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Explorers (Spring 2020)

What is the theme about?

The main foci of this topic are History, Science and Geography, particularly the following areas of study:

 

  • Oceans and Continents
  • Map Skills
  • Famous Explorers
  • Geographical features of countries
  • Locating Countries
  • Tudors and Stuarts
  • Tudor Exploration
  • Magnetism and Forces
  • Earth and Space

 

The learning related to this theme is distributed across both Key Stages and EYFS. Each child will study this topic 3 times over the course of their time at the school building on their prior knowledge and skills. Following the National Curriculum expectations, the children to learn the knowledge in the following way:

 

  EYFS Key Stage 1 Lower Key Stage 2 Upper Key Stage 2*
Statutory  

Geography:

Oceans and Continents

map skills, compass directions

History: Ernest Shackleton, Neil Armstrong

 

Science: Magnetism and Forces, Compass Points

Geography: Locating the world's countries, topographical features, place knowledge, using maps

History: Christopher Columbus and Herman Cortes, Aztecs/Mayans

Science: Earth and Space

Geography: Time zones, 6 figure grid references, human and physical geography

History: Tudors and Stuarts, Tudor Exploration

Additional knowledge   Space Exploration

Slavery, Trade, Life at Sea

Captain Cook

Abolition of Slavery, Vasco de Gama, Impact of Explorers

*Whilst we do not yet have Year 5 and 6, we have planned for progression into upper key stage 2 in preparation for Primary.

 

Topic Justifications

Explorers have enabled us to find out more about the world and the universe, both through historical exploration of the globe and developing modern explorations in the universe and within technology, to name but a few.

 

Explorers demonstrate secure and effective leadership qualities in terms of leading teams of people to work with them, i.e. in meticulous organisation, courage, team building. They also encourage us to think beyond what we initially believe is possible. Explorers encourage and inspire ambition, in finding the new.  

 

Learning about explorers is in part, about what was learned, but in the main about how it was discovered.  This theme enables us to work with our children to develop their ideas on self-ambition, on self-awareness, on not ‘settling’ for what they achieve on their first attempt but developing this into something more.  

 

Finally, the experience of explorers matters because they show how to prevail in the face of great adversity. Indeed, in the experience of explorers, the adversity seems to be the main point. Montaigne said, “It is the journey, not the arrival, that matters.” We want to know how the explorers contended with the journey: the hardship, doubts, setbacks, and even success; we relish the stories of explorers because they show the rest of us how to go far away, and come back again. It is the return of the explorers that creates the example of testing the limits—in Stan Rogers’ song, “to find there but the road back home again." This demonstrates to the children that people have been out of their own comfort zones and relied upon their existing knowledge. 

 

History teaches us that we worship so called ‘heroes’ at our own risk. But what passes today for the celebration of a profound achievement in the annals of exploration misses some big points. Such commemorations need to bring us face to face with lessons about leadership, ambition, and adversity that the present generation can harness in its own outbound journeys.

 

In examining and investigating what our children need, all staff came to the conclusion that our children don’t tend to have the ambition to move beyond what is immediately possible.  Many of our children have a tendency to do what they need to do in order to achieve ‘just enough’ without the drive to go further.  We want to encourage our children to think outside of the box, to develop their skills to become leaders, developers and changers of the future.  


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