Geographical Knowledge

Geographical Knowledge

Would you recognise the outline shape of the four countries of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and can you name the seas around them? Can you identify cliffs and rivers, farms and factories? We use simple quizzes to test your knowledge.

Ros Burgin is an artist who has made sculptures that resemble maps out of recycled materials. Artists have depicted the lands in which they live for generations so in this lesson plan we look at their work with the aim of identifying geographical features from paintings.

Key Stage:

KS1&2 Geography. Locational knowledge, geographical skills and the use of basic geographical vocabulary.


A brief introduction to the geography of the British Isles and common geographical features.
This lesson can be used:
To develop research and geographical skills.
To develop discussion skills.
To start a project on the geography of the UK.
To start a project on maps.
To start a project on geography in art.

<b>The geography of the UK</b>

The geography of the UK

This is the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. It is called the Union Jack. The United Kingdom of Great made up of four countries. These are Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland but will you be able to recognise each country by it's shape?
<b>Country One</b>

Country One

This country is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the North Sea to the East and the Irish Sea to the south.

The national emblem is the thistle.

Which country is it?
<b>Country Two</b>

Country Two

This country has the Irish Sea to the north and west and a land border with another country of the United Kingdom to the east.

The national flag has a red dragon on it.

Which country is it?
<b>Country Three</b>

Country Three

This country has the Irish Sea to the east and a land border with another country to the south.

The capital city is Belfast.

Which country is it?
<b>Country Four</b>

Country Four

This country has the North Sea to the east and two land borders with other countries of the United Kingdom.

The flag of this country is a red cross on a white background.

Which country is it?

How did you do?

Identifying the countries of the United Kingdom should have been fairly easy with the clues that we gave you. Here is map that will confirm that you got them all right. It also shows the seas and oceans around the British Isles. The world has seven large oceans and lots of seas. Seas are smaller parts of the oceans near to land.

Download map_1.pdf

Identifying features in the landscape

Painters have painted the landscape they can see since early times and that includes geographical features. How many can you recognise?

Try our simple quiz.

Download worksheet.pdf

Weather and the Seasons

Now try to identify these types of weather and draw a symbol to represent the weather conditions next to each painting.

There are four seasons in a year but which is which?

Download weather and seasons worksheet.pdf

Ros Burgin Islands Sculpture

You have seen lots of paintings about geographical features but we think you will not have seen a sculpture like the one that artist Ros Burgin is making about the island of Ireland.

Watch the film and then discuss what you would make a map sculpture of your home country out of. Would you make England out of Yorkshire Puddings or Scotland out of shortbread biscuits?

Development Activity:

Art UK is the place to see all the artworks in public ownership in the UK. If you put a number of geographical features into the search bar it will show a huge range of views. For example Paintings of the Coast on Art UK.
A search for rivers on Art UK produces 3797 paintings. This shows what a popular subject it is for artists but is far too many to present to young people. You could refine this search but a quick scroll through the first 50 shows the diversity of the Paintings of Rivers on Art UK. You can find young rivers rising in the hills to mature rivers entering the sea as well as steep valleys and flood plains. Why not set your students a homework task to search for typical geographical features not already covered by the quiz such as woodland and forests or towns and cities and to define what the difference is between them.

Learning Objectives:

Through using this lesson plan students should:
-Name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas.
-Use maps to identify the United Kingdom and its countries.
-Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather.
-Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shops.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan