Humanities and Social Sciences

Developing Future Ready Students with an Inclusive and Inspiring Positive Approach

Years 7 to 10

The Humanities and Social Sciences are the study of human behaviour and interaction in social, cultural, environmental, economic and political contexts. The Humanities and Social Sciences have a historical and contemporary focus, from personal to global contexts, and consider challenges for the future.

In the Australian Curriculum, the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area comprises four subjects: History, Geography, Economics and Business, Civics and Citizenship.

Through studying Humanities and Social Sciences, students will develop the ability to question, think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, make decisions and adapt to change. Thinking about and responding to issues requires an understanding of the key historical, geographical, political, economic and societal factors involved, and how these different factors interrelate.

The Humanities and Social Sciences subjects provide a broad understanding of the world in which we live, and how people can participate as active and informed citizens with high-level skills needed for the 21st century.

The subjects taught in Humanities and Social Science classes include:

  • History
  • Geography
  • Economics and Business
  • Civics and Citizenship

The electives taught by Humanities and Social Sciences include:

Year 9     

  • Financial Management

Year 10  

  • Accounting
  • International Tourism
  • Law and Commerce
  • Law – Criminal Investigation
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology in Action

Key Ideas

Through their learning in each subject, students develop knowledge and understanding relating to broader enduring ideas that underpin the Humanities and Social Sciences in the Australian Curriculum, which are represented in varying ways across the subjects. The key ideas are outlined below:

Who we are, who came before us, and traditions and values that have shaped societies

Students explore their own identity, Australia’s heritage and cultural diversity, and Australia’s identity as a nation in the world. They examine the significance of traditions and shared values within society.

How societies and economies operate and how they are changing over time

Students learn about Australian society and other societies in the world, both past and present; and how they function socially, culturally, economically, and politically. Students examine developments that are bringing about change.

The ways people, places, ideas and events are perceived and connected

Students are provided with opportunities to explore different perceptions of people, places, ideas and events. They develop an understanding of the interdependent nature of the world and the interrelationships within and between the natural environment, human communities, and economies. They explore how people, ideas and events are connected over time and increasingly interconnected across local, national, regional and global contexts.

How people exercise their responsibilities, participate in society and make informed decisions

Students examine how individuals and groups have participated in and contributed to society past and present. They examine the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups over time and in different contexts. They develop an understanding of the need to make decisions, the importance of ethical considerations and being informed when making decisions, the processes for decision-making and the implications of decisions that are made for individuals, society, the economy and the environment.

Key Skills

The Humanities and Social Science subjects include a range of skills that can be represented broadly as questioning, researching, analysing, evaluating and communicating. Students apply these skills to investigate events, developments, issues, and phenomena, both historical and contemporary.

Each subject has a different way of working. Skills and strategies for each Humanities and Social Science subject need to be taught explicitly. The type of questions asked, the information, evidence, and/or data gathered, and the analysis applied will vary by subject.


Students develop questions about events, developments, issues and/or phenomena.


Students collect and organise information, evidence and/or data from primary and secondary sources.


Students interpret and analyse information, evidence and data to identify key points, points of view, perceptions and interpretations. They identify the purpose and intent of sources and determine their accuracy and reliability.


Students draw evidence-based conclusions; propose explanations for events, developments, issues and/or phenomena; and suggest courses of action in response to an issue or problem.


Students present findings in appropriate forms for different audiences and purposes using subject-specific terminology.


Years 11 and 12

The knowledge, skills and values acquired during the Lower School Program will equip students to successfully complete one or more of the Upper School Courses of Study:

  • Modern History
  • Geography
  • Economics
  • Politics and Law
  • Accounting

Value Adding Experiences

The Humanities and Social Sciences program also offers students a variety of exciting and interesting events in which they can participate. Humanities and Social Sciences students have the opportunity to participate and engage in a variety of activities and competitions which enriches their learning experience.

  • Premiers ANZAC Tour: Students prepare a five minute oral presentation on an ANZAC related topic to a panel of Rossmoyne Senior High School Humanities and Social Sciences teachers. One student from each age category has the possibility of being selected for a trip of a lifetime to a World War I or World War II location with other state winners.
  • Australian Geography Competition: Students complete a multiple choice test which can lead all the way to an interstate or international competition. All entrants will receive a certificate informing them of the level they have achieved.
  • The UNSW Economics Competition is a nation-wide competition that provides a great opportunity for students to test their Economics skills against other students from all across Australia.  All participants receive a certificate and high scoring students have an opportunity to win monetary prizes.
  • National History Challenge: The National History Challenge is an exciting contest that encourages students to research about the past. Students are the historians, they can investigate their community, explore their own and their family’s past, explore major event. Each year the challenge is based around a different theme. The challenge encourages inquiry based learning, the use of primary and secondary sources and offers a variety of presentation styles that can cater to individual learning preferences.
  • The Mock Trials are simulated court cases in which teams contest a fictitious WA legal matter presented in the West Australian court system. The cases are presented by two teams – a prosecution/plaintiff team and a defence team – made up of students playing the roles of barristers, solicitors, witnesses and court officials.
  • ASX School Share Market Game: Students participate in an online virtual share market game. Students develop a range of skills including decision making in an ever changing environment.
  • Cultural Activity Day: Students will be given the opportunity to experience the different arts and traditions of a diverse cultures from Tai Chi to calligraphy, mah-jong to origami and many more.
  • Simpson Prize: This is a great opportunity for Year 9 and 10 students to participate in a nationwide essay competition giving them the chance to win an unforgettable two week trip to Turkey as well as a preparatory trip to Canberra.
  • Rossmoyne Senior High School Environmental Enhancement Project: The Humanities and Social Sciences Department has a commitment to providing students with the opportunity to demonstrate ecological sustainability in our school and local environment through revegetation during significant days such as Arbor Day.
  • The Public Speaking Program is run by HASS staff and Toastmasters International which gives students the opportunity to learn and acquire public speech presentation.
  • Sir Charles Court Young Leaders Program is an intensive four-day leadership camp at which students demonstrating academic ability, leadership potential and community involvement.
  • UNYA is a United Nations Youth Australia designed to educate, inspire and involve young people with issues facing the globe and guide the students in developing high level diplomatic and negotiating skills.
  • Big Classroom is a quality competition testing skills and understandings using a wide range of historical sources and questions. Students who gain top results receive a special medallion and national winners are recognised with an additional award.