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NSW Syllabuses

Science K–10 - Stage 4 Earth and Space


A student:

  • SC4-12ES

    describes the dynamic nature of models, theories and laws in developing scientific understanding of the Earth and solar system

  • SC4-13ES

    explains how advances in scientific understanding of processes that occur within and on the Earth, influence the choices people make about resource use and management

Related Life Skills outcomes: SCLS-13ES, SCLS-14ES, SCLS-15ES, SCLS-16ES


  • ES1 Sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks contain minerals and are formed by processes that occur within Earth over a variety of timescales. (ACSSU153)
  • Students:
  • a. describe the structure of the Earth in terms of core, mantle, crust and lithosphere
  • b. relate the formation of a range of landforms to physical and chemical weathering, erosion and deposition
  • c. outline the origins of and relationships between sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks
  • d. identify that sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks contain minerals
  • e. classify a variety of common rocks and minerals into groups according to their observable properties L
  • f. describe the conditions under which fossils form
  • g. outline how geological history can be interpreted in a sequence of horizontal sedimentary layers, in which the oldest are at the base and the youngest at the top CCT
  • h. describe examples to show how people use understanding and skills from across the disciplines of science in occupations related to the exploration, mining or processing of minerals in Australia (ACSHE224, ACSHE227) WECC
  • ES2 Scientific knowledge changes as new evidence becomes available. Some technological developments and scientific discoveries have significantly changed people's understanding of the solar system.
  • Students:
  • a. explain that predictable phenomena on the Earth, including day and night, seasons and eclipses are caused by the relative positions of the sun, the Earth and the moon (ACSSU115)
  • b. demonstrate, using examples, how ideas by people from different cultures have contributed to the current understanding of the solar system IUDD
  • c. compare historical and current models of the solar system to show how models are modified or rejected as a result of new scientific evidence CCT
  • d. describe some examples of how technological advances have led to discoveries and increased scientific understanding of the solar system ICT
  • ES3 Scientific knowledge influences the choices people make in regard to the use and management of the Earth's resources.
  • Students:
  • a. classify a range of the Earth's resources as renewable or non-renewable (ACSSU116) SE
  • b. outline features of some non-renewable resources, including metal ores and fossil fuels
  • c. describe uses of a variety of natural and made resources extracted from the biosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere and hydrosphere
  • d. investigate some strategies used by people to conserve and manage non-renewable resources, eg recycling and the alternative use of natural and made resources SE
  • e. discuss different viewpoints people may use to weight criteria in making decisions about the use of a major non-renewable resource found in Australia PSCDD
  • f. outline the choices that need to be made when considering whether to use scientific and technological advances to obtain a resource from Earth's spheres EUSEPSC
  • ES4 Science understanding influences the development of practices in areas of human activity such as industry, agriculture and marine and terrestrial resource management. (ACSHE121, ACSHE136)
  • Students:
  • a. identify that water is an important resource that cycles through the environment (ACSSU222)
  • b. explain the water cycle in terms of the physical processes involved
  • c. demonstrate how scientific knowledge of the water cycle has influenced the development of household, industrial and agricultural water management practices CCTSE
  • d. research how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' knowledge is being used in decisions to care for country and place, eg terrestrial and aquatic resource management AHCSEIU
  • Additional content

    Additional content is not prerequisite knowledge for following stages, but may be used to broaden and deepen students' skills, knowledge and understanding in Stage 4.
  • Students:
  • investigate examples of how scientific knowledge has developed through collaboration of experts from across the disciplines of Science, eg space exploration and resource management CCTL
  • describe the effect of the forces of the sun and moon on the hydrosphere
  • investigate the role of forces and energy in the formation of different types of rocks and minerals
  • describe some methods used by scientists to determine the relative age of rock layers
  • debate the economic and environmental impacts of mining and resource exploration CCTPSCSE
  • describe ways in which technology has increased the variety of made resources L