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Ku-ring-gai High School

Ku-ring-gai High School

Harmony in Diversity

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Human society and its environment

Students explore varied subjects in Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) to learn about history, geography, people, societies and culture. 

In HSIE, the subjects of History and Geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10. 

In both these courses, students learn specific historical and geographical concepts and skills. They also have an opportunity to learn more about people and the societies and environments in which they live, through elective subjects. 

Beyond the mandatory courses, many individual subjects make up the key learning area of HSIE in which students:  

  • research, gather and analyse information
  • question and make judgements
  • write for a variety of purposes. 




Human society and its environment seek to develop our young people's ability to be active global citizens, through a close study of human endeavours. A wide range of engaging experiences, in which young people take responsibility for their own learning, encouraged by professional teachers, allow our students to develop the necessary skills to investigate our world, how it was formed, and the role of the past and how to manage the challenges of the future. 21st century skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication are fostered through authentic real-world tasks.

From Year 7 to 10, and we offer them the opportunity to use higher order thinking skills, individual investigation and collaboration to explore a range of local, national and global events. In these years, students will alternate their study of History and Geography each semester.

Stage 4

In Year 7 and 8, students will come to understand and appreciate our past civilisations and present environments so they can think critically and creatively about their legacy and how they will approach the future.

In History, students will travel through the Ancient and Medieval worlds, perhaps becoming a Roman general, climbing the Great Wall of China, or becoming a medieval knight or a Japanese samurai.  Students also complete a study of the devastating effects of the Black Death in the Medieval World.  Along the way students develop skills as a historian searching for clues to solve the mysteries!  

In Geography, students conduct inquiry-based learning based on the themes of Water in the World, Place and Liveability, Interconnections and Landscapes and Landforms.  Students will come to better appreciate the relationships between people and their environments.  Along the way, students also learn important geographical skills such as topographic mapping and constructing climate graphs.  

Stage 5

In Year 9, students will come to understand and appreciate important concepts by the study of major movements of people and the development of rights and freedoms in History  and concepts such as sustainability and urbanisation in Geography. 

In Year 10, students focus their learning on the development of the ideology underlying the Holocaust from last century and a growing global recognition of human rights in History, followed by environmental and human wellbeing challenges facing our societies in their Geography course.

HSIE also offers elective courses in Year 9 & 10:

  • Commerce provides students with the knowledge, understanding, skills and values that form the foundation on which young people make sound decisions about consumer, financial, economic, business, legal, political and employment issues.  Through the study of commerce students develop consumer and financial literacy which enables them to participate in the financial system in an informed way.
  • Elective History which provides opportunities for students to develop deep knowledge and understanding of past societies and historical periods.  Students explore the nature of history, heritage, and archaeology, through processes of historical inquiry, analysing sources and sequencing events to demonstrate an understanding of continuity, change and causation.


Stage 6

At the Stage 6 level, students can engage with 2-unit courses of:

  • Ancient History
  • Business Studies
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History and
  • Society and Culture.

In Year 12, students can also enroll in the 1-unit History Extension course.

In all HSIE courses, students are encouraged to be critical and creative thinkers within the framework of the appropriate syllabus and establish inquiry and communication skills alongside with a disposition for lifelong learning.