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Winmalee High School

Winmalee High School

A positive education and positive behaviour for learning 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.

What is HSIE?

Male students working at desk in classroom

The HSIE (Human Society and Its Environment) faculty has the very important task of introducing students to humanities, civics and citizenship, the arts and social education. These aspects of education are important in a school such as Winmalee High to ensure balance in the whole school curriculum.

In Stage 4 (Years 7 & 8) Year 7 study the Geography course for one year. In Year 8, students spend the year exploring History. In Stage 5, (Years 9 & 10) students study one semester of History and one semester of Geography per year. Elective History and Commerce are offered to all students to study for Stage 5 as one of their Stage 5 elective courses.

What does learning look like in HSIE?

To prepare for university, careers, and citizenship, it is not enough to master academic content. Students also need to acquire a set of skills that will last for a lifetime. To be able to solve problems in our complex, fast-changing world, students must become nimble, creative thinkers who can work well with others. HSIE classrooms cater for 21st Century learners through the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology), collaborative learning, and critical thinking as well as ethical and intercultural understanding. Students studying HSIE subjects experience a range of teaching and learning strategies designed to meet the needs of all learning styles.

Students working at laptop computers on desks in classroom

Courses Stage 4 & 5 (Years 7-10)

History Mandatory & Stage 5 History Elective

Mandatory History allows students to gain a broad understanding of world and Australian history from ancient to modern times through the teaching of historical overviews.

In the elective course students gain a deeper knowledge of history through the analysis of depth studies such as Ancient India, the Ottoman Empire and Japan under the Shoguns. Students learn about 20th century Australian history through the Australians at War and Rights and Freedoms depth studies. They experience an inquiry-based approach to learning, developing key historical skills in research, source analysis and communication.

These courses aim to stimulate students’ enjoyment of and interest in the interaction of the physical and human environments.

Commerce - Elective

The elective Commerce course aims to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to be responsible and informed financial citizens.

Geography - Mandatory

This is a mandatory course studied by all students. In this course students investigate interactions between people, places and environments from local to global scales. They explore geographical concepts, such as interconnection, sustainability and change, through contemporary real world examples and issues. Students learn how to acquire, process and communicate geographical information using geographical tools and inquiry.

Student and teacher working at computers in the library

Courses Stage 6 (Years 11-12)

Ancient History

The study of Ancient History enables students to acquire knowledge and understanding, historical skills, and values and attitudes essential to an appreciation of the ancient world; to develop a lifelong interest and enthusiasm for Ancient History; and to prepare for informed and active citizenship in the contemporary world.

Business Studies

Business activity is a feature of everyone's life. Throughout the world people engage in a web of business activities to design, produce, market, deliver and support a range of goods and services. In addition, investors, consumers and employees depend on the business sector for much of their quality of life.

Extension History

The aim of HSC History Extension is to enable students to evaluate the ideas and processes used by historians to produce history and to apply what they have learned to inquire into areas of historical interest with increasing independence.


Geography is an investigation of the world which provides an accurate description and interpretation of the varied character of the earth and its people. It is a key discipline through which students develop the ability to recognise and understand environmental change and the interactions which take place in our world.

Legal Studies

Our society is regulated by a complex set of rules and regulations which both guide and protect individual and community rights. Being well informed about legal issues, including the rights and responsibilities integral to our society, is part of being an active and informed citizen. Students of Legal Studies Stage 6 will develop an understanding of legal concepts and the way the law functions in our society.

Modern History

Modern History Stage 6 is designed to enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding, the skills of critical analysis and synthesis, and values and attitudes essential to an appreciation of forces that have shaped the modern world; to develop a lifelong interest in the study of history; and to prepare them for informed and active citizenship in the contemporary world.

Society and Culture

The central concern of Society and Culture is the interaction of persons, societies, cultures, environments and time. Society and Culture draws on cross-disciplinary concepts and social research methodologies from anthropology, communication, cultural studies, media studies, philosophy, psychology, social ecology and sociology.

Two male and one female student at desk in classroom

Further information about HSIE can be found at:

Stage 4 & 5 HSIE Syllabus

Stage 6 HSIE Syllabus