Earth and Environmental Science

LevelStage 1
Learning AreaScience
SemesterSemester 2
Pre-requisiteNone required
Additional CostsNil

Who is this course for?

This subject is suitable for students who are interested in how the Earth functions as the result of a series of interactions between the spheres including the Geosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere and Atmosphere. Also students interested in scientifically exploring the interactions between humans and the Earth and understanding their environment will find this subject interesting. This course will also be useful if students intend to study Earth and Environmental Science at Stage 2.

What will I learn?

  • Topic 1: Turbulent Earth

Natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions affect life on Earth. In this topic, students collect, analyse, and interpret data relating to the cause and impact of Earth hazards. They critically analyse the range of factors that influence the magnitude, frequency, intensity, and management of Earth hazards at local, regional, and global levels.

Students explore how the interactions of Earth systems may result in Earth hazards. They investigate ways in which scientific data are used to predict and mitigate the damage caused by these hazards, recognising their social responsibility and the need to plan for the future to protect the biosphere.

  • Topic 2: Composition of the Geosphere

This topic introduces you to the geosphere, the solid part of the Earth. You will learn how minerals are classified and used according to their properties, while rocks are classified according to their origins through igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic processes as well as their compositions and textures. You are also introduced to the formation of soil resulting from interactions between the spheres. The development of the geological time scale based on fossil evidence and geological principles has led to revisions of the age of the Earth. The multidisciplinary nature of earth and environmental science is evident with physical, chemical and geological aspects relevant to concepts such as radioactive decay, the formulae of minerals, and the evidence of fossils.

  • Topic 5: Importance of the Hydrosphere

Water exists in three phases on the Earth and plays an important part in the interactions between the Earth’s systems. You will investigate evidence that gives rise to different theories about the origins of water on the Earth. They study the properties of water and how these affect its role in biotic and abiotic environments. You will learn how the action of oceans, like heat sinks, leads to the formation of ocean currents and how the global ocean conveyer belt influences climate in regions around the world.

  • Topic 6: Biosphere

The fossil record provides evidence of the diverse life forms that have existed over time. Students interpret and evaluate different types of fossil evidence and explore their connections to past environments. Students explore how interactions among the spheres affect the communities of organisms in different ecosystems. They investigate the importance of processes such as photosynthesis and the cycling of nutrients and energy for sustaining life on Earth.

How will I be assessed?

Students to demonstrate their learning in Stage 1 Earth and Environmental Science through the following task types:

· Assessment Type 1: Investigations Folio

· Assessment Type 2: Skills and Applications Tasks

For a 10-credit subject, students provide evidence of their learning through four assessments. Each assessment type should have a weighting of at least 20%.

Students complete:

· one practical investigation, either in the laboratory or the field

· one investigation with a focus on science as a human endeavour

· two Skills and Applications Task


None required

Last updated: 29 July 2021