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HSC Course descriptions – Science

Course: Biology

Course No: 15030

2 units for each of Preliminary and HSC

Board Developed Course

Exclusions: Senior Science (Preliminary only)

Course Description

Biology is the study of living organisms, life processes and interactions between organisms and their environment.

The Preliminary course incorporates the study of the mechanisms and systems that living things use to obtain, transport and draw on materials for their own growth and repair; biotic and abiotic features of the environment and the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem; the evolution of life on Earth; and the effects of global changes on the diversity of Australian biota during the formation of the Australian continent.

The HSC course builds upon the Preliminary course. It examines the processes and structures that plants and animals use to maintain a constant internal environment and the way in which characteristics are transmitted from generation to generation. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.

Topics Covered

Preliminary Course

Biology Skills Module 8.1

Core Modules

  • A Local Ecosystem
  • Patterns in Nature
  • Life on Earth
  • Evolution of Australian Biota

HSC Course

Biology Skills Module 9.1

Core Modules

  • Maintaining a Balance
  • Blueprint of Life
  • The Search for Better Health

One Option from the following modules:

  • Communication
  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics: The Code Broken?
  • The Human Story
  • Biochemistry

Particular Course Requirements

Each module specifies content which provides opportunities for students to achieve the Biology skill outcomes. Biology modules 8.1 (Preliminary) and 9.1 (HSC) provide the skills content that must be addressed within and across each course. Teachers should provide opportunities based on the module content to develop the full range of skills content identified in Biology skills modules 8.1 and 9.1.

The Preliminary course includes a field study related to local terrestrial and aquatic environments. Students will complete a minimum of 80 indicative hours of practical experiences across Preliminary and HSC course time with no less than 35 hours in the HSC course. Practical experiences must include at least one open-ended investigation in both the Preliminary and HSC Courses.

Course: Chemistry

Course No: 15050

2 units for each of Preliminary and HSC

Board Developed Course

Exclusions: Senior Science (Preliminary only)

Course Description

Chemistry is the study of the physical and chemical properties of matter, with a focus on substances and their interactions. Chemistry attempts to provide chemical explanations and to predict events at the atomic and molecular level.

The Preliminary course develops a knowledge of atomic structure, chemical changes, rates of reaction and relationships between substances by focusing on increasing students' understanding of the Earth's resources, the development of increasingly sophisticated methods to extract and use metals, the importance of water on Earth and high energy carbon compounds.

The HSC course builds on the concepts developed in the Preliminary course, expanding on areas such as the search for new sources of traditional materials, the design and production of new materials, the management and monitoring of chemicals that have been developed and/or released as a result of human technological activity and the way in which environmental problems could be reversed or minimised. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.

Topics Covered

Preliminary Course

Chemistry Skills Module 8.1

Core Modules

  • The Chemical Earth
  • Metals
  • Water
  • Energy

HSC Course

Chemistry Skills Module 9.1

Core Modules

  • Production of Materials
  • The Acidic Environment
  • Chemical Monitoring and Management

One Option from the following modules:

  • Industrial Chemistry
  • Shipwrecks, Corrosion and Conservation
  • The Biochemistry of Movement
  • The Chemistry of Art
  • Forensic Chemistry

Particular Course Requirements

Each module specifies content which provides opportunities for students to achieve the Chemistry skill outcomes. Chemistry modules 8.1 (Preliminary) and 9.1 (HSC) provide the skills content that must be addressed within and across each course. Teachers should provide opportunities based on the module content to develop the full range of skills content identified in Chemistry skills modules 8.1 and 9.1.

Students will complete a minimum of 80 indicative hours of practical experiences across Preliminary and HSC course time with no less than 35 hours in the HSC course. Practical experiences must include at least one open-ended investigation in both the Preliminary and HSC Courses.

Course: Earth and Environmental Science

Course No: 15100

2 units for each of Preliminary and HSC

Board Developed Course

Exclusions: Senior Science (Preliminary only)

Course Description

Earth and Environmental Science is the study of the planet Earth, its processes and its environment.

The Preliminary course develops a knowledge of the physical and chemical features of the environment, the available resources and human impact on Australian environments and the interplay between the internal and external forces that constantly shape the Earth. It increases students' understanding of these concepts by focusing on the unique nature of the Australian continent, its geology and environments and, in particular, the local environment and the effect of human impact on it.

The HSC course builds upon the Preliminary course. It examines the geological, physical and chemical evidence related to the evolution of Australia over time, current pressures and their effects on the Australian environment, and the indicators of environmental ill-health. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.

Topics Covered

Preliminary Course

Earth and Environmental Science Skills Module 8.1

Core Modules

  • Planet Earth and Environment
    • A Five Thousand Million Year Journey
  • The Local Environment
  • Water Issues
  • Dynamic Earth

HSC Course

Earth and Environmental Science Skills Module 9.1

Core Modules

  • Tectonic Impacts
  • Environments Through Time
  • Caring for the Country

One Option from the following modules:

  • Introduced Species and the Australian Environment
  • Organic Geology – A Non-renewable Resource
  • Mining and the Australian Environment
  • Oceanography

Particular Course Requirements

Each module specifies content which provides opportunities for students to achieve the Earth and Environmental Science skill outcomes. Earth and Environmental Science modules 8.1 (Preliminary) and 9.1 (HSC) provide the skills content that must be addressed within and across each course. Teachers should provide opportunities based on the module content to develop the full range of skills content identified in Earth and Environmental Science skills modules 8.1 and 9.1.

The Preliminary course includes field experience in the identification of landforms, rocks and soil types, as well as how biological factors interact to form the local environment. Students will complete a minimum of 80 indicative hours of practical experiences across Preliminary and HSC course time with no less than 35 hours in the HSC course. Practical experiences must include at least one open-ended investigation in both the Preliminary and HSC Courses.

Course: Physics

Course No: 15330

2 units for each of Preliminary and HSC

Board Developed Course

Exclusions: Senior Science (Preliminary only)

Course Description

Physics investigates natural phenomena, identifies patterns and applies models, principles and laws to explain their behaviour.

The Preliminary course develops a knowledge of waves, motion, forces, fields, electricity and magnetism by focusing on increasing students' understanding of current communication technologies, the use of electricity in the home, interaction involving vehicles (such as car crashes) and the mechanisms that maintain the physical conditions of planet Earth.

The HSC course builds on the concepts of the Preliminary course by expanding on areas such as relativity, the motor effect and solid state physics, and by focusing on space flight, motors and generators and the scientific advances involved in the development of semi-conductors and electronics. The options cover a variety of interest areas and draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine areas of current research.

Topics Covered

Preliminary Course

Physics Skills Module 8.1

Core Modules

  • The World Communicates
  • Electrical Energy in the Home
  • Moving About
  • The Cosmic Engine

HSC Course

Physics Skills Module 9.1

Core Modules

  • Space
  • Motors and Generators
  • From Ideas to Implementation

One Option from the following modules:

  • Geophysics
  • Medical Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • From Quanta to Quarks
  • The Age of Silicon

Particular Course Requirements

Each module specifies content which provides opportunities for students to achieve the Physics skill outcomes. Physics modules 8.1 (Preliminary) and 9.1 (HSC) provide the skills content that must be addressed within and across each course. Teachers should provide opportunities based on the module content to develop the full range of skills content identified in Physics skills modules 8.1 and 9.1.

Students will complete a minimum of 80 indicative hours of practical experiences across Preliminary and HSC course time with no less than 35 hours in the HSC course. Practical experiences must include at least one open-ended investigation in both the Preliminary and HSC Courses.

Course: Senior Science

Course No: 15340

2 units for each of Preliminary and HSC

Board Developed Course

Exclusions: Preliminary courses in Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science and Physics

Course Description

The Preliminary course incorporates the study of the collection, storage and conservation of water resources, and the structure and function of plants, with an emphasis on Australian native plants. It examines issues associated with the protection of the body in the workplace and the interactions between organisms in local ecosystems.

The HSC course investigates the importance of a range of biological molecules found in humans and other organisms, the physical and chemical properties of chemicals used by people on and in their bodies, and information systems. The options draw on the increased information and understanding provided by improved technology to examine a variety of interest areas.

The Senior Science course caters for students requiring a broad overview across all disciplines of science and focuses on encouraging them to become scientifically literate citizens. The course emphasises skill development and is particularly suited to students who have achieved Elementary to Substantial Achievement in the School Certificate in Science. In the HSC study pattern, students may study HSC Senior Science in combination with the HSC course in Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environment Science or Physics to a maximum of six units. Students who are undertaking the Senior Science HSC course must have satisfactorily completed the Preliminary course in Senior Science or Biology or Chemistry or Earth and Environmental Science or Physics.

Topics Covered

Preliminary Course

Senior Science Skills Module 8.1

Core Modules

  • Water for Living
  • Plants
  • Humans at Work
  • The Local Environment

HSC Course

Senior Science Skills Module 9.1

Core Modules

  • Lifestyle Chemistry
  • Medical Technology – Bionics
  • Information Systems

One Option from the following modules:

  • Polymers
  • Preservatives and Additives
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Disasters
  • Space Science

Particular Course Requirements

Each module specifies content which provides opportunities for students to achieve the Senior Science skill outcomes. Senior Science modules 8.1 (Preliminary) and 9.1 (HSC) provide the skills content that must be addressed within and across each course. Teachers should provide opportunities based on the module content to develop the full range of skills content identified in Senior Science skills modules 8.1 and 9.1.

The Preliminary course includes field experience in the identification of soil types as well as how biological factors interact to form the local environment. Students will complete a minimum of 80 indicative hours of practical experiences across Preliminary and HSC course time with no less than 35 hours in the HSC course. Practical experiences must include at least one open-ended investigation in both the Preliminary and HSC Courses.

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