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In a world of increasing global integration and international mobility, it is critical to the wellbeing and sustainability of the environment and society that young Australians develop a holistic understanding of the world.



The Australian Curriculum: Geography aims to ensure that students develop:

a sense of wonder, curiosity and respect about places, people, cultures and environments throughout the world
a deep geographical knowledge of their own locality, Australia, the Asia region and the world



The Australian Curriculum: Geography is organised in two related strands: geographical knowledge and understanding, and geographical inquiry and skills.
Geographical knowledge and understanding strand
Geographical knowledge refers to the facts, generalisations, principles, theories and models developed in Geography.


PDF documents

Resources and support materials for the Australian Curriculum: Geography are available as PDF documents. 
Geography: Sequence of content 7-10
Geography: Sequence of achievement 7-10  




Year 8

Year 8 Level Description

There are two units of study in the Year 8 curriculum for Geography: ‘Landforms and landscapes’ and ‘Changing nations’.

‘Landforms and landscapes’ focuses on investigating geomorphology through a study of landscapes and their landforms. This unit examines the processes that shape individual landforms, the values and meanings placed on landforms and landscapes by diverse cultures, hazards associated with landscapes, and management of landscapes. ‘Landforms and landscapes’ develops students’ understanding of the concept of environment and enables them to explore the significance of landscapes to people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. These distinctive aspects of landforms and landscapes are investigated using studies drawn from Australia and throughout the world.

‘Changing nations’ investigates the changing human geography of countries, as revealed by shifts in population distribution. The spatial distribution of population is a sensitive indicator of economic and social change, and has significant environmental, economic and social effects, both negative and positive. The unit explores the process of urbanisation and draws on a study of a country of the Asia region to show how urbanisation changes the economies and societies of low- and middle-income countries. It investigates the reasons for the high level of urban concentration in Australia, one of the distinctive features of Australia’s human geography, and compares Australia with the United States of America. The redistribution of population resulting from internal migration is examined through case studies of Australia and China, and is contrasted with the way international migration reinforces urban concentration in Australia. The unit then examines issues related to the management and future of Australia’s urban areas.

The content of this year level is organised into two strands: geographical knowledge and understanding, and geographical inquiry and skills. These strands are interrelated and have been developed to be taught in an integrated manner, and in ways that are appropriate to specific local contexts. The order and detail in which they are taught are programming decisions.

Key inquiry questions

A framework for developing students’ geographical knowledge, understanding and skills is provided through the inclusion of inquiry questions and specific inquiry skills, including the use and interpretation of maps, photographs and other representations of geographical data.

The key inquiry questions for Year 8 are:

  • How do environmental and human processes affect the characteristics of places and environments?
  • How do the interconnections between places, people and environments affect the lives of people?
  • What are the consequences of changes to places and environments and how can these changes be managed?

Year 8 Content Descriptions

Unit 1: Landforms and landscapes

Different types of landscapes and their distinctive landform features (ACHGK048 - Scootle )
  • identifying different types of landscapes (for example, coastal, riverine, arid, mountain and karst) and describing examples from around the world, including Antarctica
  • identifying some iconic landscapes in Australia and the world, and describing what makes them iconic
  • describing some of the different types of landforms within a landscape
  • exploring the names, meanings and significance of landform features from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander perspective
Spiritual, aesthetic and cultural value of landscapes and landforms for people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACHGK049 - Scootle )
  • discussing the representation of landscapes in literature, song/music, film and art
  • analysing the role of geomorphic landforms and landscapes in tourism (for example, the Grand Canyon in the USA or Uluru in Australia)
  • exploring the multilayered meanings (material, cultural and spiritual wellbeing) associated with landscapes and landforms by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • investigating Aboriginal Dreaming stories and Legends of the Torres Strait concerning the formation, meaning and interconnection of landforms
  • discussing the significance of landforms for people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Geomorphic processes that produce landforms, including a case study of at least one landform (ACHGK050 - Scootle )
  • describing the influence of folding, faulting or volcanism on a chosen landform
  • researching the effects of rock type, weathering, erosion by water and wind, and transportation and deposition on the chosen landform
Human causes and effects of landscape degradation (ACHGK051 - Scootle )
  • analysing the effects of erosion and sedimentation produced by human activities, including farming and recreation, on landscape quality
  • examining the effects of mining and quarrying, and urban development, on landscape quality
  • describing the effects of river regulation including dams, locks, channel straightening and drains, on riverine and wetland landscape quality
  • investigating the effects of the built elements of environments (for example, urban development, marinas and sea walls) on coastal landscape quality
  • investigating the ways introduced plants or animals or activities such as mining affect landscape quality and examining the effects on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Ways of protecting significant landscapes (ACHGK052 - Scootle )
  • identifying different views about the value of particular environments (for example, recreational, psychological, aesthetic and spiritual), and about the nature and extent of their protection, and discussing how this links to ideas about environmental sustainability
  • investigating a significant landscape that is threatened by human activities and developing a proposal for the future of the landscape that takes account of the views of the diverse groups, including traditional owners, with an interest in its use or protection
  • identifying the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge to the use and management of landforms and landscapes
  • investigating the negative and positive impacts of bushfires on Australian landscapes and ways of responding to the risk and events of bushfires
Causes, impacts and responses to a geomorphological hazard (ACHGK053 - Scootle )
  • investigating the natural causes and spatial distribution of a geomorphological hazard (for example, volcanic eruption, earthquake, tsunami, landslide, avalanche)
  • discussing the extent to which human alteration of environments has contributed to the occurrence of the geomorphological hazard
  • describing how the effects caused by geomorphological hazards are influenced by social, cultural and economic factors (for example, where people choose to live, poverty, and lack of infrastructure and resources to prepare and respond)
  • researching how the application of principles of prevention, mitigation and preparedness minimises the harmful effects of geomorphological hazards or bushfires

Unit 2: Changing nations

Causes and consequences of urbanisation, drawing on a study from Indonesia, or another country of the Asia region (ACHGK054 - Scootle )
  • discussing urbanisation as a shift in where, how and why people live where they do
  • exploring the connections between urbanisation and economic and social opportunities
  • examining how urbanisation can positively or negatively affect environmental quality (for example, carbon emissions and water consumption)
Differences in urban concentration and urban settlement patterns between Australia and the United States of America, and their causes and consequences (ACHGK055 - Scootle )
  • researching the causes of urban concentration in Australia and the United States of America (for example, the history of European settlement, migration, the export orientation of the economy, the centralisation of state governments, environmental constraints and the shape of transportation networks)
  • investigating the relationship between population density and proximity to urban centres
Reasons for, and effects of, internal migration in both Australia and China (ACHGK056 - Scootle )
  • identifying and explaining the main types, patterns and trends of internal migration in Australia (for example, employment, lifestyle and retirement migration)
  • examining the effects of resource development on employment growth in both the resource regions and the cities, and on internal migration in Australia
  • investigating the effects of the ‘fly-in fly-out’ phenomenon on resource-development places
  • explaining that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ population mobility reflects attachment to a number of places through family, Country/Place, dispossession, relocation and employment
  • identifying and explaining the patterns of temporary and permanent internal migration in China and the effects on the places of origin and destination
  • examining the role of labour migration in the urban development of China (for example, the growth of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province)
  • exploring the issues relating to China’s ‘floating population’
  • examining the environmental problems of China’s megacities (for example, air pollution in Beijing)
Reasons for, and effects of, international migration in Australia (ACHGK058 - Scootle )
  • identifying and explaining the main types and patterns of international migration (for example, permanent migration, temporary labour migration, student migration, forced migration (including refugees) and family reunion)
  • investigating where and why international migrants settle in Australia and how this may reinforce urban concentration
  • exploring the changing cultural diversity of the Australian population
Management and planning of Australia’s urban future (ACHGK059 - Scootle )
  • examining the forecasts for the size of Australia’s major cities and regional urban centres, and discussing the implications for their environmental sustainability and liveability
  • investigating ways of managing the projected growth of Australia’s cities and regional urban centres
  • exploring the arguments for and against a more balanced distribution of the urban population
  • generating ideas on how to decentralise Australia's urban population using Canberra as an example

Observing, questioning and planning

Develop geographically significant questions and plan an inquiry using appropriate geographical methodologies and concepts (ACHGS055 - Scootle )
  • developing questions on an area of focus in the geographical knowledge and understanding strand (for example, about types of landforms or reasons for urban settlements)
  • developing questions about the significance of a spatial distribution (for example, the positive and negative effects of the spatial concentration of population in Australia)
  • planning an investigation of the processes responsible for the geographical phenomenon being studied, at a range of scales (for example, the causes and consequences of urbanisation)
  • using a range of methods including digital technologies to plan and conduct an information search about reasons for and effects of internal migration in Australia

Collecting, recording, evaluating and representing

Evaluate sources for their reliability and usefulness and select, collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS056 - Scootle )
  • gathering relevant data from a range of primary sources (for example, from observation and annotated field sketches, surveys and interviews, or photographs) about the ways to protect significant landscapes
  • collecting geographical information from secondary sources (for example, topographic maps, thematic maps, compound column graphs and population pyramids, reports, census data, digital images and the media)
  • conducting ethical research methods, including the use of protocols for consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
Represent data in a range of appropriate forms, for example, climate graphs, compound column graphs, population pyramids, tables, field sketches and annotated diagrams, with and without the use of digital and spatial technologies (ACHGS057 - Scootle )
  • constructing tables and graphs of demographic or economic data for Australia or China
  • creating annotated diagrams to show a landscape and its landforms
Represent spatial distribution of different types of geographical phenomena by constructing appropriate maps at different scales that conform to cartographic conventions, using spatial technologies as appropriate (ACHGS058 - Scootle )
  • developing a statistical map to show demographic or economic data for Australia or China, or show the cultural and demographic diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using mapping software
  • creating a map showing geomorphological features by using data from Geoscience Australia, or demographic statistics from census data, using a spatial technologies application
  • using the Global Positioning System (GPS) to make a map of the features of a landform
  • creating a map showing geomorphological features, incorporating traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander names for these where known

Interpreting, analysing and concluding

Interpret geographical data and other information using qualitative and quantitative methods, and digital and spatial technologies as appropriate, to identify and propose explanations for spatial distributions, patterns and trends, and infer relationships (ACHGS059 - Scootle )
  • analysing spatial distributions to infer relationships and suggest possible causes and effects
  • using digital mapping tools to map the cultural and demographic diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • interpreting topographic maps and digital terrain models, cross-sections or block diagrams to investigate landforms and their features
  • analysing trends in internal migration in Australia and China
Apply geographical concepts to draw conclusions based on the analysis of data and information collected (ACHGS060 - Scootle )
  • reviewing the results of an analysis to propose and defend answers to an inquiry question, emphasising at least one of the geographical concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale or change


Present findings, arguments and ideas in a range of communication forms selected to suit a particular audience and purpose; using geographical terminology and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS061 - Scootle )
  • presenting a report, supported by spatial technologies, to communicate a reasoned argument (for example, to advocate for actions to ensure that landscapes and seascapes can be managed sustainably for use by future generations)

Reflecting and responding

Reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations, and predict the expected outcomes of their proposal (ACHGS062 - Scootle )
  • reflecting on the inquiry process and suggesting questions that would be suitable for further investigation
  • reflecting on personal values and attitudes and how these influence responses to an issue (for example, the protection of landscapes)
  • proposing actions to respond to geographical issues related to environmental and economic sustainability (for example, urbanisation)

Year 8 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 8, students explain geographical processes that influence the characteristics of places and explain how places are perceived and valued differently. They explain interconnections within environments and between people and places and explain how they change places and environments. They compare alternative strategies to a geographical challenge, taking into account environmental, economic and social factors.

Students identify geographically significant questions from observations to frame an inquiry. They evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to locate useful and reliable information and data. They select, record and represent data and the location and distribution of geographical phenomena in a range of appropriate digital and non-digital forms, including maps at different scales that conform to cartographic conventions. They analyse geographical maps, data and other information to propose explanations for spatial distributions, patterns, trends and relationships, and draw reasoned conclusions. Students present findings, arguments and ideas using relevant geographical terminology and digital technologies in a range of appropriate communication forms. They propose action in response to a geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social factors, and predict the outcomes of their proposal.

Year 8 Work Sample Portfolios