Macintyre High School

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Human society and its environment

In human society and its environment (HSIE), both subjects of history and geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10.

Students learn specific historical and geographical concepts and skills in history and geography. They also have an opportunity to learn more about people and the societies and environments in which they live through elective subjects in Years 7 to 10 (Stages 4 to 5).

A large number of 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. 

In Year 11 and 12, students can choose from a range of HSIE courses. These include:

  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History Extension
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • Society and Culture
  • Studies of Religion.

Aboriginal Studies

The study of Aboriginal Studies will allow students to gain knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal Peoples, cultures and lifestyles. Students will explore the social and cultural heritage of a diverse range of groups and their contributions to Australian society.

The course will cover local and regional community and allow students to develop an understanding of the diversity of Aboriginal identities and their geographical and historical contexts. Students will consider how Aboriginal groups express their culture and interact with and contribute to their own society and the wider community.

A study of the contributions of the Aboriginal Peoples in society will include:

  • Cultural activities and performing arts such as music, dance and drama, visual arts, film and television
  • Oral and written storytelling
  • The role of sport in breaking down the barriers

Students will learn about filmmaking and get the opportunity to make a film relevant to the coursework. Involvement in cultural and historical activities and excursions of cultural, social and historical interest will be a focus.

Students will learn research skills and gain experience in a variety of information and communication technologies. With guidance and consultation they will get to work with local Aboriginal communities on a research topic.

Throughout the course students will consider the attitudes of the past and present, the importance of Aboriginal autonomy and self-determination and the future of Aboriginal Peoples in Australia.


The study of History aims to stimulate interest in and enjoyment of exploring the past, to develop critical understanding of the past and enable students to participate as active, informed and responsible citizens. Civics and Citizenship is integrated in all courses along with the focus on values, different perspectives and viewpoints and shared heritage.

The study of History allows students to gain skills to undertake the process of historical enquiry, to gain knowledge and understanding of past societies and periods and to research and communicate this in a variety of ways.

History is mandatory from years 7 to 10.

History Years 7 - 8

In Stage 4 students will study one semester of History in each of year 7 and 8.

Topics covered:

  • The study of archaeology
  • Ancient societies (Greece, Rome or Egypt)
  • The Vikings or Medieval Society
  • Aboriginal Australia and Contact History (American Plains Indians or the Incas)

History Years 9 - 10

Australian History is the focus of the Stage 5 course. Areas covered include:

  • Australia to 1914
  • Australia and World War 1
  • Australia between the Wars
  • Australia and World War 2
  • Australia in the Vietnam War Era
  • Changing Rights and Freedoms
  • People, Power and Politics in the Post-war Period
  • Australia's Social and Cultural History in the Post-war Period

Extension programs

There are many opportunities to extend students in History including:

  • Academic competitions such as The National History Challenge and the Australian Historical Investigation Competition.
  • Excursions and site studies such as the Myall Creek Excursion in year 10.
  • Attending ceremonies of historical significance (Anzac Day and Remembrance Day)
  • Art and Writing Competitions.
  • Historical re-enactments e.g. Viking Feast.

Senior History

In years 11 and 12 both Modern and Ancient History are offered, as well as Extension History in year 12. It is possible to study both courses.

Ancient History


  •  Investigating the Past: History, Archaeology and Science
  • Case Studies
  • Studies of Ancient Societies, Sites and Sources
    Historical investigation


  • Core Study - Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • Ancient Society
  • Personality in Their Time
  • Historical Period

Modern History


The aim of the Preliminary Modern History course is to broaden students' general knowledge of History in the last two hundred years while covering the mandatory topics of the syllabus.

The students will study a variety of case studies of topics ranging from The Russian Revolution to South Africa. They will also research and present a major original Historical Investigation.

The Core Study for Preliminary Modern History is the world at the beginning of the twentieth Century and is compulsory for all students in NSW studying Modern History.


  • HSC Modern History is composed of four units of study. The Core compulsory unit is World War 1 and is a Source based study.
  • The second unit is a National Study and covers various countries such as Germany, Russia and China in the twentieth Century.
  • The third unit is Personalities in the Twentieth Century where students will study one famous person and their role in history.
  • The fourth unit is an International Study of Peace and Conflict and covers topics such as Indochina or The Arab Israeli conflict.

Support programs

  • Literacy support is provided by the Learning and Support Teacher for students with learning difficulties and special needs.
  • Life Skills History is available in the junior school and at HSC level for students with special needs.

Business Studies

Senior Course - Years 11 and 12

Business studies encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of business in contexts which students will encounter throughout their lives.

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.

Students will use information from the up-to-date iphone case study to further their knowledge of the strategies implemented at each stage of the business life cycle.

Preliminary Course Topics  (Three compulsory topics) : 

  • Nature of Business 
  • Business Management
  • Business Planning

Higher School Certificate Topics:

  • Operations
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Human Resources


Commerce provides the knowledge, skills and understanding that form the foundation for making decisions on consumer, financial management, business, legal and employment issues and processes. Financial literacy is an important aspect of the study of Commerce.

Commerce is an elective subject which may be chosen for study in years 9 and 10.

Topics studied in Commerce include:

  • Investing
  • Consumer Choice 
  • Travel
  • Law and Society
  • Law in Action
  • Political Involvement
  • Personal Finance
  • Employment
  • Running a Business
  • The Economy
  • Towards Independence

The issues studied include: consumer decision making, scams, costs of buying and owning a car, law making, the court structure, criminal and civil law, punishment, government in Australia, income, spending, saving, borrowing, financial management, investment options and planning, changing work patterns, taxation, superannuation, business operation and basic accounting.  Students may also have the opportunity to enter the ASX Sharemarket game and UNE Business Planning Competition.


Geography is a discipline involving two key dimensions:

  • The spatial dimension: where things are and why they are there.
  • The ecological dimension: how humans interact with environments.

Geography explains patterns, considers consequences and contributes to students' understanding of the management of natural, social, cultural and human environments. The study of the interaction of the natural and human environments involves developing a range of knowledge, understanding and skills.

Junior Geography

The study of Geography is mandatory for years 7-10. Students undertake 100 hours of study in Global Geography (years 7-8, 50 hours in each year) and 100 hours of study in Australian Geography (years 9-10, 50 hours in each year)

Year 7 and 8

The study of Geography in these years takes a global perspective.

In year 7 there are two topics:

  • Investigating the World: this is an introduction to the discipline and nature of geography - the natural and human elements of environments, the world and world heritage sites.
  • Global Environments: geographical processes that form and transform global environments, and human interactions within these environments. This involves the study of mountain environments and human activity in mountains.

The two topics in year 8 are:

  • Global change: the changing nature of the world and responses to change - globalisation and global inequalities.
  • Global Issues: study of two geographical issues and management of these issues for example access to fresh water, tourism or use of ocean resources.

Year 9 and 10

Australian Geography, including Civics and Citizenship, is studied in these years.

In year 9 the two topics are:

  • Australia's Physical (Natural) Environments: physical characteristics for example weather and climate, and natural hazards eg. drought.
  • Changing Australian Communities: the human geography of Australia eg. population and change.

In year 10 the two topics are:

  • Issues in Australian Environments: studying land and water management, waste management and urban geography.
  • Australia in its Regional and Global Contexts: Australia's links with other countries and future challenges for Australia.

Legal Studies

Legal Studies develops students' knowledge, understanding and skills in relation to the legal system and its effectiveness in promoting a just and fair society, with a view to empowering students to participate effectively as citizens at the local, national and international level.

Through Legal Studies, students will develop knowledge and understanding about: the general nature, functions, systems, processes and institutions of domestic and international law, the operation and dimensions of the Australian and international legal systems and the importance of the rule of law, how changes in societies influence change and reform in the law, access to and participation in the legal system and methods of dispute resolution.

Skills in:

investigating, analysing and synthesising legal information and issues from a variety of perspectives communicating legal information and issues using appropriate forms.

Preliminary Course Content

  • The Legal System
  • The individual and the law 
  • Law in practice

Higher School Certificate Course Content

  • Crime
  • Human Rights
  • Two options from Consumers, Global environmental protection, family, indigenous peoples, shelter, workplace, world order.

Students will also have the opportunity to observe courtroom processes and operation during a field trip to the local Courthouse.