Core Year 9 Subjects
Core Subjects in Year 9
An overview of core requirements for students
In Years 9 at Barker, all students are required to study certain disciplines considered to be essential for effective living in a modern society. The core subjects for Year 9 are English, Mathematics, Science, History, Christian Studies and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE). In addition, three elective subjects must be chosen in Year 9.
Students and parents should note that study of the “core subjects” must be continued from Year 9 into Year 10, including the mandatory study of both Geography and History in Year 10. These requirements mean that students will only study two electives in Year 10. These may be different electives than those studied in Year 9.
Information about the core subjects can be found below.
Acting Director of Studies: Philip Mundy
Core Subject Requirements
In Year 9 we take as our theme: “Being Human”. Students wrestle with ways in which Christianity may contribute to their understanding of what it means to be human. There is an exploration of what might be identified as the fundamental needs of humans, including consideration of the importance of community. Students are encouraged to reflect on their own beliefs and convictions about God, human relationships and the purpose in life.
There is also a study of ethics in which personal and relevant moral issues are examined. Students explore Biblical teaching about compassion for others and then creatively design a product to be used by people in need in the local community. Year 9 concludes with an exploration of rites of passage in life, including important rites in the Christian faith.
The English course in Year 9 (Stage 5) is designed to provide educational opportunities that engage and challenge all students. Through responding to and composing a wide range of texts in context and through close study of texts, students will develop skills, knowledge and understanding in order to:
• Speak, listen, read, write, view and represent
• Use language and communicate appropriately and effectively
• Think in ways that are imaginative, interpretive and critical
• Express themselves and their relationships with others and the world
• Learn and reflect on their learning through their study of English
Students in Years 9 (Stage 5) undertake the study of a wide range of texts. This includes the study of novels, poetry, Shakespearean drama, film as text and short stories. The content includes a variety of spoken, print, visual, media and multimedia texts, drawn from radio, television, film, newspapers and the internet. The selection of texts gives students an experience of a widely defined range of Australian literature and other Australian texts, including those that give insights into Aboriginal and multicultural experiences both in Australia and overseas.
These texts include:
• Literature from other countries and times
• Cultural heritages, popular cultures and youth cultures
• A range of social, gender and cultural perspectives
• AA and A classes also undertake a range of extension tasks
Information and communication technologies are also closely embedded in the syllabus. Key competencies include:
• collecting, analysing and organising information
• communicating ideas and information
• planning and organising activities
• working with others and in teams
• using technology
Furthermore, the course continues to develop key student skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing, as well as the development of students’ visual literacy skills. The rationale for English is that language helps shape our understanding of ourselves and our world, and that through responding to and composing texts, students learn about the power, value and art of the English language for communication, knowledge and pleasure.
All students are required to study Mathematics over Years 9 and 10. There are three levels of study within Mathematics, called 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3. These levels are designed so that students will cover the mandatory content for Mathematics during these two years, as well as prepare them for their chosen Mathematics course of study during Years 11 and 12.
Late in Term 4 Year 8, the Mathematics Department will recommend which of these levels best suits each student’s mathematical ability and performance. Students will study Mathematics at their chosen level for the next two years, though a change from a higher to a lower level may be possible at certain times.
5.3 Mathematics: This level is appropriate for those students who possess an advanced level of mathematical intuition. It has been designed for the highly capable Mathematics student who shows a real aptitude for Mathematics and a significant ability to problem solve in unfamiliar contexts. As a guide, around 30% of all NSW Year 9 and 10 students study at this level, while about two-thirds of Barker students choose this level.
The nature and format of the 5.3 level enables students to learn the mathematical principles required for the study of any one of the three courses in Year 11 and 12, namely: Mathematics Standard, Mathematics Advanced or Mathematics Extension. The 5.3 level is a Barker College prerequisite for the Year 11 Mathematics Extension course. The 5.3 level is strongly recommended only for students who gain either an Achievement Grade A or B at the end of Year 8 at Barker College. Even highly capable students who do not apply themselves appropriately can find this level a significant challenge and a real struggle. Students and parents who wish to choose this level against the Mathematics Department’s recommendation should realise the vast majority of students who have done so have struggled to cope, lost confidence and generally performed poorly.
Topics studied at the 5.3 level include rational numbers, real numbers, consumer arithmetic, probability, algebraic techniques, coordinate geometry, graphs, data analysis, measurement, trigonometry, deductive geometry, functions, logarithms, curve sketching, polynomials and circle geometry.
5.2 Mathematics: This level is an appropriate level of study for those students who possess a reasonable level of mathematical intuition and ability. As a guide, around 50% of all NSW Year 9 and 10 students study at this particular level, while about one-third of Barker students choose this level. The nature and format of this level enables students to learn the basic mathematical principles required for the study of either the Mathematics Advanced or the Mathematics Standard courses in Years 11 and 12.
However, it has been found in the past that only students who perform in the top 10% of the 5.2 level at Barker College have sufficient foundational knowledge and ability to be able to cope with the difficulty and rigour of the Mathematics Advanced course in Year 11.
The topics studied at the 5.2 level include rational numbers, consumer arithmetic, probability, algebraic techniques, coordinate geometry, graphs, data analysis, measurement, trigonometry and geometry.
There are fewer topics at the 5.2 level and these are covered at a slower pace and in less depth than at the harder 5.3 Mathematics level, while still providing an appropriate preparation for either of the two Year 11 2 Unit Mathematics courses. Hence, the 5.2 level is strongly recommended for those students who gain either an Achievement Grade C, D or E, or a Course Mark lower than 70% at the end of Year 8 at Barker College.
5.1 Mathematics: This level is an appropriate level of study for those students who possess a basic standard of mathematical intuition and ability. As a guide, around 20% of all NSW Year 9 and 10 students study at this particular level, while a handful of Barker students find themselves most suited to this level.
The 5.1 level allows students to complete the requirements for the study of Mathematics during Years 9 and 10. The nature and format of this level also enables students to learn the basic mathematical principles required for the study of the Mathematics Standard course in Years 11 and 12. However, this level is not sufficient preparation for the study of the Mathematics Advanced course.
The topics for the 5.1 level include rational numbers, consumer arithmetic, probability, algebraic techniques, coordinate geometry, data analysis, trigonometry, perimeter and area. The small number of topics at the 5.1 level are covered at a slower pace and in less depth than in the harder 5.2 Mathematics level. Despite this, the 5.1 level can still provide an appropriate preparation for the study of the Mathematics Standard course in Year 11.
The 5.2 and 5.1 Mathematics levels can be good options for students to regain confidence. Indeed, a student who completed 5.1 in Years 9 and 10 recently came 2nd at Barker in the HSC Mathematics Standard course.
The study of Science in Year 9 uses science inquiry to develop science knowledge and understanding through learning experiences set in relevant contexts. Students undertake practical experiences in most lessons where they develop skills in, and understanding of, the process of Working Scientifically. Students will also develop knowledge and understanding about the nature, development, use and influence of science, as well as scientific concepts, ideas and principles related to the Chemical World, Earth and Space, the Living World and the Physical World. The topics of study in Year 9 include:
• A Well Coordinated Machine
• Are Mobile Phones Dangerous
• No Planet B
• Small Things Make a Big Difference
• Electricity at Work
The assessment of the course is through a variety of tasks including practical tests, topic tests and examinations.
The History courses in Years 9 and 10 cover the Mandatory Stage 5 course as well as additional units designed to give students a broader study of history.
In Year 9, students commence Stage 5 of the Australian Curriculum, which focuses on developing an understanding of the movement of peoples and societies towards a modern world. This locates a study of Australian history in its global and regional context, with particular emphasis on the formative role of the World War I and World War II. Students also complete school-developed units that trace critical historical developments and help to students complement their understanding of Australian history with a broader understanding of world history.
The Year 10 course continues the study of Australian history in its global and historical contexts. Students study units on the ancient world, Changing Rights and Freedoms, The Presidency of JFK, The Vietnam War Era, Whitlam and the 1970s.
The courses encourage students to think about the important historical concepts of evidence, causation, historical interpretation and change along with significant substantive concepts such as democracy, communism, citizenship and the impact of war. In doing so, the courses equip students for further study in History in the senior years.
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education aims to develop young people’s capacity to manage personal health, to achieve movement potential and to think critically about health and physical activity issues. This will enable them to be an advocate for health and physical activity. This subject will develop and challenge students through a holistic and integrated approach to health and associated issues. Students will participate in class work and physical activities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to understand, value and lead a healthy lifestyle. Strands covered include:
• Self and Relationships
• Movement Skill and Performance
• Individual and Community Health
• Lifelong Physical Activity