TERM ONE: LESSON ONE WHAT IS GEOGRAPHY? The word geography comes from two Greek words. There’s geo which means earth, and graphia which means to write or describe. So the word geography roughly means ‘describing the earth’. It is the study of the earth’s landscape, its people, its environment and places. There are two main different types of geography. First, there is human geography. Human geography focuses on people, where they live, why they live in certain places and how they make a living. Then, there is physical geography. This is a bit more scientific. Physical geography focuses on the way the earth works. It tries to work out why there are things like mountains, rivers, and deserts, and how they work. So, for example, if you were going to study the geography of London, you might do it in two different ways. If you looked at the human geography of London, you would ask yourself how many people lived there, why they lived there, the sorts of jobs they do, the types of buildings they have built and the impact they are having on the environment. If you looked at the physical geography of London, you would study the main rivers that flow through it. You would find out about what the soil is like, what the weather is normally like, the sorts of plants and animals that tend to grow there, whether it has many hills or mountains or if it is mostly flat. As you can see from this, geography has a lot in common with other subjects. It has a lot in common with history, because it tries to find out about people and how they have lived. It has a lot in common with sciences like biology, because it tries to find out about the science that makes the earth work. Geography can involve studying quite small places. For example, you might study the geography of your local park or high street. But geography can also involve studying very large things, like mountains, deserts and forests. In geography, you will learn about the main places in Britain, and also the main countries and continents in the world. Geography is important because it helps to understand the world and the people who live in it. If you are interested in travelling abroad, Geography is useful because it helps you to know where other countries are, how far away they are from Britain, and in what ways they are different to Britain. We are lucky to be alive at a time when we know so much about the planet earth. For most of human history, people didn’t know that the earth was round, or where all the places on the earth were. It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that every place on earth was accurately mapped. One of the most important tools geographers use is the map. Nowadays, we take accurate and informative maps for granted. But that wasn’t always the case. In the next few weeks you will read about how maps developed and why they are so important. TERM ONE: LESSON ONE WHAT IS GEOGRAPHY? QUESTIONS Answer these questions in full sentences. 1. What language does the word geography come from? 2. What does the word geography roughly mean? 3. Name one thing you might study in geography. 4. What are the two main different types of geography? 5. In what type of geography will you study people and how they live? 6. In what type of geography will you study the way the earth works? 7. Which type of geography has more in common with science? 8. Give one reason why geography is important if you are travelling abroad. 9. In which century was the whole world accurately mapped for the first time? 10. What is one of the most important tools geographers have?
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