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Balgowlah Heights Public School

Balgowlah Heights Public School

Excellence and Opportunity

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Human society and its environment

In human society and its environment (HSIE), the subjects of history and geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10, where students study specific historical and geographical concepts and skills. 

In HSIE, students explore varied subjects in human society and its environment to learn about history, geography, people, societies and culture.

Students also have an opportunity to learn more about people and the societies and environments in which they live.

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. 

Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) provides opportunities for students to explore the past and present to develop an understanding of their personal and community identity. They investigate the interactions between people, places and environments that shape their nation and world. They learn to participate in society as informed, responsible and active citizens.


  • tell stories of family, school and local events that are celebrated or observed at home
  • talk about how families are similar or different, using stories and/or photographs
  • discuss holidays and special events in Australia and other countries
  • listen to stories from other cultural backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • talk about the importance of the places they live in and belong to
  • show care for their home, classroom, school and/or the environment.

Year 1 and 2

  • talk about families and identify various family traditions
  • tell stories about events and important days using language such as ‘then and now’, ‘a long time ago’
  • learn about the local community and how it has changed over time
  • talk about historical sites in the local community
  • use maps and globes to locate places and countries
  • discuss and observe how technology has changed over time
  • show an understanding of the relationships between environments and people and what they can do to help protect their environment
  • identify roles and responsibilities in families, school and their community.

Year 3 and 4

  • learn about the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their relationship with Country/Place
  • investigate the cultural diversity or background of the local area
  • learn about celebrations and commemorations in Australia and the world, eg Anzac Day
  • investigate British colonisation of Australia and its impact
  • discuss why people value environments differently
  • investigate the various ways to care for their local environment and what they can do at home and school to help protect the environment
  • describe similarities and differences between communities in Australia and other places in the world, including religions, languages and cultures.

Year 5 and 6

  • learn about people, groups and events in the past, eg convict life and the gold rushes
  • explain events that led to Australia’s Federation
  • describe experiences of Australian democracy and citizenship, including changing rights over time
  • talk about stories of migration and learn what it means to be Australian
  • examine different cultures and their contributions to Australian identities
  • investigate how the natural environment influences people and places, eg bushfires
  • investigate Australian and global connections and recognise global responsibilities.