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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 10

Year 10 Level Description

There are two units of study in the Year 10 curriculum for Geography: ‘Environmental change and management’ and ‘Geographies of human wellbeing’.

‘Environmental change and management’ focuses on investigating environmental geography through an in-depth study of a specific environment. The unit begins with an overview of the environmental functions that support all life, the major challenges to their sustainability, and the environmental world views – including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples – that influence how people perceive and respond to these challenges. Students investigate a specific type of environment and environmental change in Australia and one other country. They apply human–environment systems thinking to understand the causes and consequences of the change and geographical concepts and methods to evaluate and select strategies to manage the change. 

Geographies of human wellbeing’ focuses on investigating global, national and local differences in human wellbeing between places. This unit examines the different concepts and measures of human wellbeing, and the causes of global differences in these measures between countries. Students explore spatial differences in wellbeing within and between countries, and evaluate the differences from a variety of perspectives. They explore programs designed to reduce the gap between differences in wellbeing. These distinctive aspects of human wellbeing are investigated using studies drawn from Australia, India and across the world as appropriate.

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 10 are:

  • How can the spatial variation between places and changes in environments be explained?
  • What management options exist for sustaining human and natural systems into the future?
  • How do world views influence decisions on how to manage environmental and social change?

Year 10 Content Descriptions

Unit 1: Environmental change and management

Human-induced environmental changes that challenge sustainability (ACHGK070 - Scootle )
  • discussing the concept of sustainability in relation to environmental functions
  • identifying human-induced environmental changes (for example, water and atmospheric pollution; loss of biodiversity; degradation of land, inland and coastal aquatic environments) and discussing the challenges they pose for sustainability
  • evaluating the concept of ecosystem services and the importance of these services for sustainability of biodiversity
Environmental world views of people and their implications for environmental management (ACHGK071 - Scootle )
  • describing the role of people’s environmental world views (for example, human-centred and earth-centred) in producing different attitudes and approaches towards environmental management
  • comparing the differences in people’s views about the causes of environmental issues in Australia and across the world
  • discussing whether environmental change is necessarily a problem that should be managed and explaining people’s choices of methods for managing or responding to environmental changes
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ approaches to custodial responsibility and environmental management in different regions of Australia (ACHGK072 - Scootle )
  • researching the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in environmental management
  • explaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander models of sustainability that contribute to broader conservation practices

Select ONE of the following types of environment as the context for study: land (e.g. forests, deserts, grasslands, farmland), inland water, coast, marine or urban. A comparative study of examples selected from Australia and at least one other country should be included.

The application of systems thinking to understanding the causes and likely consequences of the environmental change being investigated  (ACHGK073 - Scootle )
  • describing the nature of the environmental change and its effect on the sustainability of environmental functions
  • examining the interconnections between biophysical processes and human actions that generate environmental change, together with the consequences of these changes
The application of geographical concepts and methods to the management of the environmental change being investigated (ACHGK074 - Scootle )
  • discussing the influence of people’s world views on programs for the management of the environmental change being investigated
  • proposing geographical management strategies for the environmental change being investigated (for example, establishing reserves and corridors to preserve biodiversity (a spatial strategy), ecosystem-based management (an environmental strategy), urban planning to reduce energy consumption (a spatial strategy), and addressing underlying as well as immediate causes of environmental change (holistic thinking))
  • comparing strategies in Australia and another country to manage the environmental change being investigated
  • exploring the variety of solutions to similar environmental changes in different places
  • discussing how land management agencies are increasingly working with traditional owners to manage environmental change and challenges
The application of environmental economic and social criteria in evaluating management responses to the change (ACHGK075 - Scootle )
  • explaining how communities and governments attempt to balance environmental, economic and social criteria in decisions on environmental programs, and the extent to which there can be trade-offs between them
  • discussing the extent to which achieving sustainability in one place should take account of the effects on environmental conditions in other places in the context of the environmental change being investigated
  • debating the practical and ethical dilemmas of national and international conservation programs aimed at the environmental change being investigated

Unit 2: Geographies of human wellbeing

Different ways of measuring and mapping human wellbeing and development, and how these can be applied to measure differences between places (ACHGK076 - Scootle )
  • examining and comparing different perceptions of human wellbeing (for example, by comparing student rankings of selected indicators)
  • identifying and evaluating different ways of measuring wellbeing (for example, per capita income or the UN Human Development Index), and applying them to investigate spatial variations in human wellbeing and comparing the results from different measures
  • examining the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and their relationship to human wellbeing
  • identifying trends in human wellbeing in countries over time
Reasons for spatial variations between countries in selected indicators of human wellbeing (ACHGK077 - Scootle )
  • investigating the economic, social, technological, political and or environmental causes of spatial inequality between countries
  • examining differences in indicators by gender across countries and within selected countries
  • investigating the interrelationships between the rate of population growth and human wellbeing in countries
  • examining how access to natural resources (for example, minerals and water) can affect wellbeing and be a source of conflict
Issues affecting development of places and their impact on human wellbeing, drawing on a study from a developing country or region in Africa, South America or the Pacific Islands (ACHGK078 - Scootle )
  • investigating development issues (for example, access to clean water, sanitation, health services and adequate food and shelter) and their potential impact on human wellbeing
  • identifying the trends in gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP per capita over time in the selected country or region and their relationship with trends in measures of wellbeing
Reasons for, and consequences of, spatial variations in human wellbeing on a regional scale within India or another country of the Asia region (ACHGK079 - Scootle )
  • examining spatial data on human wellbeing in India to identify the regions of India with high and low levels of wellbeing, discussing identified patterns and explaining the differences
  • examining how a person’s wellbeing is influenced by where they live, with reference to at least two different regions in a country of the Asia region
Reasons for, and consequences of, spatial variations in human wellbeing in Australia at the local scale (ACHGK080 - Scootle )
  • researching spatial differences in the wellbeing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population across Australia, and the extent to which these differences depend on how wellbeing is measured
  • examining how a person’s wellbeing is influenced by where they live, with reference to at least two different places in Australia
The role of international and national government and non-government organisations' initiatives in improving human wellbeing in Australia and other countries (ACHGK081 - Scootle )
  • examining a national, state or community program to reduce regional inequalities in wellbeing in a country (for example, India)
  • discussing the objectives and outcomes of an Australian Government overseas economic and social development program or a non-government overseas aid program in a specific country or region within a country
  • identifying ways to improve the wellbeing of remote Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities, including ways proposed by the communities

Observing, questioning and planning

Develop geographically significant questions and plan an inquiry that identifies and applies appropriate geographical methodologies and concepts (ACHGS072 - Scootle )
  • developing questions of geographical significance about an area of focus in the geographical knowledge and understanding strand (for example, questions related to the causes of environmental change or the extent of variation in global wellbeing)
  • planning an investigation of the processes responsible for the geographical phenomenon being studied, at a range of scales (for example, the reasons for and types of variation in human wellbeing in one country)
  • planning methods of data collection to answer inquiry questions and evaluating questions for their geographical significance
  • using a range of methods including digital technologies to plan and conduct an information search about the causes and consequences of change to environments

Collecting, recording, evaluating and representing

Evaluate sources for their reliability, bias and usefulness and select, collect, record and organise relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from a range of appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS073 - Scootle )
  • gathering relevant data from a range of primary sources (for example, from observation and annotated field sketches, conducting surveys, interviews and experiments, or taking photographs) about human-induced environmental changes
  • collecting geographical information from secondary sources (for example, topographic maps, thematic maps, choropleth maps, weather maps, climate graphs, compound column graphs and population pyramids, scatter plots, tables, satellite images and aerial photographs, reports, census data and the media)
  • collecting quantitative and qualitative data using ethical research methods, including the use of protocols for consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • using Gapminder or United Nations statistics to collect data on countries to answer an inquiry question
Represent multi-variable data in a range of appropriate forms, for example scatter plots, tables, field sketches and annotated diagrams, with and without the use of digital and spatial technologies (ACHGS074 - Scootle )
  • developing a table to show the responses to environmental change in a particular environment
  • using scatter plots of data for countries or smaller areas to investigate the relationship between two variables (for example, per capita income and life expectancy for countries) and to identify anomalies
  • using digital technologies such as Gapminder to support the illustration and analysis of geographical variables
Represent spatial distribution of geographical phenomena by constructing special purpose maps that conform to cartographic conventions, using spatial technologies as appropriate (ACHGS075 - Scootle )
  • constructing and interpreting choropleth maps to show patterns of human wellbeing at a local scale
  • creating a map to show measures of environmental change, using a spatial technologies application

Interpreting, analysing and concluding

Interpret and analyse multi-variable data and other geographical information using qualitative and quantitative methods, and digital and spatial technologies as appropriate, to make generalisations and inferences, propose explanations for patterns, trends, relationships and anomalies, and predict outcomes (ACHGS076 - Scootle )
  • analysing environmental change (for example, the clearance of vegetation or a plan for a vegetation corridor) using topographic maps and satellite images
  • constructing computer-generated tables, graphs, maps and diagrams to analyse data on human wellbeing
  • critically analysing text and images for their meaning and significance
Apply geographical concepts to synthesise information from various sources and draw conclusions based on the analysis of data and information, taking into account alternative points of view (ACHGS077 - Scootle )
  • synthesising information from several sources through using as organisers at least two of the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change
Identify how geographical information systems (GIS) might be used to analyse geographical data and make predictions (ACHGS078 - Scootle )
  • outlining how geographical information systems (GIS) are used in environmental management or in analysing spatial patterns of human wellbeing
  • investigating the use of geographic information systems (GIS) by Indigenous peoples in Australia and elsewhere for managing conservation


Present findings, arguments and explanations in a range of appropriate communication forms, selected for their effectiveness and to suit audience and purpose; using relevant geographical terminology, and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS079 - Scootle )
  • constructing a logical argument, supported by evidence (for example, accounting for observed patterns in wellbeing at the local, national and global scales), and responding to questions

Reflecting and responding

Reflect on and evaluate findings of an inquiry to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic, political and social considerations; and explain the predicted outcomes and consequences of their proposal (ACHGS080 - Scootle )
  • reflecting on the role of personal values and attitudes in influencing their responses to situations including goals (for example, environmental protection)
  • explaining how the application of geographical concepts and methods has contributed to deep understanding of the causes of and solutions to issues related to environmental change, human wellbeing or development

Year 10 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 10, students explain how interactions between geographical processes at different scales change the characteristics of places. Students identify, analyse and explain significant interconnections between people, places and environments and explain changes that result from these interconnections and their consequences. They predict changes in the characteristics of places and environments over time, across space and at different scales and explain the predicted consequences of change. They evaluate alternative views on a geographical challenge and alternative strategies to address this challenge using environmental, economic, political and social criteria and draw a reasoned conclusion.

Students use initial research to develop and modify geographically significant questions to frame an inquiry. They critically evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to select and collect relevant, reliable and unbiased geographical information and data. Students record and represent multi-variable data in of the most appropriate digital and non-digital forms, including a range of graphs and maps that use suitable scales and comply with cartographic conventions. They use a range of methods and digital technologies to interpret and analyse maps, data and other information to make generalisations and inferences, propose explanations for significant patterns, trends, relationships and anomalies across time and space and at different scales, and predict outcomes. They analyse and synthesise data and other information to draw reasoned conclusions, taking into account alternative perspectives. Students present findings, arguments and explanations using relevant geographical terminology and graphic representations and digital technologies in a range of selected and appropriate communication forms. They evaluate their findings and propose action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic, political and social considerations. They explain the predicted outcomes and consequences of their proposal.

Year 10 Work Sample Portfolios