NCEA Level 1 Geography

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Ms D. Lee

Recommended Prior Learning

NIL - A strong interest in learning about people and the environment; identifying issues and being solution focused is desirable.

"The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together".                                     Barack Obama

"What is where, why there, and why care?"

The statement above incorporates all essential elements recognised as being fundamental to geography. 

Geography is the science of place and space, and studying this future-focused subject helps us to understand the connections between people and the environment.  In a geographic context, "space" is defined as a portion of Earth's surface. Location, place, area, region, territory, distribution, and pattern are all closely related spatial concepts. 

The discipline is not static, geography is about change. This course will enable you to take an informed and analytical view of our changing world, and of your place in it. To appreciate the relevance of geography; watch the news and realise that nearly every issue is related to geography in some way. This puts geography at the core of many important current debates. For example, a geographic perspective allows us to adopt a holistic approach towards the issue of climate change; one considers the physical factors causing the problem and the cultural factors regarding the human response. 

The cross-disciplinary nature of geography is unique and provides students not only with a wide range of career options but it also develops a range of highly transferable skills such as inquiry, collaboration, problem-solving, decision-making, critical evaluation, and digital literacy. Opportunities to apply your learning in authentic contexts outside the classroom through field work and other experiences also exist and will deepen your skills set and employability.

The essence of this subject is all about a sustainable future, and therefore, much of the course is underpinned by the United Nations sustainable development goals.

Topics in Year 11 include the following:

IN2 Geography - understand geographic concepts and make connections with real-world examples such as the globalisation of fashion, sustainable cities, global warming issues and fresh water quality. Discover the geology of the Port Hills and dynamic changing landscapes in our local area. Experience a day trip in the field to the Port Hills, Lyttelton and Corsair Bay/Sumner.

Mac Attack - inquiry driven; practical application of field work based skills and ideas - this includes conducting geographic research in our local community. Students will be developing practical skills in the research process by comparing the feasibility of two potential sites for a proposed new Mcdonalds restaurant.  Learn about the spatial patterns of land-use, retail property development and supporting infrastructure. Apply GIS Geographic Information Systems (computer mapping) to present spatial patterns, analyse key findings of the research, write conclusions, evaluate the research process and develop collaborative skills. 

Shake it up - Compare the Kaikoura 2016/ Christchurch 2011/ Darfield 2010 earthquakes to overseas extreme natural events. Students will learn about the interacting natural processes that cause earthquakes. For example tectonic processes and plate movement, earthquake processes such as faulting and seismic activity. This will be followed by examples of impacts on the physical environment such as rockfalls, liquefaction and off-set streams. Then the focus will be on the impacts on the cultural environment; housing damage, injury and loss of life, infrastructure damage and so on. Students will then consider case study specific responses, rehabilitation and resilience. There will be a day trip to Quake City and a walking tour around the Christchurch CBD to analyse post quake change.

Zoom Zoom - delve into the current geographic issue of the boy racer problem in Christchurch. Consider the differing values, viewpoints and perspectives on the issue including the police, boy racers, local residents and local government.  Investigate the key social, economic and environmental impacts;  along with short-term, long-term, positive and negative effects. Students will be required to come up with solutions and justify the best option moving forward.

Silver Tsunami - make global connections; study the world’s ageing population issues. Explore innovative ideas used in places such as Finland and Japan - remote care revolution, virtual visits and rent-a-family. Apply future-thinking and problem-solving to New Zealand's ageing population issue. Be able to recognise different perspectives. Visit a local cemetery to research  age of death statistics and how this has changed over time.

ICT Geography - use subject specific geospatial applications such as GIS (Geographic Information Systems), GPS technology, Google Earth Pro, Drone UAV technology, Google My Maps, Satellite images and a range of data recording techniques in fieldwork.

Geography at the movies - apply geographic perspectives to films.


Learning Areas:



NCEA Level 2 Geography

Career Pathways

Market Research Analyst, Navy Officer, Policy Analyst, Recreation Co-ordinator, Project Manager, Surveyor, Travel Agent/Adviser, Geospatial Specialist, Urban/Regional Planner, Data Analyst, Emergency Management Officer, Civil Engineer, Meteorologist, Mine/Quarry Manager, Journalist, Customs Officer, Foreign Policy Officer, Aeroplane Pilot, Agricultural/Horticultural Scientist, Air Force Officer, Geologist, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Engineer, Environmental/Public Health Officer, Army Officer, Ranger, Forestry Scientist, Landscape Architect, Health and Safety Inspector

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

In addition to stationery, there will be a charge for travel expenses for practical field studies of approximately $65. In 2022 there will be field trips to the Port Hills/Sumner, ChCh CBD tour and Quake City, and Waimairi Cemetery. Students also require a write-on skills text at a cost of approximately $25.

This course will have an online learning component that would suit Bring Your Own Device - students bringing a netbook or laptop to class.

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Burnside High School may change any costs, courses or standards offered without notice.