Burnside High School Burnside High School

NCEA Level 3 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 a future-focused subject. 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 linking the social sciences (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography). 

Geography will equip students with transferable skills such as report writing, critical evaluation, decision-making, problem-solving, and wide-ranging analytical skills, including statistical and geospatial analysis. Opportunities to widen your learning in authentic contexts through field work and other experiences also exist and can deepen your skills set. The cross-disciplinary nature of Geography leads to a range of exciting opportunities at University level and beyond. The interchangeable skills attained in Geography are well respected by employers from many sectors in today's workforce. For example, graduates emerging with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) experience are highly sought after.


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:

Back to the future - explore Geography in the real world - make Geography career connections. Apply a range of geographic skills and concepts in the local area. This introductory topic will set solid foundations for the year in geography literacy, thinking and analysis. This is very helpful for students who have not studied geography before.

Taken - study modern day human trafficking and the associated issues. A guest speaker who has worked with trafficked victims will visit the class and discuss the impacts on people and will provide examples of recovery and rehabilitation. You will learn about parts of the world that have a higher incidence of trafficked victims and where they end up and why. Find out who is most vulnerable and reasons for this. Students will then consider ways in which this complex issue can be dealt with. Develop skills in justifying the best solutions.

Drastic Plastic - an environmental study on the global patterns of plastic pollution in the ocean. Enhance your ability to synthesize differing perspectives, spatial patterns and types of information. You will discover the natural and cultural factors that cause the pollution problem and where the biggest concentration of ocean pollution is located and why. The classic economic versus environmental impacts and perspectives will be assessed against each other. A multi-faceted range of solutions will be considered in working towards mitigating this complex problem.

Wanderlust - understand the interacting natural processes that have formed physical features such as mountains, lakes, rivers, and beaches in tourism hotspots. Gain insight on the cultural process of tourism development in New Zealand and overseas settings.  

100% Pure  - Conduct a tourism sustainability inquiry; experience a five-day field trip to Queenstown. Apply practical methods to collect field data, practice design and research methodology. Develop teamwork and independent thinking. Investigate related geographic issues such as the impacts of Covid-19, sustainable transport, freedom camping, carbon footprints, increased housing costs, worker shortages, crime and regenerative tourism. 

ICT Geography - use subject specific geo-spatial applications such as GIS (Geographic Information Systems), GPS technology, Google Earth Pro, drone UAV technology, Google My Maps, Satellite images and data recording in fieldwork.

Learning Areas:

Social Science

Career Pathways

Aeroplane Pilot, Urban/Regional Planner, Emergency Management Officer, Civil Engineer, Meteorologist, Journalist, Event Manager, Customs Officer, Foreign Policy Officer, Geologist, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Engineer, Environmental/Public Health Officer, Ranger, Forest Manager, Landscape Architect, Market Research Analyst, Policy Analyst, Recreation Co-ordinator, Project Manager, Geospatial Specialist

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

In addition to stationery, in 2024 there will be a five-day practical field study to Queenstown; a cost of approximately $470.

Students also require a write-on skills text at a cost of approximately $25.

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