Let's Explore the World

Year 2

Unit Overview

This essential skills and knowledge project teaches children about atlases, maps and cardinal compass points. They learn about the characteristics of the four countries of the United Kingdom and find out why there are hot, temperate and cold places around the world. They also compare England to a european town/city (TBC). The children learn to draw a linear map and respond emotionally to places around the school.


Walk around the locality comparing reality to a map.


Completing and drawing maps.


Journey stick activity around the school grounds.

Local walk.

Unit Sequence: Learning Intentions

  1. Using an atlas and compass directions. - Name and locate seas surrounding the UK, as well as seas, the five oceans and seven continents around the world on a world map or globe. Use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language (e.g. near and far; left and right), to describe the location of features and routes on a map. Using atlases, globes and Google Earth children discuss, locate and then label a map showing oceans and continents. Children then locate, discuss and label U.K. map with countries and capitals. Children then research which seas surround us and place them also on the map.

  2. Locating the equator, North/South pole and the Northern and southern hemispheres. Using a world temperature map- Locate the equator and the North and South Poles on a world map or globe. Identify the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles. Complete a world map with locations expected for this Key Stage. (Use sorting cards describing places around the world placing them in the hot or cold areas of a world temperature map. )

  3. Characteristics of the U.K. - Identify characteristics of the four countries and major cities of the UK. Using Google Earth note the U.K's characteristics-surrounded by seas, relatively small island, not near the equator etc. Focus on England using map showing rivers and map showing mountains. Biggest country in the U.K. Note physical features-rivers, mountains. Note famous features such as Stonehenge, White Cliffs of Dover. Continue this approach for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  4. Compare a place outside the U.K. with the U.K. - Describe and compare the human and physical similarities and differences between an area of the UK and a contrasting non-European country. Children compare; location in the world, climate/weather, mountainous or not, rivers, cities/population, size of country etc.

  5. Zoom in - Look at simplified street map of Manchester centre. Using a key, locate features shown on the map. Use directional language to increase locational awareness between features. Plan a simple route using 4 point compass.

  6. The school locality - Use aerial photographs to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features. Use simple observational and fieldwork skills. Using an aerial photograph or Google Earth children look at the locality of the school. What can they see? Label features on a simple map using a key. Using the map walk around the locality and see the actual features.

  7. Journey stick of the school grounds. Children create a journey stick of the school grounds and create a linear map of this journey. They must add in twists and turns to show they did not travel in a straight line. Add emoji faces at key emotional response area.


The class will demonstrate their knowledge and skills by taking part in a map quiz


There will be a range of atlases available in the class library and these will be used in lessons