What’s Been Happening in Geography?

The HASS department has been incredibly busy this term, providing various interesting and interactive learning opportunities in Geography. Check out what they have been up to.

Year 9

Geography… we’d be lost without it!
Geography, come see it!
Geography, mountains of knowledge!

These are just some of the creative slogans developed by Year 9 students as they embarked on their term of Geography study. The focus in Term 3 has been biomes with a case study on food insecurity. Many students are surprised to learn that Geography is about much more than maps and a lot about people.

“I have enjoyed studying Geography this term because it has helped me further understand the world we live in. The most interesting thing I have learned is about food security and insecurity. It has inspired me to want to learn more and help those facing food insecurity and malnutrition. It has also made me incredibly grateful for the fresh, nutritious and reliable food I have access to.”Adria Damjanovic

Year 8

This term in Year 8 HASS, we focused on earthquakes and tsunamis. We learnt about how they occur and what happens when they hit. We also learned how to identify the signs of when a tsunami is about to hit and how scientists measure the magnitude of an earthquake. We learned about the social, environmental, and economic impacts of the 2010 Haiti Earthquake and the 2011 Japanese tsunami. Thura Van Essen & Lucy Smythe

Learning about this unit of work has given me greater insight into geoscience and has inspired me to consider this field of work in my later years of study. Takira Bassett  

Year 10 coastal field trip


Geography is hands-on. Students conduct fieldwork, often getting to direct their own learning. Participating in fieldwork encourages self-management, cooperation and teamwork and enhances their learning of the course work by providing real-world connections. This is what our students have had to say about their recent field trips.

Year 10

The Year 10 Geography Class recently had a field trip that took us to Port, Cottesloe, Scarborough and Hillary’s Beaches. On arrival at Hillary’s, we climbed up Whitford Nodes ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ and drew a line sketch of the natural and cultural features of Hillary’s. We observed the human activities present, their required modifications to the coastline and the negative and positive impacts they might have on the sustainability of the coastal zone. We then went to Scarborough, to study the coastal management of high-density tourism. As we walked through Scarborough, we recognised residential dwellings, increased densities in key precincts, retail and commercial space incorporated as part of mixed-use developments and many more examples of economic strategies. We were lucky to watch a surfing competition going on. Cottesloe was the highlight of our day. We stopped for lunch and got ice cream from the Gelato Bar. We focused on coastal management issues at Cottesloe, such as redevelopment and stakeholders. We viewed many development applications and management plans. We finished at Port Beach to view coastal management practices in response to rising sea levels. We identified examples of hard and soft engineering in Port Beach. The Geography field trip was an amazing experience for us to consolidate our learning about coastal management and deepen our knowledge of the processes around us. Maame Atta-Danso

Year 11

Our visit to the Upper Reach vineyard gave us a stronger understanding of key ideas about the vineyard, grape varieties and how they relate to terroir. We were also able to see how the business works, including the pruning of vines, the machinery used in the winery and the business side with part-owner Laura Pearse. One standout was seeing the “Old World” connections, such as the oak barrels from French forests and the bottling machine from Italy. We learnt about the role of the Australian government in researching how screw tops could replace cork and how the local government has introduced legislation to allow for issues associated with the encroaching urban areas. By using 40-year-old topographic maps as we walked along a road, we were able to map changes that have taken place and consider why these might have occurred. It was amazing that our understanding of what wine writer Jancis Robinson calls “geography in a bottle” could grow so much in just one day!

Year 12 field trip

Year 12

I gained a perspective on the CBD and surrounding areas that I didn’t have before. When we walked through Northbridge and the City Link development and on through the city, there was such an increase in landscape height. Walking above the train line that used to divide these spaces also helped me to understand how this area was developing so rapidly. Emma Dale-Squires

Working in the field helped me understand key terms and ideas in the syllabus. Seeing urban features and processes like invasion and succession in East and West Perth, activity centres at Canning Bridge and South Perth, newer suburbs like Treeby or redevelopment in Shenton Park embeds them in my memory, rather than having to learn them from a page without having a clear idea of what they are in reality. Samantha Bozanich

Gemma Smart, National Geography Competition

Geography Competition

Geography students from Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 recently participated in the National Geography Competition. The competition allows students to test their geographical skills and knowledge against around 20,000 students across the country. Santa Maria students participated on a voluntary basis and were enthusiastic, attending several practice sessions with staff in preparation. The hard work paid off with some fantastic results. In particular, Year 9 student Gemma Smart, received a High Distinction. Her results placed her in the top 2.3% of students in Year 9 across the country. Congratulations, Gemma!

Geography Staff

Our HASS Department is dedicated to bringing geography to life for our students. Later this term, the entire HASS department will attend the Geography Association of WA’s ‘Geonite’ where we will learn about bushfire management, climate change and the gentrification of urban areas. It will also be a fabulous opportunity to network with Geography teachers from other schools as well as tour the facilities and learn about the course offerings at Curtin University.

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