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Human Society and its Environment (HSIE)

The HSIE Faculty at Kariong Mountains High School is an innovative faculty with keen and experienced staff. It is a diverse faculty offering a wide range of courses especially in the Stage 6 area. The quick links below enable you to go straight to the section you require:

General Course Information » Stage 4 & 5 Geography » Stage 5 Electives » Stage 6 Courses »

General Course Information

Human Society and its Environment features History and Geography (100 hours each in Years 7 and 8) with a focus on Australian History and Australian Geography (for 100 hours each) in Years 9 and 10. Specific electives are offered at Kariong Mountains High School including International Studies, Commerce and History Extension.

Geography allows students to develop enjoyment of and interest in the interaction of the physical and human environments. Students will develop geographic knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes in order to engage in the community as informed and active citizens.

The two key dimensions forming the basis of Geography studies are spatial dimension (where things are and why they are there) and ecological dimension (how humans interact with environments). In Australian Geography, students learn about the interaction of human and physical geography in a local context.

The History course develops in young people an interest in and enjoyment of exploring the past by providing opportunities for examining events, people and societies from ancient, medieval and modern times and twentieth-century Australia.

Students explore the nature of history, how historians investigate the past and the importance of conserving our heritage. Aspects of the ancient and medieval world are studied, including origins and daily life of the ancient world and beliefs and values of medieval societies.

Significant developments in Australia’s social, political and cultural history, including Federation, the Vietnam War era and our international relations are studied. The nature of colonisation and contact history is also examined, as are the changing rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples and other groups in Australia.


Human Society and Its Environment in Stage 4 incorporates the subjects of Geography, History and Aboriginal Studies. Kariong Mountains High School implemented the Australian Curriculum History courses in Year 7 and Year 9 in 2014 and has written engaging teaching and Learning Programs for all Years 7-10 Australian Curriculum Courses.

The following teaching and Learning programs are studied in the History component of the HSIE courses in Years 7-10 in line with the new Australian Curriculum.

Year 7 History

  • Investigating the Ancient Past (Depth Study 1) / Expanding Contacts (Depth Study 6)
  • The Mediterranean World (Depth Study 2)
  • The Asian World (Depth Study 3)

Year 8 History

  • The Western and Islamic World (Depth Study 4)
  • The Asia Pacific World (Depth Study 5)

Year 9 History

  • Making a Better World (Depth Study 1)
  • Australian’s at War (Depth Study 3 Core)

Year 10 History

  • Rights and Freedoms (Depth Study 4 Core)
  • School Developed Topic – The Holocaust (Depth Study 6)

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Stage 4 Geography – Year 7 and 8

Students study Global Geography through the following topics:

  • Investigating the World
  • Global Environments
  • Global Change
  • Global Issues and the Role of Citizenship

From Year 7 to Year 10, students also learn about civics and citizenship.

Stage 5 Geography – Year 9 and 10

Students study Australian Geography through the following topics:

  • Investigating Australia’s Physical Environments
  • Changing Australian Communities
  • Issues in Australian Environments
  • Australia in its Regional and Global Contexts

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Stage 5 Electives

At Kariong Mountains High School there are 3 electives offered in the HSIE faculty in Stage 5. These are Commerce, International Studies and History Extension.


Commerce is one of the most popular elective subjects in NSW schools in Year 9 and Year 10. In Commerce, students learn about their rights as consumers and how to make, save and spend money wisely.

Students also learn about how the law affects them and how to choose the right career. Commerce is also excellent preparation for senior academic subjects in Year 11 and Year 12, including Economics, Legal Studies and Business Studies as well as VET subjects including Business Services and Retail Services.

Students study the following core topics:

  • Consumer Choice
  • Personal Finance
  • Law and Society
  • Employment Issues

Students study some of the following options:

  • Investing
  • Promoting and Selling
  • E-commerce
  • Global Links
  • Towards Independence
  • Political Involvement
  • Travel
  • Law in Action
  • Our Economy
  • Community Participation
  • Running a Business

History Elective

Students may also choose to select History as an elective. The aim of this course is to introduce students to aspects of world history, including the contribution of past societies to our understanding of the present.

The chosen topics will be studied using written and archaeological sources, film, computer technology and practical craft activities.

Topics will be chosen from the following areas:

  • Medieval Japan
  • Women In History
  • Myths & Legends
  • Terrorism
  • Archaeology
  • Film as History

International Studies

In this course students will enjoy a wide range of activities such as film study, eating foods from around the world, excursions, technology based work, the study of different cultures. They will also take part in discussions about what makes different cultures different to our own. This course will be interactive and students, as a class, will be able to make some decisions about what particular topics we cover so we can focus on the interests that are in the class.

With a world that is at our fingertips it is important that we understand how to interact and communicate when traveling and talking to others. This subject is a great opportunity for students to learn how to live, work and travel in an ever changing world.

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Stage 6 Courses

Course: HSC Ancient History

Course Description

The Preliminary course is structured to provide students with opportunities to investigate past people, groups, events, institutions, societies and historical sites from the sources available, by applying the methods used by historians and archaeologists.

The HSC course provides the opportunity for students to investigate in depth the range and nature of archaeological and written sources that provide evidence for a life in Pompeii and Herculaneum. They also study the key features and sources of an ancient society, historical period and ancient personality.

Course: Business Studies

Course Description

Business activity is a feature of everyone’s life. The Business Studies syllabus encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of business in ways students will encounter throughout their lives. It offers learning from the planning of a small business to the management of operations, marketing, finance and human resource in large businesses.

Contemporary business issues and case studies are embedded in the course to provide a stimulating and relevant framework for students to apply to problems encountered in the business environment. Business Studies fosters intellectual, social and moral development by assisting students to think critically about the role of business and its ethical responsibilities to society.

Course: Geography

Course Description

The Preliminary course investigates biophysical and human geography and develops students’ knowledge and understanding about the spatial and ecological dimensions of geography. Enquiry methodologies are used to investigate the unique characteristics of our world through fieldwork, geographical skills and the study of contemporary geographical issues.

The HSC course enables students to appreciate geographical perspectives about the contemporary world. There are specific studies about biophysical and human processes, interactions and trends. Fieldwork and a variety of case studies combine with an assessment of the geographers’ contribution to understanding our environment and demonstrates the relevance of geographical study.

Course:Legal Studies

Course Description

The Preliminary course develops students’ knowledge and understanding of the nature and functions of law and law-making, the development of Australian and international legal systems, the Australian constitution and law reform. It examines an individual’s rights and responsibilities, how disputes are resolved and examines a contemporary issue concerning the individual and technology. Students have the opportunity to investigate issues that illustrate how the law operates in practice. This is achieved by investigating, analysing and synthesising legal information and investigating legal issues from a variety of perspectives.

The HSC course investigates the key areas of law, justice and human rights through a variety of focus studies which consider how changes in societies influence law reform.

Course: HSC Modern History

Course Description

The Preliminary course is structured to provide students with opportunities to investigate the role of key features, issues, individuals, groups, events and concepts from the C19th to the present using the methods of historical inquiry.

The HSC course provides the opportunity for students to investigate in depth a source-based study of World War I. They also study key features and issues in the history of ONE country during the C20th, ONE personality and ONE international study in peace and conflict.

Course: Society and Culture

Course Description

Society and Culture deals with areas of interest and relevance to students and develops knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes essential to an appreciation of the social world. The interaction of persons, society, culture, environment and time and how they shape human behaviour is a central theme of study.

Students develop an understanding of research methodologies and undertake research in an area of particular interest to them. The research findings are presented for external assessment in the Personal Interest Project (PIP).

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