.
The Ancient Greeks
Leading on from this, we look at an influential ancient civilisation - the Ancient Greeks. Building on our knowledge of primary and secondary sources, the children work towards comparing the information available to create a holistic view of the Ancient Greeks and their influence on Western Society. Our aim is to provide the children with a chronological understanding of both British and world history and its influence and importance on how the world looks today.
Our Changing World
Our geography topic explores the key physical and human features of the environment, with a focus on coastal areas, weather, land borders and landscape changes. The children explore how a place can change over time and the world in the past and in the future.
Our final topic is on the Tudors. The children explore the chronology of the time period and where it fits on a timeline in relation to their history learning throughout the children’s whole time at Giffard Park. We look into tudor punishment, the monarchy and include a focused study on King Henry VII and his life.