A Knowledge Organiser is a document, no more than two sides of A4, that contains key facts and information that students need to have a basic knowledge and understanding of a topic. Most Knowledge Organisers will include the essential facts about the topic, usually laid out in easy-to-digest chunks; key vocabulary or technical terms and their meanings; images such as maps or diagrams; and famous quotations, if relevant.
The main benefit of knowledge organisers is that they give students and teachers the ‘bigger picture’ of a topic or subject area. Some topics can be complicated, so having the essential knowledge, clear diagrams, explanations and key terms on one document can be very helpful.
Research shows that our brains remember things more efficiently when we know the ‘bigger picture’ and can see the way that nuggets of knowledge within that subject area link together. Making links, essentially, helps information move into our long-term memory.
We would however stress, it is not simply a case of knowing the information. Students are graded on their ability to apply this knowledge to the question, interpret it and give an analytical response. The theory, which is backed by educational research, is that; if we can provide the knowledge organisers as a base, it is much easier for students to make the next step and therefore provide deeper, more developed analysis, which will enable them to reach the highest grades.
You will also find at the bottom some example questions with indicative grades. This is to show the step up between the types of questions asked which enable students to reach the top level. Grade 8 and 9 responses will obviously be much fuller, detailed and analytical than Grade 5 responses.