Maitland High School

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Human society and its environment

In human society and its environment (HSIE), both subjects of history and geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10.

In Year 11 and 12, students can choose from a range of HSIE courses. These include:

  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History Extension
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • Society and Culture.

About Us 

The HSIE faculty at Maitland High School offers students the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects to cater to many interests and abilities. Following is a list of courses offered within the HSIE Faculty, including the Stage 6 courses of Ancient History, Business Studies, Geography, Legal Studies, Modern History, Society and Culture, Retail Services VET and Skills for Work and Training. Stage 4 and 5 courses include Geography (mandatory), History (mandatory) Crimes and Catastrophes (elective), Commerce (elective), Elective History (elective).

The HSIE team comprises a dynamic and enthusiastic group of teachers who are always seeking ways to enrich the learning experiences of our students. Whilst the teachers have as their focus academic excellence, we also provide opportunities for students to participate in extra-curricular activities that build interest in their subjects. These include excursions and site studies as well as encouraging students to participate in external competitions.

HSIE Staff

Mrs Matthews (HT):

Mrs Kirstyn Taylor:    

Mrs Scobie:

Mrs Young:

Mrs Zok:

Mr Bryce Williams:

Ms Olivia Bell:

Ms Gillian Anderson:

Subjects Offered

All students in Years 7-10 study History for one semester and Geography for one semester each year. More details can be found under the headings below.

Years 7 and 8 History students study the Ancient World with studies of Ancient Egypt, China, Japan and Medieval Europe.

Years 7 and 8 Geography students cover topics such as Investigating the WorldGlobal Environments and Global Change.

Year 8 electives – Horrible Histories & Money Matters

Horrible Histories revolves around a series of unsolved mysteries that go back even to ancient times. In this course over one semester students can play the detective and piece together the clues left in History to solve many of these mysteries.  There will also be the opportunity for students to investigate some of the myths and legends that have developed over time. Some of these myths and legends will be looked at through stories, films and models.

Did you know that Pharaoh Pepi II used to smear honey on his slaves to keep flies away from him? Or that the Vikings were actually known for their excellent hygiene?

This course will allow students the opportunity to delve deeper into many more exciting events and stories.

Main Topics Covered:

  •    Constructing history
  •    Ancient medieval and early modern societies e.g. Archaeology of the ancient world, medieval and early modern Europe
  •    Thematic studies e.g. Heroes and villains, religious beliefs and rituals through the ages, myths and legends, crime and punishment, slavery, etc.

The Year 8 Money Matters course will provide students with many skills needed in life. It involves the study of the world of money and business in the 21st Century which will help students survive in today’s exciting world of careers, expensive cars, credit cards, mobile phone plans and much more.

Students also develop skills in the ability to research information; apply problem-solving strategies and how to make decisions as individuals in the community.

Main Topics Covered:

  • A Consumer World
  • Is there such a thing as a bargain?  Buying wisely.
  • The temptation of easy finance and the cold hard truth about cash
  • How to get my hands on the money!  Earning an income.

Years 9 & 10 

Years 9 and 10 History students study topics such as the Movement of PeoplesAustralians at War and Rights and Freedoms.

Years 9 and 10 Geography students study Australia’s Physical Environment and Issues and Australia in its Regional and Global Context.

There are also a number of elective subjects for Years 9 and 10: CommerceCrimes and Catastrophes & Elective History

Course Description:

Commerce assists young people to make sound decisions on consumer, financial, business, legal and employment issues. It develops financial literacy, which enables the participation in the financial world in an informed way and prepares students for living independently, being able to understand the voting system, buying a car and other life skills.

What will students learn about?

  • Law and Society             
  • Employment Issues
  • Personal Finance
  • Travel
  • Running a Business
  • Political Involvement
  • Investing your Money
  • Promoting and Selling a Product

What will students learn to do?

Students will study a number of topics that provide students with necessary life skills. Opportunities to participate in competitions such as the Sharemarket Game and the Money Stuff Challenge also exist for students in this course.


Typical course assessment tasks include reports of visits to businesses and by guest speakers, maintaining records, filling in forms, simulation activities such as the Share Market Game, topic tests and formal semester exams. 

Course Description:

This course focuses on an investigation of a range of crimes and catastrophes throughout ancient and modern times. Students will study and investigate the true story behind some famous criminals and draw conclusions about the available evidence.

What will students learn about?

Examples may include: Jack the Ripper, Dracula, Nero, Ned Kelly, Hitler, Pol Pot, Attila the Hun and the emperor Shi Huang di. Some famous crimes could include the Lindberg Baby Kidnapping and may also include both solved or unsolved crimes. Catastrophes may be natural or man- made: the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the 9/11 disaster and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima are a few suggestions.

What will students learn to do?

Students will learn how to: discern the reliability and credentials of internet based information; effective historical research practices, and craft their historical presentation skills.

Special Features: 

The course is designed to attract students who have an interest in History, allowing them to explore topics broader than the mandatory course allows. In addition to a list of topics, students may also choose to study topics of particular interest to them.


Research assignments and presentations, bookwork, topic quizzes and homework activities.

Course Description:

The Elective History is an interesting and challenging course which covers themes and events in both the Modern and Ancient worlds. It is designed for students who want to develop an interest in and enjoyment of exploring the past. This course provides an opportunity for students to develop a knowledge and understanding of past societies and historical periods that are not studied in the Mandatory Course.

What will students learn about?

Students will explore history through a range of thematic and historical studies such as:

  • Heroes and Villains
  • Museum and Archive Studies
  • Film as History
  • Crime and Punishment
  • War and Peace
  • Slavery
  • World Myths and Legends
  • Terrorism

What will students learn to do?

Students undertaking Elective History will apply an understanding of history, heritage, archaeology and the methods of historical inquiry as well as develop skills in analysis, critical judgement, rational argument and independent learning. The course provides an excellent basis for senior Modern History, Ancient History, Society and Culture and Legal Studies.


Assessment will take the form of a variety of in class and home research as well as source analysis and a variety of other in class topic tests and tasks.

Years 11 & 12

The following courses are offered in Years 11 and 12.

Ancient History,   Business Studies,   Geography,   Legal Studies,   Modern History,   Society and Culture,   Retail Services (VET),    Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways (VET)


Students are offered a variety of excursions, site studies and fieldwork opportunities as part of their studies in the HSIE faculty. Some of these include:

  • Medieval Day
  • Jewish Holocaust Museum
  • Maitland Art Gallery Holocaust Display
  • Stockton Sand Dunes
  • Awabakal Field Study Centre
  • Imax Theatre Sydney
  • Sydney Aquarium
  • Hunter Valley Vineyards
  • Observatory Hill Field Studies Centre
  • Redhead Beach
  • HSC Study Days