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NSW Syllabuses


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Aboriginal Peoples are the first peoples of Australia and are represented by over 250 language groups each associated with a particular Country or territory. Torres Strait Islander Peoples whose island territories to the north east of Australia were annexed by Queensland in 1879 are also Indigenous Australians and are represented by five cultural groups.

An Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is someone who:

  • is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • identifies as an Aboriginal person and/or Torres Strait Islander person, and
  • is accepted as such by the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community in which they live.
A judgement based on evidence.
controlled variable
A variable that is kept constant (or changed in constant ways) during an investigation.

An area that is traditionally owned and looked after by an Aboriginal language group or community or certain people within that group. The term may indicate more than simply a geographical area – it is also a concept that can encompass the spiritual meanings and feelings of attachment associated with that area.

dependent variable
A variable that changes in response to changes to the independent variable in an investigation.
digital technologies
Systems that handle digital data, including hardware and software, for specific purposes.

All surroundings, both living and non-living.

A tentative explanation for an observed phenomenon, expressed as a precise and unambiguous statement that can be supported or refuted by investigation.
independent variable
A variable that is changed in an investigation to see what effect it has on the dependent variable.
Indigenous cultural and intellectual property

Includes objects, sites, cultural knowledge, cultural expression and the arts, that have been transmitted or continue to be transmitted through generations as belonging to a particular Indigenous group or Indigenous people as a whole or their territory.


A scientific process of answering a question, exploring an idea or solving a problem which requires activities such as planning a course of action, collecting data, interpreting data, reaching a conclusion and communicating these activities. Investigations can include practical or secondary-sourced data or information.

A statement describing invariable relationships between phenomena in specified conditions, frequently expressed mathematically.
A representation that describes, simplifies, clarifies or provides an explanation of the workings, structure or relationships within an object, system or idea.

A psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) where the human mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists.


A space mapped out by physical or intangible boundaries that individuals or groups of Torres Strait Islander Peoples occupy and regard as their own. Places are spaces that have varying degrees of spirituality.

practical investigation

An investigation that involves systematic scientific inquiry by planning a course of action and using equipment to collect data and/or information. Practical investigations include a range of hands-on activities, and can include laboratory investigations and fieldwork.

primary sources/primary data

Information created by a person or persons directly involved in a study or observing an event.


An extent to which repeated observations and/or measurements taken under identical circumstances will yield similar results.

risk assessment

The determination of quantitative or qualitative estimate of risk related to a well-defined situation and a recognised threat (also called hazard).

secondary-sourced investigation

An investigation that involves systematic scientific inquiry by planning a course of action and sourcing data and/or information from other people, including written information, reports, graphs, tables, diagrams and images.


All types of human-made systems, tools, machines and processes that can help solve human problems or satisfy needs or wants, including modern computational and communication devices.

A set of concepts, claims and/or laws that can be used to explain and predict a wide range of related observed or observable phenomena. Theories are typically founded on clearly identifiable assumptions, are testable, produce reproducible results and have explanatory power.

An extent to which tests measure what was intended, and to which data, inferences and actions produced from tests and other processes are accurate.


In an investigation, a factor that can be changed, maintained or measured – eg time, distance, light, temperature.