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NSW Syllabuses

Science K–10 (inc. Science and Technology K–6) - Stage 5 Earth and Space


A student:

  • SC5-12ES

    describes changing ideas about the structure of the Earth and the universe to illustrate how models, theories and laws are refined over time by the scientific community

  • SC5-13ES

    explains how scientific knowledge about global patterns of geological activity and interactions involving global systems can be used to inform decisions related to contemporary issues

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


  • ES1 Scientific understanding, including models and theories, are contestable and are refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community. (ACSHE157, ACSHE191)
  • Students:
  • a. outline some of the major features contained in the universe, including galaxies, stars, solar systems and nebulae (ACSSU188)
  • b. describe, using examples, some technological developments that have advanced scientific understanding about the universe CCTL
  • c. use appropriate scales to describe differences in sizes of and distances between structures making up the universe N
  • d. identify that all objects exert a force of gravity on all other objects in the universe
  • e. use scientific evidence to outline how the Big Bang theory can be used to explain the origin of the universe and its age (ACSSU188) CCTL
  • f. outline how scientific thinking about the origin of the universe is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community CCT
  • ES2 The theory of plate tectonics explains global patterns of geological activity and continental movement. (ACSSU180)
  • Students:
  • a. outline how the theory of plate tectonics changed ideas about the structure of the Earth and continental movement over geological time
  • b. relate movements of the Earth's plates to mantle convection currents and gravitational forces
  • c. outline how the theory of plate tectonics explains earthquakes, volcanic activity and formation of new landforms A
  • d. describe how some technological developments have increased scientific understanding of global patterns in geological activity, including in the Asia-Pacific region ACCT
  • ES3 People use scientific knowledge to evaluate claims, explanations or predictions in relation to interactions involving the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. (ACSHE160, ACSHE194)
  • Students:
  • a. outline how global systems rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, including the carbon cycle (ACSSU189)
  • b. describe some impacts of natural events, including cyclones, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes, on the Earth's spheres CCTL
  • c. evaluate scientific evidence of some current issues affecting society that are the result of human activity on global systems, eg the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, effect of climate change on sea levels, long-term effects of waste management and loss of biodiversity CCTEUPSCSE
  • d. discuss the reasons different groups in society may use or weight criteria differently to evaluate claims, explanations or predictions in making decisions about contemporary issues involving interactions of the Earth's spheres CCTEUPSC
  • 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 5.
  • Students:
  • relate colours of stars to their age, size and distance from the Earth
  • describe evidence used to support estimates of time in the universe DD
  • describe some recent contributions made by Australian scientists in the exploration and study of the universe DD
  • discuss technological developments that have extended the ability of scientists to collect information about, and monitor events in, the natural world CCT
  • research evidence relating global warming to changes in weather patterns, including El Niño and La Niña CCTSE
  • examine the factors that drive deep ocean currents, their role in regulating climate and their effects on marine life
  • research how computer modelling has improved knowledge and predictability of phenomena, eg atmospheric pollution, ocean salinity and climate change ICT
  • discuss the development and implications of international agreements relating to biodiversity and climate change, eg the original 1987 Montreal Protocol, 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference EUSE
  • outline examples where advances in science and emerging science and technologies significantly affect people's lives, including generating new career opportunities in areas such as astrophysics, geophysics, space science and vulcanology WE