Geographical enquiry


 Enquiry is the process of finding out answers to questions. It is a way of investigating the world. It involves encouraging children to ask questions and search for answers. As their skills develop children can move to a more rigorous form of enquiry involving the development and testing of hypotheses. In geography children discover the processes that lead to the outcomes that we can see. Some processes are physical ones that have happened naturally (like the way a river meanders); others are human processes (like the way a settlement develops as more buildings are erected. Meaningful learning occurs when investigations are directed by challenging questions

Effective geographical enquiry depends upon the quality of the questions posed

  • What is this place like?
  • Why is this place as it is?
  • How is this place connected to other places?
  • How is this place changing?
  • What would it feel like to live in this place?


The framework we use for a geographical enquiry has six stages:

  • Awareness raising
  • Generating questions
  • Collecting and recording information (pupils apply the mathematical skills they have learnt here)
  • Processing the gathered information
  • Drawing conclusions from the processed data
  • Sharing the conclusions
  • Evaluating what has been learnt




Here are the principal geographical enquiries that different year groups will be considering:

Year 1

What  happens to the rain on the ground after it has fallen?

Year 2

How  do children travel to school around the world?

Year 3

How  do trees in Conduit Wood (Richmond Park) differ from those in Vine Park?

Year 4

How  does the river Thames change course from source to mouth?

Year 5

Is  our locality affected by noise pollution?

Year 6

How  dangerous is the level crossing on White Hart Lane?



How does a glacier affect the landscape? Year 6 pupils made ‘mini glaciers’ and rubbed them on surfaces, noting what happened.