incorporating the Year Eleven and Twelve programs) Principal


not recommended that students would enter Unit 3 without Units 1 and/or 2. If they do they would be required to undertake significant additional preparation



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not recommended that students would enter Unit 3 without Units 1 and/or 2. If they do they would be required to undertake significant additional preparation as prescribed by their teacher.

Unit 1: What ideas explain the physical world?

In this unit students explore how physics explains phenomena, at various scales, which are not always visible to the unaided human eye. They examine some of the fundamental ideas and models used by physicists in an attempt to understand and explain the world. Students consider thermal concepts by investigating heat, probe common analogies used to explain electricity and consider the origins and formation of matter.


Area of Study 1



How can thermal effects be explained?

In this area of study students investigate the thermodynamic principles related to heating processes, including concepts of temperature, energy and work. Students examine the environmental impacts of Earth’s thermal systems and human activities with reference to the effects on surface materials, the emission of greenhouse gases and the contribution to the enhanced greenhouse effect.


Area of Study 2

How do electric circuits work?

In this area of study students develop conceptual models to analyse electrical phenomena and undertake practical investigations of circuit components. Concepts of electrical safety are developed through the study of safety mechanisms and the effect of current on humans. Students apply and critically assess mathematical models during experimental investigations of DC circuits.


Area of Study 3
What is matter and how is it formed?
In this area of study students explore the nature of matter, and consider the origins of atoms, time and space.
They examine the currently accepted theory of what constitutes the nucleus, the forces within the nucleus and how energy is derived from the nucleus.

Unit 2: What do experiments reveal about the physical world?


In this unit students explore the power of experiments in developing models and theories. They investigate a variety of phenomena by making their own observations and generating questions, which in turn lead to experiments.
Students choose one of twelve options related to astrobiology, astrophysics, bioelectricity, biomechanics, electronics, flight, medical physics, nuclear energy, nuclear physics, optics, sound and sports science. The option enables students to pursue an area of interest by investigating a selected question.

Students design and undertake investigations involving at least one independent, continuous variable. A student designed practical investigation relates to content drawn from Area of Study 1 and/or Area of Study 2 and is undertaken in Area of Study 3.


Area of Study 1

How can motion be described and explained?

In this area of study students observe motion and explore the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on motion. They analyse motion using concepts of energy, including energy transfers and transformations. They describe and analyse graphically, numerically and algebraically the motion of an object, using specific physics terminology and conventions.


Area of Study 2
Options
Twelve options are available for selection in Area of Study 2. Each option is based on a different observation of the physical world. One option is to be selected by the student from the following:
• What are stars?
• Is there life beyond Earth’s Solar System?
• How do forces act on the human body?
• How can AC electricity charge a DC device?
• How do heavy things fly?
• How do fusion and fission compare as viable nuclear energy power sources?
• How is radiation used to maintain human health?
• How do particle accelerators work?
• How can human vision be enhanced?
• How do instruments make music?
• How can performance in ball sports be improved?
• How does the human body use electricity?

UNIT 3: How do fields explain motion and electricity?

In this unit students explore the importance of energy in explaining and describing the physical world. They examine the production of electricity and its delivery to homes.


Area of Study 1
How do things move without contact?

On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse gravitational, electric and magnetic fields, and use these to explain the operation of motors and particle accelerators and the orbits of satellites.


Area of Study 2
How are fields used to move electrical energy?
In this area of study students explain how electricity is produced and delivered to homes. They explore magnetic fields and the transformer as critical to the performance of electrical distribution systems.
Area of Study 3
How fast can things go?

On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate motion and related energy transformations experimentally, analyse motion using Newton’s laws of motion in one and two dimensions, and explain the motion of objects moving at very large speeds using Einstein’s theory of special relativity.



Unit 4: How can two contradictory models explain both light and matter?

In this unit, students explore the use of wave and particle theories to model the properties of light and matter. They examine how the concept of the wave is used to explain the nature of light and explore its limitations in describing light behaviour. Students further investigate light by using a particle model to explain its behaviour. A wave model is also used to explain the behaviour of matter which enables students to consider the relationship between light and matter.


Area of Study 1
How can waves explain the behaviour of light?
On completion of this unit the student should be able to apply wave concepts to analyse, interpret and explain the behaviour of light.
Area of Study 2
How are light and matter similar?

On completion of this unit the student should be able to provide evidence for the nature of light and matter, and analyse the data from experiments that supports this evidence.


Area of Study 3
Practical investigation
On completion of this unit the student should be able to design and undertake a practical investigation related to waves or fields or motion, and present methodologies, findings and conclusions in a scientific poster.
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Introduction
Scope of study

Environmental science explores the interactions and interconnectedness between humans and their environments and analyses the functions of both living and non-living elements that sustain Earth systems.


In VCE Environmental Science, Earth is understood as a set of four interdependent systems: the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. The study explores how the relationships between these systems produce environmental change over a variety of time scales. Students investigate the extent to which humans modify their environments and the consequences of these changes in local and global contexts with a focus on pollution,
biodiversity, energy use and climate change; they explore the conceptual, behavioural, ethical and technological responses to these changes. Students examine data related to environmental monitoring over various time scales, case studies, research, models, frameworks and theories to understand how knowledge in environmental science has
evolved and continues to evolve in response to new evidence and discoveries.
Rationale
VCE Environmental Science enables students to explore the challenges that past and current human interactions with the environment presents for the future by considering how Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere function as interrelated systems. In undertaking this study, students examine how environmental actions affect, and are affected by, ethical, social and political frameworks.

In VCE Environmental Science students develop a range of inquiry skills involving practical experimentation and research, analytical skills including critical and creative thinking, and communication skills. Students use scientific and cognitive skills and understanding to analyse contemporary issues related to environmental science, and communicate their views from an informed position.


VCE Environmental Science provides for continuing study pathways within the field and leads to a range of careers. Diverse areas of employment range from design, including landscape or building architecture, engineering and urban planning, environmental consultancy and advocacy, which may involve employment in air, water and/or soil quality monitoring and control, agriculture, construction, mining and property management and water quality engineering. Environmental scientists also work in cross-disciplinary areas such as bushfire research, environmental management and conservation, geology and oceanography.
Aims
This study enables students to:

• examine Earth as a dynamic and complex set of four interacting systems (atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) that undergo change over various time scales and that affect, and are affected by, human activities.


• develop a range of individual and collaborative science investigation skills through experimental and inquiry tasks in the field and in the laboratory

• develop an informed perspective on contemporary science-based issues of local and global significance.


• understand and apply the research, ethical and safety principles that govern the study and practice of the discipline in the collection, analysis, critical evaluation and reporting of data

• communicate clearly and accurately an understanding of the discipline using appropriate terminology, conventions and formats.


Structure
The study is made up of four units:

Unit 1: How are Earth’s systems connected?

Unit 2: How can pollution be managed?

Unit 3: How can biodiversity and development be sustained? INTRODUCED FROM 2017.

Unit 4: How can the impacts of human energy use be reduced? INTRODUCED FROM 2017.
Entry
There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4.

It is not recommended that students would enter Unit 2 without first completing Unit 1.

It is not recommended that students would enter Unit 3 without Units 1 and/or 2. If they do they would be required to undertake significant additional preparation as prescribed by their teacher.

Unit 1: How are Earth’s systems connected?

In this unit students examine Earth as a set of four interacting systems: the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. Students apply a systems perspective when exploring the physical requirements for life in terms of inputs and outputs, and consider the effects of natural and human-induced changes in ecosystems. They investigate the physical environment and its components, the function of local ecosystems and the interactions


that occur in and between ecological components over different timescales. Students consider how the biotic and abiotic components of local ecosystems can be monitored and measured.
Area of Study 1

How is life sustained on Earth?

Life on Earth is dependent on four major inputs: energy, nutrients, air and water. In this area of study students examine the processes and interactions occurring within and between Earth’s four systems – the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – that affect the availability, accessibility and usability of these inputs for life. They examine the processes within and between the four systems, and distinguish between outputs that can be reused as inputs and those that require treatment as wastes.



Outcome 1

On completion of this unit the student should be able to compare the processes and timeframes for obtaining the key inputs required for life on Earth, describe strategies for the minimisation of waste product outputs, and explain how Earth’s four systems interact to sustain life.


Area of Study 2

How is Earth a dynamic system?

In this area of study students explore changes in systems that can occur over different time scales (short, medium or long term), have cyclic or unpredictable patterns, and can be caused by natural- or human-induced factors. They examine the flow of matter and energy in selected environmental events and phenomena with reference to natural and unpredictable or abrupt environmental changes in Earth’s four systems. Students learn how environmental changes may be monitored and measured. Students discuss how changes over time can be explained by interactions between different environmental processes and how these changes may affect all four Earth systems.




Outcome 2

On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe the flow of matter and energy, nutrient exchange and environmental changes in ecosystems across Earth’s four systems over different time scales.


Area of Study 3

Practical investigation

Ecosystems are subject to change in response to biotic or abiotic disturbances, or changes in the frequency at which they are disturbed, affecting the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. In this area of study students design and conduct a practical investigation into the monitoring of ecosystems or their components and/or change in ecosystems.




Outcome 3

On completion of this unit the student should be able to design and undertake an investigation related to ecosystem monitoring and/or change, and draw a conclusion based on evidence from collected data.


Assessment tasks

For Outcomes 1 and 2

• a fieldwork report

• a case study

• a report of a practical activity involving the collection of primary data

• annotations of a practical work folio of activities or investigations

• a research investigation involving the collection of secondary data

• a model of an aspect of Earth systems

• a logbook of practical activities

• analysis of data/results including generalisations/conclusions

• media analysis/response

• problem solving involving environmental science concepts, skills and/or issues

• a test comprising multiple choice and/or short answer and/or extended response

• a reflective learning journal/blog related to selected activities or in response to an issue


For Outcome 3

• a report of a student-designed and/or adapted and/or extended investigation related to ecosystem monitoring and/or change that can be presented in various formats, for example digital presentation, oral presentation, written report or graphic organiser.






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