Here in St Mac Dara’s, Geography plays an important part of our curriculum. We aim to open up the world around us to our students. We want them to explore their local environment, understand what a geographer does, and ask questions about how the world is shaped as it is. We try to make the subject as interesting, relative and fun as possible through the use of interactive research and field studies. The use of ICT is widely encouraged and a number of websites are used as teaching tools.

In the Junior Certificate course we study the shape of the earth, the structures of the planet and how the internal forces create earthquakes, volcanoes and mountains. The work of water, both solid and liquid are used to explain the relief of the surface of the planet. The atmosphere is studied to help students understand the water cycle our weather and climatic regions around the planet.

Economic geography plays a major role in our understanding of the modern world and the inequality that exists on the planet. We try to engage students with understanding the disparity between Developed and Developing regions.

Map work and Aerial Photographs play a key role in our teaching of the subject. The use of different maps in the everyday world from Ordnance Survey Maps to World Maps to Google Earth and smartphone apps for navigation help students obtain a spatial awareness of the intricate world we have created around us. Interpretation of maps and aerial photography is key to understanding the subject.

In the Leaving Certificate course we study the earth in much greater detail. We aim to give students a fuller understanding of what the planet is, how it formed and how we humans have shaped the world around us. We use ICT extensively and encourage students to research topics such as Plate Tectonics, The Rock Cycle, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, River Systems, and Glaciers.

20% of the overall Leaving Certificate mark is in the form of a written Geographical Investigation. We tie this investigation into the study of Glaciers and take field trips to Glendalough and the Esker Riada. Here students get to put their acquired geographical knowledge and skill into action by investigating the landscape and recording relevant information and presenting it in a formal booklet.

The study of Regions, Irish, European and Sub-Continental plays a major role throughout the course. We aim to encourage students to identify different types of regions and the similarities they have around the world. The study of Cultural Geography ties in with Regional Geography and Economic Geography in helping acquire an understanding of the socio-economic world into which our students will shortly emerge.