Jump to the following:

We use cookies to improve this website. Read about cookies

Geography through the window - Secondary

The activities detailed below show how maps can be linked to the view. This Geography through the window activity can help pupils to:

  • make a sketch map;
  • interpret maps and secondary sources of evidence;
  • use IT to handle and present data;
  • use six-figure grid references; and
  • identify land use and investigate geographical relationships.


1. Select a window with an extensive view. If you prefer you may use a window in a public building, as long as the view is familiar to your pupils.

2. Take four or five photographs to provide a panorama when the prints are stuck together. Make sure that you include plenty of foreground.

3. Have the prints developed at the largest size possible. Create the panorama and stick onto card (see below).

4. Make black-and-white photocopies of an Ordnance Survey 1:50 000 scale or 1:25 000 scale map covering the area of view, for each group or each individual child, or use tiles of digital map data. Do the same with an historical map of the area.

5. Pin up the original maps on the wall. Overlay some clear plastic over the areas of interest to protect the maps.

6. Select a range of features, including the most dominant, and establish their six-figure grid references.

*Insert image here*


Small map

1. Ask pupils to define the extent of the view on their copies of the map. Include the most distant features that can be seen. What is the angle of view? Discuss the results and mark the original map with the agreed extent.

2. Estimate the total extent of the area in km2.

Land use map

3. Produce colour-coded sketch maps to show land use, or a graph or pie chart using a computer. Estimate percentages of different land use in the area.

4. Work out the six-figure grid references and approximate height above sea level of a list of selected="selected" prominent features. Comment on whether height has influenced the siting of man-made features.

Picture of land use

5. Choosing a key dominant feature within the view, discuss how this feature affects the day to day lives of the people who see it or live nearby.

Old map

6. Look at the historical map and compare it with the current map. How has the use of the land changed? Were there different types of jobs in the past? How has the population changed? Why have these changes taken place?

7. From their understanding gained of the changes that have taken place within the view, ask the pupils to project forward ten years and produce a sketch map showing land use ten years from now.

Related content

Ordnance Survey provides teaching resources for primary education. The activities are specifically linked to map use and enable teachers and pupils to cover important mapping skills in a time-efficient and fun way.

Ordnance Survey provides links to resources created by the Geographical Association, that cover National Curriculum programmes of study for Geography and Citizenship. They are designed to be used in conjunction with the mapping available on the election maps website.

Back to top

Connect with OS

© Ordnance Survey 2016
Be sure to take a look at our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy