Burnside High School Burnside High School

NCEA Level 2 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 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.

Geography is future-focused. The discipline is not static, geography is about change. As the study of the earth's landscapes, people, places, and environments; geography is unique in bridging the social sciences (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography). By understanding the relationship between people and their environment, geographers find real-world solutions to tough problems. 

Opportunities to apply your learning in authentic contexts outside the classroom through field work and other experiences also exist and can deepen your skills set for further academic learning and future careers. Employers value the ability of Geography graduates to apply their practical skills and process a wide range of information. Gain transferable skills for the future, including analytical report writing, decision-making, problem-solving, teamwork, critical evaluation and digital literacy skills.

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

Topics include:

Going Global - apply a range of geographic skills and concepts in both local and global settings. Contexts include the geography of food; famine, food security, food miles, globesity, future food (bugs for dinner anyone?) This introductory topic provides a good foundation in geography literacy, thinking and analysis.

Landscapes Unlocked - experience a three-day field trip to the Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki Mt.Cook. Learn about the formation of this dynamic and special environment and how we can ensure it has a sustainable future. Students will learn about the physical geography and the unique interacting natural processes that have produced this landscape. Consider tectonic processes, climatic processes, glacial processes, fluvial processes and vegetation processes. Understand the natural processes of erosion, transport and deposition. The human geography discovers how people have interacted with this environment over time eg; Early Māori, settlers, tourism, farming, recreation, conservation, hydro power.

A Killer Amongst Us - find out about the geography of health and disease by studying the global patterns and impacts of Malaria. Do differences in development make an impact? How does geographic research help to inform public health systems and policies? Understand the social, economic and environmental impacts of Malaria.

Gender Geography - investigate gender patterns and use of space at Burnside High School. Do the traditional gender stereotypes of boys being more active and girls being more passive exist on our school campus? Learn and apply all of the steps in the research process; including designing an aim, deciding on data collection methods, collecting data in groups, presenting and analysing data, conclusion writing and evaluating the research process.

Poisoning Paradise - learn about the controversial 1080 pest control issue in a New Zealand context. Understand different stakeholders perspectives on the use of 1080 to control pests such as stoats, rats and possums. We will work with Department of Conservation DOC representatives on the three day field trip to Aoraki Mt Cook. Compare 1080 usage with alternative courses of action and justify which is the best option. 

Geography at the Movies - study film from a geographical perspective. 

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

Learning Areas:

Social Science


NCEA Level 3 Geography

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

Stationery plus costs involved in field work. There will be an optional three day practical field study to Aoraki Mt Cook in 2024 (approximate cost will be $350). 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.