Introduction to Yr 10 Subjects

Introduction to Yr 10 Subjects

An overview of core requirements for students


The Barker College Curriculum in Year 10 is designed to provide foundational experience in courses of study which develop a systematic and self-directed approach essential for academic success in Years 11 and 12, as well as establishing secure foundations in the knowledge, skills and understanding expected in the major subject areas offered in the Preliminary (Year 11) and HSC (Year 12) courses. Students cannot proceed to Preliminary Courses without having completed Stage 5 satisfactorily.

All Year 10 students at Barker are required to study English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Christian Studies and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education. In addition, two elective subjects must be chosen in Year 10.

Please view the video below for a general introduction to subject choices, including advice on how to pick your two electives. Further information about the core subjects can be found below.



Director of Studies: Kester Lee


Year 10

Core Subject Requirements
Christian Studies

In Year 10 we take our theme: “We have a story to tell.” Students are asked to discuss their own life-story and write about the life story of another student. They study the life story of Jesus. They explore the story, themes and characters from ‘Les Miserables’ wrestling with links to the modern world and the Christian faith. They study stories from the Bible and learn to read them in their context. Year 10 concludes with a focus on stories of reconciliation and consideration of the way forward for justice in relation to indigenous Australians.


Barker’s Year 10 English course is designed to instill in our students a love of engaging with, and responding to, texts. The current program acknowledges the need for students to be prepared for the rigorous Stage 6 English program in Years 11 and 12 and, as such, each term of study deepens students’ appreciation of concepts which are integral to their study of English in their final years.

The Stage 5 Syllabus focuses on developing the skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing when responding to a wide range of texts. Indeed, the range of texts Year 10 students will explore throughout their course of the study will include traditional and contemporary literature, mass media texts, visual texts and a range of other exciting forms including multimedia texts.

Our program for study enables students to become familiar with the ways in which composers of such texts represent their ideas and achieve their purposes. Students consider the significance of textual issues as they engage with a study of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and then later of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. They explore how context influences the meaning of texts and the way we respond to them through a close examination of poetry and novels.

In addition, students examine the way meaning is conveyed through plays and dramatic performances. Film and multimedia texts have been given a great deal of focus in all Senior English syllabuses and as such, students in Year 10 at Barker relish their ability to deconstruct the ‘language of film’ and documentary.

The process of student learning is characterised by independent and collaborative learning strategies and self-evaluative procedures. Assessment of students during Year 10 is a combination of class assessment and formal assessment including examinations. A strong focus will be given to critical analysis and essay writing.


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. At the end of Year 9, all current Barker students will be automatically placed into a Year 10 class of the same level, though a change from a higher to a lower level is possible at this time if parents notify the School to request such a change.

For Year 10 students who will be new to Barker, it is vital that the School receives as much information as possible concerning their study and performance of Mathematics during Year 9 at their previous school. Without parents sending their child’s Year 9 reports to the School, it is difficult for that student to be appropriately placed in the correct level and/or stream of class on their arrival at Barker. Parents should also note it is not unusual for a student to find the standard of Mathematics to be more demanding than at their previous school. Hence, it is not uncommon for a change in class or level to occur as each new student’s placement becomes clearer.

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 and deductive geometry. The additional topics mentioned above include 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 study of Science in Year 10 develops students’ scientific knowledge, skills, values and attitudes within broad areas of science that encompass the traditional disciplines of Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Physics. Science inquiry is used to develop science knowledge and understanding through learning experiences set in relevant contexts.

To help facilitate the students’ smooth progression into the senior sciences, Year 10 is taught by teaching teams. Students complete modules which broadly reflect the courses on offer in Year 11 and 12. Students spend one semester studying Physical Science (Physics and Chemistry) and the other semester studying Life Science (Biology and Earth and Environmental Science). Students will have a different Science teacher in each semester.

The topics of study in Year 10 include:
• Biology: Genetics and Disease
• Chemistry: Chemical Reactions
• Earth and Environmental Science: Evolution and Plate Tectonics
• Physics: Newton’s Laws of Motion (Kinematics)

Each module is taught within a context that attempts to link in with the students’ experiences and will help develop knowledge and understanding about the nature, development, use and influence of science, and scientific concepts, ideas and principles related to the Chemical World, Earth and Space, the Living World and the Physical World.

Students will also have the opportunity to carry out an independent research project. The best research projects will be submitted to the Young Scientist Competition and will also be eligible for the Peter Hull-Smith Science Prize. The assessment of the course is through a variety of tasks including practical tests, semester examinations and the research project.


The Year 10 History course prepares students for the study of Modern History and Ancient History in Years 11 and 12. It helps to provide an understanding of Australian history since 1945 and explores Australia’s relationship with the rest of the world.

Following the theme of people, power, and politics, the course investigates ancient as well as modern topics ranging from the presidency of John F Kennedy to Gough Whitlam’s reforms to the challenge of Changing Rights and Freedoms in the United States and Australia. The course also explores international relations in the Cold War era with a particular look at the Vietnam War Era.

The course encourages students to think about the important historical concepts of evidence, causation, and change over time as well as significant substantive concepts such as democracy, communism, and citizenship. In doing so, the course equips students for further study in History in the senior years.

Students have the opportunity to conduct their own historical research on a topic of their choice, and they have a range of opportunities such as visiting speakers and excursions.


At the conclusion of studies in Stage 5 Mandatory Geography students should understand:
• the diverse features and characteristics of a range of places and environments
• processes and influences that form and transform places and environments
• the effect of interactions and connections between people, places and environments
• perspectives of people and organisations on a range of geographical issues
• management strategies for places and environments for their sustainability
• differences in human wellbeing and ways to improve human wellbeing

Students will focus upon four main units of learning:

Sustainable Biomes
• What are the main characteristics that differentiate the world’s biomes?
• How do people use and alter biomes for food production?
• Can the world’s biomes sustainably feed the world’s population?
• What strategies can be used to increase global food security?

Human Wellbeing
• What makes human wellbeing a geographical issue?
• How can the spatial variations in human wellbeing and development be measured and explained?
• What are the economic, social and environmental impacts of variations in development and human wellbeing?
• How do governments, groups and individuals respond to inequalities in development and human wellbeing for a sustainable future?

Changing Places (urbanisation, migration, refugees)
• Why has the world become more urbanised?
• How does migration impact on the concentration of people into urban places?
• How does urbanisation change environments and places?
• What strategies are used to manage environmental change in urban places to enhance sustainability?

Environmental Change and Management
• How do environments function?
• How do people’s worldviews affect their attitudes to and use of environments?
• What are the causes and consequences of change in environments?
• Why is an understanding of environmental processes and interconnections essential for sustainable management of environments?

The course is supported by a field trip to Sydney’s CBD featuring a session atop Sydney Tower and a visit to the finger wharf in Woolloomooloo, an optional tour to Timor-Leste and the Winter Sleepout.


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