Burnside High School Burnside High School

NCEA Level 3 History

Course Description

Teacher in Charge: Mr S. Coster.

Recommended Prior Learning

Success in Year 12 History can enable a student to undertake a course of study in Year 13 History, providing a student has achieved at least 12 credits in Level 2 History (or an equivalent literacy rich subject), or by HOD approval

"The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them … They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind" 

Arthur "Bomber" Harris - commander of the Royal Air Force, Bomber Command during W.W.II (1939 - 45).

Level 3 History offers students the opportunity to explore thought-provoking historic events that have had significant impacts on society. By studying these topics, students will gain a deeper understanding of their own society, their place in the world, and develop important skills that are applicable to tertiary education and various careers.


  • Fact vs. Fake: Students will learn how to differentiate between factual information and misinformation or fake news. They will develop the ability to critically analyze written articles, photographs, cartoons, and websites to assess their reliability and trustworthiness.
  • Communication: The course will focus on formal essay writing, where students will learn to structure and present clear, concise, and analytical essays. These essays will be based on significant events studied during the year and will require students to present logical arguments supported by evidence.
  • Perspectives: Understanding different perspectives, or "point of view," is a crucial skill in History. Students will explore how an individual's or group's position and stance are influenced by factors such as religion, country of origin, education level, or ethnic background.
  • Historiography: Historiography involves studying how history is recorded and how interpretations of events change over time. Students will explore how societal, political, economic, and other factors can influence the recording of history, providing a broader understanding of historical narratives.
  • Analysis: The skill of analysis is essential for decision-making in many careers. Students will learn how to analyze and prioritize information effectively, honing their critical thinking abilities.

The three main topics:

  • Introductory topic: The 'Takapuneke Massacre' (Akaroa, 1830); This topic focuses on a significant event in New Zealand's history, where Te Rauparaha, the ariki of the Ngāti Toa, led an attack that destroyed the Ngāi Tahu settlement of Takapuneke. This incident was part of the wider conflict known as 'The New Zealand Musket Wars.' Students will not only learn about this event but also develop the necessary skills for Level 3 History. An overnight field trip to Akaroa will provide an opportunity for reinforcement of classroom teachings. This topic will involve an overnight field trip to Akaroa occurring in Term 1 on Thursday 29th Feb - Friday 1st March. 
  • A historical controversy: The strategic bombing of German cities during World War Two; Students will explore the highly controversial topic of Allied strategic bombing campaigns against German cities during World War Two. They will analyse the impact of these bombings on the end of the war and the ethical implications of the significant loss of civilian lives. Students will research and create a report that presents arguments for and against the effectiveness and moral justifiability of the bombings. They will also need to state their own opinion based on their findings. 
  • Rwanda Genocide of 1994: This topic delves into the genocide that occurred during the Rwandan Civil War, where over 800,000 predominantly Tutsi Rwandans were killed in a span of 100 days. Students will investigate the causes of the genocide, examine the experiences of the victims, and explore the long-term consequences for those involved. This topic provides a comprehensive understanding of this tragic event.


  • Research a significant historical event (5 credits): Students will choose a significant event between c.1600 CE and c.1990 CE and conduct research, gather evidence, and create an annotated portfolio.
  • Analyse an historical event (5 credits): Students will write a report on the 1830 Takapuneke Massacre, utilising provided sources and their own understanding of the event.
  • Analyse different perspectives of a contested event; WWII Allied strategic bombing against German cities (5 credits): Students will research and write a report that analyses the arguments for and against the strategic bombing campaigns during World War Two.
  • Analyse the causes or consequences of a significant historical event (6 credits): This external assessment will require students to write an extended analytical and factual essay on the causes or consequences of a significant historical event. This will be practiced in class, in the September School Practice Examination, and finally in the NZQA November external examination.

The course will incorporate online learning components, and students are encouraged to bring their own devices (netbooks or laptops etc.) to access resources and participate in activities through the class Schoology page.

Learning Areas:

Social Science

Contributions and Equipment/Stationery

Stationery: A lever arch folder, subject dividers and A4 lined paper. A document cardboard wallet foolscap for the research assessment.

Digital learning device: This course will have an online learning component that would suit Bring Your Own Device - with students bringing a netbook or laptop to class to access resources and activities through the class Schoology page. Bringing a device is not compulsory but encouraged.

Field trip: As part of the 'Takapuneke Massacre' topic in 2024 there will be an overnight field trip to Akaroa in Term 1 on Thurs 29th Feb - Fri 1st March. This will cost approximately $140 per student.