Accessible Page Links



Page Tools

Main page Content

Humanities

 

Humanities subjects occupy an important place in the curriculum of The Gap State High School. In Years 7-10 all students study Humanities and Social Sciences as part of their core subjects and in Years 11 and 12 students have the option of selecting from six subjects: Ancient History, Economics, Geography, Legal Studies, Modern History and Study of Society.

 

An important focus of all these subjects is to enable students to develop a range of critical thinking and investigative skills, which are essential for us all to take our place in society.

Whether they are investigating issues from the past or present, students are taught how to formulate appropriate questions, collect and analyse evidence, evaluate sources, differentiate between fact and opinion, recognize bias and organize and communicate their findings effectively. In this way, the Humanities not only equip students with essential knowledge but also transferable skills that are applicable in various areas of their lives, whether it be personal decision making, their post-secondary studies or the workplace.

Junior school curriculum

All students in Years 7-9 study History and Social Sciences as part of their core subjects. While the principal focus and content is currently an historical one, there is also a focus on: significant geographical knowledge and skills; political and economic systems; and important civics and citizenship concepts. Essential learnings in these areas have been embedded within the following depth studies, which provide the central focus of our program.

 

Depth Study 1

Depth Study 2

Depth Study 3

Year 7     The Ancient World (c.60 000 BCE-650 CE)

Investigating the Ancient Past

The Mediterranean World - Egypt

The Asian World - China

Year 8     The Ancient to the Modern World

(c.650-1750 CE)

The Vikings

Angkor/the Khmer Empire

The Spanish Conquest of the Americas

Year 9      The Making of the Modern World

(1750-1918)

Industrial Revolution

Asia and the World – China

World War I

 

The key concepts of evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability shape the nature of the units. Skills development focuses on the understanding and use of appropriate terms and concepts; framing questions and conducting research from diverse sources; analysing, using, interpreting and evaluating evidence; explaining and communicating knowledge and judgements. In this way the foundations of effective critical inquiry are laid for students.

Senior school curriculum

History and Social Sciences continues to be part of core for all year 10 students and the key concepts and skills of critical inquiry as outlined above underpin the following depth studies which students undertake. For many, these not only provide worthwhile learning in themselves but also lay the basis for their selection of Humanities subjects in the Senior school.

 

Depth Study 1

Depth Study 2

Depth Study 3

Year 10    The Modern World and Australia (1918-Present)

Significant Events of World War II

The US Civil Rights Movement and its Influence on Australia

Migration Experiences

 

In years 11 and 12 students have the option of selecting from six Humanities subjects: Ancient History, Economics, Geography, Legal Studies, Modern History and Study of Society, all of which are Authority subjects.

Ancient History

Ancient History assists students not only to acquire a knowledge and appreciation of the achievements, challenges and legacies of the people and cultures of the ancient and medieval worlds but also to hone their skills of critical inquiry. During the two year course, students undertake inquiry based studies and bridging topics selected from the following themes: archaeology; funerary practices; pharaonic power in Egypt; the changing practices in society and government in the Greek world; the arts; political centrism in Rome; the influence of groups in ancient societies; studies of religion and Tudor England. These inquiries are undertaken by having students frame questions for investigation, formulate hypotheses, research, analyse and evaluate relevant sources, make judgements about a range of historical questions and communicate their knowledge and judgements in both written and multi-modal formats. 

Economics

To understand the economic environment in which we live and the economic forces that impact on our lives, it is important that everyone has a basic level of economic literacy. Economics aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand and make judgements about all sorts of economic issues from the personal and local to those of national and global significance. During the two year course, the following units are examined: markets and models; environmental economics; contemporary micro-economic issues; labour; contemporary macro-economic management; population; systems and development; international economics and globalisation and trade. Throughout these units students are engaged in learning experiences that involve them in interpreting data, assessing the appropriateness of economic decisions and policies, expressing opinions about proposed solutions to economic problems and generally enhancing their critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Geography

Studies in Geography help students live their day to day lives by informing them about their local area and other parts of the world. Decision making based on the gathering, understanding, analysis and interpretation of data and the evaluation of alternative proposals is an important focus in the following units which students study: managing the natural environment; people and development; social environments and resources and environments. The learning activities associated with these units, which students undertake when they are involved in fieldwork and other research, working with maps, interpreting statistics, photographs and satellite images and from there communicating their findings in written or oral reports are valuable skills that are central not only to Geography but many other fields of investigation.

Legal Studies

In the 21st century, significant issues of a legal and political nature face individuals. Through involvement in the senior Legal Studies curriculum, students are better informed of their responsibilities, rights and legal position in a variety of situations and are better able to explore the legal nature and implications of controversial social issues. During the two year course, students study the following: the legal system and how it meets society’s needs; the nature of crime and how the criminal justice system responds to it; civil law – contracts and torts; family law or renting and buying or technology and the law or another area of practical application and an independent study.

Throughout these units students are encouraged to develop their knowledge, the thinking and practical skills and the attitudes and values which will enhance their awareness and ability to participate actively as more informed, proactive and critical members of our democratic society.

Modern History

Modern History assists students not only to acquire an understanding of the world in which we live by examining its historical origins and the people, forces and influences which have shaped it but also to hone their skills of critical inquiry. During the two year course, students undertake inquiry based studies and bridging topics selected from the following themes: studies of power, studies of conflict, people and environments in history, national history and the history of ideas and beliefs. These inquiries are undertaken by having students frame questions for investigation, formulate hypotheses, research and analyse relevant sources, make judgements about a range of historical questions and communicate their knowledge and judgements in both written and multi-modal formats. 

Study of Society

For students who are interested in acquiring an understanding of human behaviour and the factors that influence it, the nature of Australian and other societies and an ability to understand and apply the techniques and methodology of social scientists, Study of Society is the subject. During the two year course students undertake topics selected from the following semester units: the process of socialisation and other factors that shape the individual; how culture is created and shaped by individuals and communities and how communities and individuals can shape culture; ‘who gets what and why’, which explores how inequitable practices are established, sustained and challenged within and across structures in Australian society and ‘who is in control’ which examines power and social change. Throughout these units students are encouraged not only to acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding of Australian society but also to develop their skills of inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving.

Enriching the learning in the humanities

Excursions, guest speakers and competitions all help to enrich the classroom learning experiences students have in the Humanities. The excursions are as diverse as being involved in an archaeological dig at the Abbey Museum to watching court cases and the operation of the state parliament. From exploring Kelvin Grove urban village to investigating the ecosystems of the Glasshouse Mountains, the geographers engage in the fieldwork that is essential to them. For students in senior Ancient and Modern History, Economics and Study of Society it has become a school tradition to visit the Social Sciences and Humanities Library at the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland. For the Legal Studies students it is the courts, QUT Library at Gardens Point and the Bond Mooting Competition that provide opportunities for them to enhance their learning. All of these excursions and the many others, which students participate in help them to deepen not only their knowledge but also the skills which are central to the disciplines they are studying.

In a similar way, guest speakers provide a range of perspectives and insights that only those who have lived the experience can. Indigenous elders, Vietnam veterans, AusAid workers, UN Peace Keepers and economists from the Reserve Bank are some of the speakers who have helped our students understand more clearly the worlds in which they have moved. These experiences add an invaluable dimension to the usual classroom experiences students have.

Students also have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and compete with students beyond the school through their involvement in the competitions which are on offer to them. Ancient and Modern History students have a long history of success in the Historical Writing Competition conducted by the Queensland History Teachers’ Association, while our Geography and Economics students frequently distinguish themselves with their performances in the Australian Geography Competition and the UQ School of Economics Student Economics Competition. Most recently our Legal Studies students have had brought great credit to the school through their involvement in the Bond University Mooting Competition. The high standards required for success in all these competitions is indicative of the excellent work many of our students produce.