Elective Geography

Elective Geography


Head of Department: Matthew Lloyd
Email: mlloyd@barker.nsw.edu.au

Year 9

Elective Geography

The Stage 5 Elective course for Year 9 is a practical, student-centred course. Students study both the physical and human elements of Geography. There is an overnight fieldwork trip to the Illawarra including a variety of exciting and pertinent activities such as canoeing on the Minnamurra River, a walk through the rainforest, snorkelling near the river’s end, a dairy farm visit and a visit to the Jamberoo Action Park. The Stage 5 Elective course for Year 10 is a different, stand-alone course. A precis of the course content is outlined below for comparison purposes.

The Year 9 topics include oceanography, catchment geography, town planning/infrastructure and a study of chocolate as a primary crop/product. There is plenty of scope for students to explore topics of interest further.

The knowledge and understanding explored in Year 9 Elective Geography includes:

• Catchment Management (including the Minnamurra Fieldtrip)
• Oceanography
• The Geography of Primary Production – with a focus on Cocoa to Chocolate
• Smart Cities – we have linked with the Sydney Science Park (https://www.app.com.au/our-work/sydney-science-parkand) and industry experts to undertake a project wherein students research a “Pillar” (Water, Health, Heat, Health, Transport, Waste, Urban Agriculture) and create a “pitch” of ideas that may become included in the development of the suburbs surrounding Sydney’s new airport.
• Sustainable Futures – including Sustainable Sydney

The skills to be engaged with in Year 9 Elective Geography include:
• Oral presentation skills, guided inquiry, small group work
• Development of written expression skills
• Geographic skills reinforced and used in the context of case studies
• Team building as students work together to create a “pitch” for Sydney Science Park in the STEM School Challenge.

The ICT aspects of Year 9 Elective Geography include:
• Relevant internet work – enhancing research skills, be a “Super Searcher”!
• Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – spatial analysis
• Google Earth Pro, ArcView On-line and NSW Globe
• Interactive on-line fieldwork activities
• Simulation games

The Fieldwork students engage in during Year 9 Elective Geography consist of:
• Rainforest to Sea to the Land - Illawarra/Jamberoo Fieldtrip (two nights)
• Sustainable Living – Kimbriki Resource Recovery Centre – Ingleside and Narrabeen Lakes

Year 10 Elective Course Outline
1. We’re On Fire! – a study of the Mt Gosper fire, our area and how fire ready we are.
2. Poles Apart/A View to a Krill! – a look at Polar regions with a stop at the Equator on the way between the two poles.
3. Run Your Own Race – Using the Transcontinental Bike Race (https://www.transcontinental.cc/) and the Darling River to investigate transects.
4. United Nations? – looking at world politics, political tension and conflict, conflict resolution, with a “Pick Your Own Conflict” investigative study.

Assessment Structure

The Year 9 Geography Assessment Program includes:

  • A Catchment Studies and Oceanography fieldwork report based on the Illawarra Fieldwork with some short answer questions regarding the Oceanography topic.
  • The second task regards Primary Production wherein students prepare an ICT presentation for delivery in class. The students also complete some short answer questions.
  • Task 3 pertains to Weather and Climate as an in-class test.
  • The final assessment is the Semester 2 Examination; a written examination of geographical skills learnt throughout the year and on topics studied in the second half of the year.


Year 10

Elective Geography

This course is complementary to our other courses. Whilst it builds on the skills and concepts of the other Geography courses, the material covered is almost entirely different. A student choosing Elective Geography in Year 10 can be assured that they will be in a completely different course to compulsory Geography.

The course is broken into four topics, one per term. Two topics are human Geography and the other two are physical Geography (and how humans interact with it).

Topic One is called “We’re on Fire”, looking at the range of natural disasters including tectonic activity but focusing largely upon fire in Australia, especially in our area. Students will engage with a volcanic eruption scenario, make choices based on geographic knowledge such as when and where to evacuate. They will undertake a case study where they plan for a fire and map their ideas, for example where could be back burnt? Where could there be fire breaks? There will be an opportunity for learning Geographical Information Systems (GIS) skills. These are highly sought after in many industries and in all levels of government and Emergency Services.

Topic Two is called “Poles Apart/A View to a Krill”. Starting at the North Pole, it examines the home of polar bears, navigable passages and retreating ice as Climate Change makes its presence felt. Then we head south, stopping near the Equator at one of our nearest neighbours, and a place where Barker has had a presence, Timor-Leste. This is a guided study including information from the visits of previous Barker Year 10s. It finishes by visiting Antarctica. Students will make their own choice as to an aspect of Antarctica which they wish to investigate in greater depth.

Topic Three is a Transcontinental Transect. Students will have a choice of a trans-continental journey in one of three continents, Europe, North America or Australia. With the Northern Hemisphere options, they will mimic the Transcontinental Race, a self-supported bicycle race across Europe or the US. Riders choose routes between stops, based on the physical attributes of both the land and the riders. The Australian option is a trip down the Murray-Darling River system; learning more about the inland of our great continent. They investigate features such as tourist attractions, elevation, climate, flora and fauna, urban areas and rivers.

Topic Four sees a shift to some Political Geography in a unit we call United Nations?! Starting with the good news from Factfulness we challenge current thoughts regarding Developing and Developed Nations, exploring “Ten reasons why we’re wrong about the world and why things are better than you think”! Attention turns then to global conflicts; causes and resolutions. Students investigate their choice of conflict.
Join us as we seek to challenge students to examine the environmental and human characteristics of our world. We explore ways of managing the future of places including their environmental, economic and social sustainability. We seek to provide students with the intellectual and technical skills to become critical thinkers, life-long learners and active citizens.


Year 11

Preliminary and HSC Course

The Preliminary course refines students’ knowledge and understanding about spatial and ecological dimensions. It uses enquiry methodologies to investigate the characteristics of our world through fieldwork, geographical skills and study of contemporary geographical issues.

The HSC course enables students to understand and appreciate geographical perspectives about the world. The case studies focus on biophysical and human processes, interactions and trends through the application of enquiry methodologies involving fieldwork.

Through their studies, students should understand:
- The fragile beauty of the planet and the importance of ecologically sustainable development
- The geographic processes that produce diverse landscapes and ecosystems
- That communities and environments change over time
- The need for geographic outcomes that ensure social justice and equity

Main Topics

Preliminary Course - 2 Topics:

1. Biophysical Interactions

Biophysical Interactions involves study of how atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere, function and interact. It also involves study of an environmental issue related to one of the components in a coastal context. Students will visit the Myall Coast overnight to conduct two days of fieldwork.

2. Global Challenges 

Topics covered will include:
- Population Geography
- Development Geography
- Natural Resource Use

HSC Course - 3 Topics

- Ecosystems At Risk
- Urban Places
- People and Economic Activity

Ecosystems At Risk studies:
- How ecosystems function
- Their vulnerability/resilience
- The need to manage them effectively
- An evaluation of management strategies

There are two case studies:
- Bicentennial Park Intertidal Wetlands, Homebush Bay - including fieldwork.
- The Great Barrier Reef.

Urban Places studies:
- World cities and their place in the global network
- The nature of megacities and challenges of living in them
- Urban dynamics in Sydney incorporating fieldwork to Pyrmont
- Strategies for Sydney’s Ecologically Sustainable Development

People and Economic Activity studies:
- The nature and spatial patterns of The Global Wine Industry, factors explaining these patterns.
- An economic enterprise at a local level - participating in fieldwork to the Hunter Valley.

Jobs for Geographers 

More and more, students with geographical skills are highly sought after. Hear what Royal Society Director, Professor Joe Smith has to say about why you should choose Geography.

Assessment Structure

Task 1: Biophysical Interactions Test Stimulus-based short answer questions referring to the biophysical components that make Sydney what it is.

Task 2: Senior Geography Project investigation of an issue that involves designing and conducting geographical research; both primary and secondary

Task 3: Semester 2 Examination formal written examination of the geographical skills learnt throughout the year and the topics studied in the Preliminary Course. Includes multiple choice, short answers and extended response.