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Geography is compulsory at Junior Cycle and is a very popular choice at Senior Cycle in Our Lady’s College, Drogheda. 

Junior Cycle – 3 class periods per week

Senior Cycle – 5 class periods per week

Geography and society

Geography is the study of people and their relationships with their environment. It is concerned with helping to develop an understanding of the physical, social and economic processes which shape the environment.

The education of young people today takes place against the background of a world with such characteristics of geographical concern as

- Increasingly multi-cultural societies

- Sharp social and economic inequalities on a variety of scales

- An increasing pace of socio-economic change

- Growing concern over declining environmental quality in many regions

The syllabus

Geography can make an important contribution towards enabling young people to function more effectively as members of society. This syllabus was drawn up with the intention that it should make that contribution.

The syllabus is structured around a number of key geographical concepts; these same concepts are at the core of the existing Leaving Certificate syllabus in geography. There is thus a clear continuity between Junior and Senior Cycles.

The syllabus is based on a belief that an adequate understanding of many of the issues with which geographers are concerned can be reached only with an appreciation of the human attitudes and values involved.

It recognises that the geography teacher is involved in a body of knowledge which has wide horizons, and in a methodology which contains many and varied techniques and skills.

This breadth and this diversity are fundamental factors in the discipline’s motivational strength, and the syllabus aims to encourage and facilitate their full exploitation.


In following the syllabus, students should have the opportunity to develop and practice the following skills:

• Use and interpretation of a variety of information sources, e.g.

- maps (reading and working with both small scale and Ordnance Survey maps)

- figures (understanding information provided in the form of figures such as line graphs, bar graphs, pie-charts, diagrams and pictorial models)

- statistics (understanding information provided in numerical form and undertaking simple measurements and calculations)

- photographs (interpreting and understanding photographs, including aerial and satellite photographs)

- pictures (understanding information provided in the form of pictures and cartoons

- textual sources ( reading and understanding geographical terminology)

- electronic sources (e.g. computerised data and packages, TV and radio programmes, audio and video tapes)

- Presentation and communication of information and ideas in a variety of

ways (including maps, figures, statistics, written and oral)

- Selection and use of a variety of modes of enquiry, both geographical and general in nature, including

-         Location, retrieval, collecting

-         Recording, collating, representation of information

-         Analysing, classifying, interpreting 

• Use of first-hand geographical enquiry in fieldwork and street work (collecting, recording, evaluating information gained outdoors; proper use of equipment and techniques; identifying appropriate places to test out ideas

• Synthesising and evaluating information ( e.g. distinguish fact from opinion, draw conclusions, prove simple hypotheses, make informed judgements, suggest sensible solutions to problems and, where appropriate, suggest realistic plans for action)

• Social skills (e.g. working effectively alone or in groups, following instructions, teamwork and cooperation, use of verbal communication to find out and pass on

Junior Cycle

Geography in junior cycle aims to develop students’ understanding of the world they live in, what shapes the environment and how the environment is influenced by people in different ways. Students learn how to source and use information from different sources including the internet, books, maps, photographs, graphs, diagrams and newspapers. As students learn in Geography they are encouraged to collect information related to their learning beyond the classroom through fieldwork studies.

The syllabus is provided at two levels only – Higher and Ordinary. It is assessed at Higher and Ordinary levels.

Topics Covered:

Section Units

A. The Human Habitat –

Processes and Change

1. The Earth’s Surface:

Shaping the Crust

2. The Restless Atmosphere:

The Heat Engine

3. The Workings of our Life Support System

B. Population, Settlement

Patterns and Urbanisation

1. Population - Distribution Diversity and Change

2. People on the Move

3. Settlement: Changing Patterns in Where We Live – Villages and Towns

4. Urbanisation: Changing Patterns in Where we Live – Cities

C. Patterns in Economic Activity

Primary Economic Activities: The Earth as a Resource

2. Secondary Economic Activities: Building Resources into Products

3. Tertiary Economic Activities: Facilitating Our Use of Resources

4. Economic Inequality: The Earth’s Resources – Who Benefits?

Senior Cycle

Leaving Certificate geography will help students develop an understanding of the changing relationships between the physical and human worlds. Through their study of geography, students will develop geographical skills that will help them to make informed judgements about issues at local, national and international levels.

Leaving Certificate geography may be studied at Ordinary or Higher level. The course is divided into core, elective and optional units of study. Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher level. Students are expected to complete a report on a geographical investigation and to sit a written examination.

Topics Covered:

Higher and Ordinary level students are required to study:

Core Unit 1 Patterns and processes in the

physical environment

Core Unit 2 Regional geography

Core Unit 3 Geographical Investigation and Skills (Investigation Report: 20%)

Higher and Ordinary level students must also study one of the following two electives:

Elective Unit 4 Patterns and processes in

economic activities

Elective Unit 5 Patterns and processes in

the human environment

Higher level students only must study one of the following four optional areas of study:

Optional Unit 6 Global interdependence

Optional Unit 7 Geoecology

Optional Unit 8 Culture and identity

Optional Unit 9 The atmosphere—ocean environment



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