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  • Writer's pictureDes and Pam

How to practise KS1 geography fieldwork and observational skills

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

3 ways to get your children outside safely and meet the geography National Curriculum requirements for KS1 geographical skills

The National Curriculum (2014) requires schools to: use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.

Children are returning to schools which are not as they remember them. Unfortunately, with recovery programmes and the filling of gaps on the curriculum, along with the issues of keeping everyone safe, school visits and outdoor learning may not appear to be a top priority.

Yet this could be the ideal time to allow the children to really explore their own school, its grounds and the surrounding environment. Whilst it is difficult to organise outdoor visits (and too much to ask of teachers at this time) there may be an opportunity to develop a range of simple fieldwork skills such as drawing plans, following trails, interpreting aerial photographs, observing and recording, using a compass and identifying local geographical features (both human and physical). These can all be based on your school and this work could be the next exciting project for you to cover with your children.

Here are 3 ideas to help your KS1 children develop simple fieldwork skills:

1. Use our free Geography Detectives worksheet to identify these features (or similar) in your classrooms

Learning objective: Use locational and directional language to identify features in the classroom

2. Discover what a compass is and how to use one around your own school grounds

Learning objective: Understand how to give simple compass directions using the four cardinal points.

3. Draw a simple map of your school grounds and mark on it geographical features and locational points. Here's an example worksheet to give you the idea.

Learning objective: describe routes and the location of features on a map and learn to communicate geographically.

If you'd like a downloadable PDF version of the worksheets feel free to email us on and we'll send them over to you.

We can also help you plan unique geography units based on your own school. These units would include personalised activities and maps to help your pupils find their way around your school, its grounds and the surrounding environment. Please contact us to find out more.

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