Geography — Year 10


Geography Overview

Term 1 and 2: The Physical Processes of the UK

Coasts are shaped by a variety of processes, creating landforms by both deposition and erosion. The topic also looks at management of the coastal zone to protect the area from both human and physical damage.

Rivers are shaped by a variety of processes, creating landforms by both deposition and erosion. The topic also looks at management and flooding prevention.

A GCSE style 30 mark assessment.


(1) rocks carried along a river wear down the river bed and banks


a wave-eroded passage through a small headland. This begins as a cave which is gradually widened and deepened until it cuts through


rocks being carried by the river smash together and break into smaller, smoother and rounder particles


a wide coastal inlet, often with a beach, where areas of less resistant rock have been eroded by the sea


a zone of deposited material that extends from the low water line to the limit of storm waves

Beach nourishment

adding new material to a beach artificially, through the dumping of large amounts of sand or shingle


a low ridge on a sandy beach created by swash, usually marks the high tide line

Biological weathering

a type of weathering caused by flora and fauna, such as plant roots growing in cracks in the rock or animals burrowing into weak rocks


weathering of limestone and chalk by acidic rainwater


a large hole in a cliff caused by waves forcing their way into cracks in the cliff face


the explosive force of air trapped in the cracks of rock

Chemical weathering

the decomposition (or rotting) of rock caused by a chemical change within that rock


a steep high rock face formed by weathering and erosion

Coastal management

strategies used to defend coastal environments, divided into three different approaches: hard engineering, soft engineering and managed retreat

Coastal realignment

the establishment of a new coastline as part of managed retreat, often allowing flooding to occur over low-lying land to protect farmland, roads and settlements

Concordant coastline

a straight coastline with a single rock running parallel to the coast

Constructive waves

a powerful wave with a strong swash that surges up a beach


chemical erosion caused by the dissolving of rocks and minerals by sea water


occurs when material being transported by the sea is dropped due to the sea losing energy

Destructive waves

a wave formed by a local storm that crashes down onto a beach and has a powerful backwash

Discordant coastline

an indented coastline made up of headlands and bays formed when different rocks reach the coast


deposit of sand which has been blown inland by onshore winds

Dune fencing

fences constructed on sandy beaches to encourage the formation of new sand dunes to protect existing dunes

Dune regeneration

building up dunes and increasing vegetation to prevent excessive coastal retreat


wearing away and removal of material by a moving force, such as a breaking wave


a crack or line of weakness in rock


the distance of open water over which the wind can blow

Freeze-thaw weathering

a common process of weathering in a glacial environment involving repeated cycles of freezing and thawing that can make cracks in rock bigger


steel wire mesh filled with boulders used in coastal defences

Geological structure

the way that layers of rock are folded or tilted

Grid reference

a map reference that indicates a location using numbered vertical and horizontal lines that run up and down, and increase in value from bottom to top of the map


a wooden barrier built out into the sea to stop the longshore drift of sand and shingle, and allow the beach to grow


a rocky coastal promontory (highpoint of land) made of rock that is resistant to erosion: headlands lie between bays of less resistant rock where the land has been eroded by the sea

Hydraulic power

process where breaking waves compress pockets of air in cracks in a cliff; the pressure may cause the crack to widen, breaking off rock

Jurassic Coast

a 154km stretch of coast in East Devon and Dorset which was made a World Heritage Site in 2001 because of its geological importance


a physical feature of the Earth’s surface


the movement of rock, earth or debris down the slope of a hill. Also known as a landslip

Longshore drift

transport of sediment along a stretch of coastline caused by waves approaching the beach at an angle

Marram grass

type of grass that is adapted to windy, exposed conditions and is used in coastal management to stabilise sand dunes

Mass movement

downhill movement of weathered material under the force of gravity

Mechanical weathering

physical disintegration or break up of exposed rock without any change in its chemical composition, i.e. freeze–thaw


areas of fine sediment deposits which over time can develop in saltmarshes


when saturated soil and weak rock flow down a slope

OS map

highly accurate maps drawn by Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency for Great Britain

Recurved end

strong winds or tidal current cause the end of a spit to become curved


increasing the height and width of beaches by dumping and shaping of dredged sand or shingle

Rock armour

large boulders deliberately dumped on a beach as part of coastal defences


a fragment of rock breaks away from the cliff face, often due to freeze-thaw weathering

Rotational slip

slump of saturated soil and weak rock along a curved surface

Salt weathering

a weathering process where salt crystals grow and expand in the cracks and holes of rock, creating pressure which eventually causes fragments of rock to break away


hopping movement of pebbles along a river or sea bed


important natural habitats often found in sheltered river estuaries behind spits where there is very little flow of water


accumulation of fragments of weathered rock

Sea wall

concrete wall aiming to prevent erosion of the coast by reflecting wave energy


loose surface material becomes saturated and the extra weight causes the material to become unstable and move rapidly downhill


the dissolving of rocks such as limestone and chalk by sea water


depositional landform formed when a finger of sediment extends from the shore out to sea, often at a river mouth


isolated pillar of rock left when the top of an arch has collapsed


small particles carried in river flow or sea water, i.e. sands, silts and clays


the forward movement of a wave up a beach


heavy particles rolled along the sea bed


the movement of eroded material


huge waves caused by earthquakes

Wave refraction

wave energy is reduced in bays as the water gets shallower


ripples in the sea caused by the transfer of energy from the wind blowing over the surface of the sea

Wave-cut platform

rocky, level shelf at or around sea level representing the base of old, retreated cliffs

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural
Develop the individual:

Students will consider the balance between social, economic and environmental costs and benefits.

Create a supportive community:

This helps students to develop a sense of empathy.

Term 3 and 4: Urban Issues and Challenges

The unit focus on how a growing percentage of the

world’s population lives in

urban areas. This urban growth can create challenges and opportunities and urban change in cities in the UK leads to a variety of social, economic and environmental opportunities and challenges. The unit ends with a focus on sustainable management of resources and transport in urban areas

A GCSE style assessment - approximately 30 marks. Case study evaluation will be needed in detail.

Air pollution

harmful emissions, or other substances, that enter Earth’s atmosphere

Economic opportunities

chances for people to improve their standard of living through employment


a squatter settlement in a Brazilian city

Formal economy

the type of employment where people receive a regular wage, pay tax, and have certain rights such as paid holidays and sick leave

Global city

urban area with an important role in the global economy


differences between people, in terms of factors such as; poverty, wealth, wellbeing, employment opportunities, housing, education etc.

Informal economy

employment outside the official knowledge of the government

Land use

the way in which land is used, or has been modified or managed by people


an urban area with a total population of more than ten million people


when people move from one area to another

Natural increase

birth rate minus the death rate of a population


the presence of chemicals, noise, dirt or other substances which have harmful or poisonous effects on an environment

Pull factors

the attractions and opportunities of a place that encourage people to move there

Push factors

the negative aspects of a place that encourage people to move away

Quality of life

how good a person’s life is, measured by such things of housing and environment, access to education, healthcare, how secure people feel and how happy they are with their lifestyle

Rural–urban migration

when people move from rural to urban areas


measures designed to protect public health, such as providing clean water and disposing of sewage and waste

Service industries

the economic activities that provide various services ? commercial, professional, social, entertainment and personal

Site and service scheme

where a local authority provides land and services for residents to build homes

Squatter settlement

an area of (often illegal) poor-quality housing, lacking in services like water supply, sewerage and electricity

Traffic congestion

when there is too great a volume of traffic for roads to cope with, and traffic slows to a crawl

Urban growth

the increase in the area covered by cities


when an increasing percentage of a country's population live in towns and cities

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural
Develop the individual:

Students will develop an understanding of urban areas and the effects of cities on people and the environment.

Create a supportive community:

Students will develop a sense of empathy for other communities and differences in the way that people live as well as the challenges that people face.

Term 5: The Living World

Students will focus on small scale ecosystems in the UK, large scale tropical rainforests and fragile cold environments. Students will look at the systems which underpin life in each of these environments before considering the impacts of humans at a range of different scales.

Students will sit an assessed exam paper based on the requirements of their GCSE


components in an ecosystem that are non-living environmental factors such as climate (temperature and rainfall), soil, water temperature and light


global-scale ecosystems such as a tropical rainforest or deciduous woodland


components in an ecosystem that are living such as plants and fish


an individual part or element of a wider system


organism that eats herbivores and/or plant matter


organisms such as bacteria or fungi that break down plant and animal material


a community of plants and animals that interact with each other and their physical environment

Food chain

connections between different organisms (plants and animals) that rely upon one another as their source of food

Food web

a complex hierarchy of plants and animals relying on each other for food

Global atmospheric circulation

large scale circulation (movement) of the atmosphere

Global ecosystems

large scale ecosystem, such as tropical rainforest or tundra

Lines of latitude

lines that run parallel to Earth’s Equator, measured in degrees

Nutrient cycle

on-going recycling of nutrients between living organisms and their environment


an organism or plant that is able to absorb energy from the sun through photosynthesis

Achuar tribe

a primitive tribe of about 11,000 who live in the Peruvian Amazon


the variety of life in the world or a particular ecosystem


the continuous layer of branches in a forest, which in tropical rainforests hosts the majority of plant and animal species

Carbon sink

the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere


the average weather over a long period of time

Climate change

a long-term change in the earth's climate, especially a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature


managing the environment in order to preserve, protect or restore it

Debt reduction

countries are relieved of some of their debt in return for an agreement that they preserve and protect their natural environments


the cutting down and removal of forest


nature tourism usually involving small groups with minimal impact on the environment


an imaginary line that divides Earth’s surface into a northern and southern hemisphere

Global warming

the increase of global temperatures


important resource provided by tropical rainforests

Indigenous tribes

native to a particular place, usually living in harmony with the natural environment, using resources without causing long-term harm

Infertile soil

soil which is unable to reproduce or sustain life

International agreements

promises made between countries and/or organisations to mitigate the destruction of natural habitats


heavy rainfall quickly dissolves and carries away nutrients in rainforest soils, leaving behind infertile red, iron-rich soil called latosol

Mineral extraction

the removal of solid mineral resources from the earth

Oil palm

raw material extracted from tropical rainforests


actions taken before a hazard strikes to reduce its impact, such as educating people or improving building design

Selective logging

sustainable forestry management where only carefully selected trees are cut down

Slash and burn

a method of land clearing that involves the use of fire, which creates valuable nutrients to help plants grow, but can grow out of control and destroy large areas of forest

Soil erosion

removal of topsoil faster than it can be replaced, due to natural (water and wind action), animal, and human activity

Subsistence farming

a type of agriculture producing only enough food and materials for the benefit of a farmer and their family


actions that meet the needs of the present without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs


people removed from one place and moved to another

Tropical rainforest

global-scale ecosystem mainly found close to the Equator, characterised by high temperatures, high rainfall and huge biodiversity


the ease of access to a place

Adventure tourism

a type of tourism that involves the travel to a remote or exotic location to pursue physically challenging activities such as hiking or kayaking

Arctic Ocean

ocean located in the northern hemisphere within the Arctic Circle

Conservation group

an organisation that helps protect threatened and endangered environments or wildlife e.g. the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Extreme temperatures

temperatures that present challenges for people, animals and plants living in in certain environments


vulnerable, or easily damaged

Geothermal energy

energy generated by heat stored deep in the Earth

International agreements

promises made between countries and/or organisations to mitigate the destruction of natural habitats

Oil spill

the accidental leakage of oil from rigs or refineries into the surrounding area, resulting in severe environmental damage and pollution


permanently frozen ground, found in polar and tundra regions


the most extreme cold environment with permanent ice, i.e. Greenland and Antarctica


chemicals, noise, dirt or other substances which have harmful or poisonous effects on an environment


a vast, flat, treeless Arctic region of Europe, Asia, and North America where the subsoil is permanently frozen

Wilderness areas

a natural environment that has not been significantly modified by human activity

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural
Develop the individual:

This unit helps students to see how they are supported by life on this planet and how their actions either help to support or contradict the sustainability of these systems.

Create a supportive community:

Students consider how the impact from their lives have far reaching consequences.

Term 6: Water and resource management and Fieldwork

This unit is concerned with human processes, systems and outcomes and how these change both spatially and temporally. They are studied in a variety of places and at a range of scales and must include places in various states of development, such as higher income countries (HICs), lower income countries (LICs) and newly emerging economies (NEEs).

A 30 mark GCSE style assessment


intensive farming aimed at maximizing the amount of food produced

Carbon footprint

measurement of the greenhouse gases individuals produce, through burning fossil fuels


the progress of a country in terms of economic growth, the use of technology and human welfare

Energy conservation

reducing energy consumption by using less energy and existing sources more efficiently

Energy mix

the range of energy sources of a region or country, both renewable and non-renewable

Energy security

uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price

Food miles

the distance covered supplying food to consumers

Fossil fuels

a natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms


the process of extracting gas from gas shale where fluids at high pressure are injected to fracture the shale rock, allowing the gas to escape

Grey water

recycled domestic waste water


goods and services bought by residents of a country from another country

Organic produce

food produced without the use of chemicals such as fertilisers and pesticides

Renewable energy

a resource that cannot be exhausted, e.g. wind, solar and tidal energy


a stock or supply of something that has value or a purpose

Resource management

control and monitoring of resources so that they do not become exhausted


a food intake below that needed to sustain a healthy life


when people do not eat enough nutrients to cover their needs for energy and growth, or to maintain a healthy immune system

Water deficit

when demand for water is greater than supply

Water quality

measured in terms of the chemical, physical and biological content of the water

Water stress

when the demand for water exceeds supply in a certain period, or when poor quality restricts its use

Water surplus

when the supply of water is greater than demand for water

Water transfer

matching supply with demand by moving water from an area with water surplus to another area with water deficit


underground water source


a small dam which diverts water away from a stream to irrigate fields, usually made of stones and lined with leaves to make it waterproof

Dam and reservoir

a barrier built across a valley to interrupt river flow and create a man-made lake to store water and control river discharge


the process of removing salt from seawater to produce fresh water


a long, continuous period of dry weather


the process of water changing from liquid to vapour

Grey water

recycled domestic waste water


freshwater source that is found beneath the Earth’s surface

Groundwater management

regulation and control of water levels, pollution, ownership and use of groundwater


the basic equipment and structures (such as roads, utilities, water supply and sewage) that are needed for a country or region to function properly


artificial application of water to the land or soil


small earth dam for catching rainwater as a drinking water source, found in the Thar Desert, Pakistan

Over abstraction

when groundwater is used more quickly than it is being replaced

Pat system

irrigation channels that transfer water to the fields

Permeable rocks

rocks that allow water to pass through them


chemicals, noise, dirt or other substances which have harmful or poisonous effects on an environment


actions that meet the needs of the present without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs


underground storage systems about 3m in diameter and 3-4m deep which collect surface water from roofs

Water conflict

disputes between different regions or countries over the distribution and use of water

Water conservation

the preservation, control and development of water resources, both surface and groundwater, and prevention of pollution

Water deficit

when the demand for water is greater than the supply of water

Water insecurity

when water availability is insufficient to ensure the good health and livelihood of a population, due to short supply or poor quality

Water pollution

the contamination of water by substances that are harmful or poisonous to the environment, and make water supplies unsuitable for drinking

Water quality

measured in terms of the chemical, physical and biological content of the water

Water recycling

process of extracting and reusing useful substances found in waste

Water security

availability of a reliable source of acceptable quantity and quality of water

Water stress

when the demand for water exceeds supply in a certain period, or when poor quality restricts its use

Water surplus

when the supply of water is greater than demand for water

Water transfer

matching supply with demand by moving water from an area with water surplus to another with water deficit

Waterborne diseases

diseases like cholera and typhoid caused by microorganisms in contaminated water

  • Spiritual
  • Moral
  • Social
  • Cultural
Develop the individual:

The aims of this unit are to develop an understanding of the factors that produce a diverse variety of human environments; the dynamic nature of these environments that change over time and place; the need for sustainable management; and the areas of current and future challenge and opportunity for these environments.

Create a supportive community:

Students consider the concept of sustainability.