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Junior Cycle Geography

The world is full of awe and wonder. The landscape is endlessly fascinating, full of mountains, valleys, rivers, coasts and more. These landscapes are ever changing, whether through earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, or the slow, relentless force of weather. We call Earth home, but we don’t just live on it. We affect the Earth and the Earth affects us. Everything that happens on Earth is connected.

We interact with the Earth and with each other, and these interactions have consequences or implications. Together these interconnections, interactions and implications make up the foundation of the new Junior Cycle course in Geography called Geoliteracy.

Geoliteracy develops an understanding of place-based decisions and far-reaching decisions to contribute to students’ sustainable interaction with the world.


In this new course in Junior Cycle Geography, students’ study three interconnected strands:


Strand 1. Exploring the Physical World

Strand 2. Exploring how we interact with the physical world

Strand 3. Exploring people, place and change.


Geography students have lots of opportunities to improve their literacy and numeracy skills, both geographical and general. It helps students make sense of the world and their place within it. The theme of sustainability runs throughout the course. In addition to the requirements of the new Specification in Geography, students develop important Junior Cycle Key Skills and Wellbeing Indicators are fundamental throughout.


Follow Our Three-Year Pathway Through Junior Cycle Geography

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Classroom Based Assessments in Junior Cycle Geography

There are two Classroom-Based Assessments. They relate to specified learning outcomes and are scheduled to be undertaken by students in a defined time period within class contact time to a national timetable (as advised by the NCCA) in the school calendar. Following the second of these assessments, students, in Year Three, complete an Assessment Task which is sent to the State Examinations Commission, with the final examination script for that subject, for marking. 

CBA 1 - Geography in the News, provides opportunities for students to engage in practical, authentic learning experiences that reflect the relevance of the study of geography to the world around them. Geography in the news provides students with opportunities to actively observe the interactions and interconnections between people, places, environments, and spatial patterns. This Classroom-Based Assessment asks students to research and draw conclusions on the implications of geographical events through a real-life example.

CBA 2 - My Geography, provides students with the opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience gained through the first Classroom-Based Assessment to undertake an active investigation into geographical aspect(s) of their local area. Having experienced and engaged with the key geographical questions of who, what, where, when, how and why during Geography in the news, students will continue to develop this learning in their on-going classroom learning and through an investigation of local geographical aspect(s). My Geography provides a frame for students to actively explore and engage with the interactions and linkages between people, places, environments, and spatial patterns in their local area and consider the related implications for the human and physical environment.

Students undertake a written Assessment Task (AT) to be submitted to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for marking as part of the state-certified examination for Geography. The Assessment Task is allocated 10% of the marks available for this examination. The Assessment Task is directly related to the second Classroom-Based Assessment, My Geography. The Assessment Task will assess students in aspects of their learning including:

  • their ability to reflect on the development of their geographical thinking through engaging in the research process in completing the My Geography

  • their ability to evaluate new knowledge or understanding that has emerged through their experience of the Classroom-Based Assessment.

  • their ability to reflect on the skills they have developed, and their capacity to apply them to unfamiliar situations in the future.

  • their ability to reflect on how their appreciation of Geography has been influenced through the experience of the Classroom-Based Assessment.

  • their reflections on how their experience of My Geography has influenced their attitudes and values

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Senior Cycle Geography

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Subject Overview

Geography is concerned with the study of people and their environment. The subject 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. Students are expected to develop important geographical skills as they study these units.


Core Units

1. Patterns and processes in the physical environment
2. Regional geography
3. The Geographical Investigation and skills unit

Elective Units

4. Patterns and processes in economic activities
5. Patterns and processes in the human environment

Optional Units

6. Global interdependence
7. Geocology
8. Culture and identity
9. The atmosphere-ocean environment

Ordinary level students study all core units and one of the elective units. Higher level students study all core units, one of the elective units and one of the optional units.


Leaving Certificate Geography is assessed at Ordinary and Higher. There are two assessment components:

Examination paper 80%

Report on a Geographical Investigation 20%

Geographical Investigation

The GI or Fieldwork is an essential part of Leaving Cert Geography, representing 20% of the marks. In general, the fieldwork is done as whole class activity when the class go to a particular river and carry out the fieldwork. Each student then writes up their own report booklet based on the information they gathered during the fieldwork.

Each year, the State Exams Commission decides the fieldwork topics. They select five different topics, ranging from physical to economic geography – the topic we focus on at Coláiste Dún an Rí is the fluvial environment.

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Future Career


Geogrpahy prepares you for careers like town planning, weather forecasting,

tourism, teaching, environmental consultant, working with maps (cartographer)

and many more.

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