Human Society and its Environment (HSIE)  delivers 14 courses across the curriculum in Years 7 to 12.

The Sylvania High School HSIE Staff are committed to implementing engaging Quality Teaching and Learning experiences for students. The faculty promotes independent and life long learning to take students’ skills of leadership and inventiveness to outstanding levels of achievement in an intellectually stimulating, engaging and supportive environment. The HSIE faculty encourages student centred learning to develop agency, critical and creative thinkers, and active informed citizens of the future in a stimulating, supportive and caring environment.


The Stage 4 course is designed to develop students’ understanding of the world and its environment. Students explore the range of physical and human elements to Geography and how humans and environments interact. Students investigate the functioning of these environments and consider global issues and threats to these natural features and how to sustainably manage our environments.


The Stage 4 History course focuses on the history of Indigenous peoples both in Australia and in North and South America. Students also study an Ancient Society exploring the events and personalities within this unique civilisation. The course continues with a study of the medieval period where students undertake a project to create and present a Medieval Model which is increasingly creative and demonstrates students’ vast communication skills.  


The aim of Geography is to stimulate students’ engagement and interest in the interaction of the physical and human environment. Students achieve this as they develop geographic skills and knowledge of global environments, appreciation of the inherent value of environments and knowledge of civics that enable them to exercise citizenship and implement ecologically sustainable practices in the future.


In Stage 5 the historical attention is placed on Australia. In particular, the course examines the history of the Twentieth Century as it impacted on the lives of Australians. The students have an opportunity to investigate significant individuals, events or political developments from the past. The social and cultural history of the country is considered in the light of war and peacetime.

History, Mystery & Forensics

History Mystery & Forensics gives students the opportunity to become the Crime Scene Investigator, the Detective, the active Australian citizen and the Forensic Archaeologist. Students investigate topics such as: Who was Jack the Ripper? Australian Mysteries such as The disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain, The Grahame Thorne kidnapping, Shipwrecks and Maritime Archaeology.


Commerce is a practical, academic, highly challenging subject. The study of Commerce allows students to be better prepared for the study of Economics, Legal Studies and Business Studies in the senior years of schooling. These subjects help students develop employability skills and to understand real life issues concerning running a business, financial management, their roles and responsibilities within the law and contemporary economic and employment issues.  

International Studies

International Studies is a new stage 5 elective in the HSIE faculty at Sylvania High School. It provides students with an opportunity to explore and recognise their own cultures and appreciate the richness of multicultural Australia and the world. Throughout the year we plan on participating in a range of activities including international sports and international cooking as well as visiting some of the cultural hubs around Sydney. International Studies is a great introductory subject for a range of senior HSIE subjects, particularly Society and Culture. It also develops a range of skills including communication, research, detecting bias, teamwork, event planning as well as the ability to challenge stereotypes, and empathise with others.  It enables students to understand and value inclusion to respect the rights of others in a fun and engaging learning environment.

Work Education

Students learn about the world of work and the changing nature of the workplace. They explore both paid and unpaid work and the range of education, employment and training opportunities available to them in the future. Students identify their interests, abilities and values to help work out future goals as they develop their individual career path.

Eco Rangers

Eco Rangers is a unique and dynamic subject practically engaging students in  an appreciation of  environmental sustainability, biodiversity  and global issues through student led  project based learning activities including : hydroponics, weather monitoring,  native stingless  bee keeping, bush tucker gardening  and  pet therapy animal care. Students participate in a range of Green Calendar Events such as World Environment Day, Speak for the Planet and UNICEF’s World Children’s Day,  assisting  students to develop leadership and  21st century skills such as  critical thinking. Students also engage in  field trips,  guest speakers and  an opportunity to travel to  Central Australia.

Ancient History

A good knowledge of World History provides a crucial understanding of the central issues that dominate modern life because they have roots in the past, and even the Ancient past.  Ancient History is a key starting point in understanding the journey and development of mankind, from these early times into the Middle Ages and onto Modern Times. Ancient civilisations like Egypt, Greece, Persia and Rome, among others, are foundation stones and a major part of the study of Ancient History. This subject encourages students to examine a variety of archaeological and written evidence and formulate opinions based on their investigations. Students have the opportunity to inquire into Ancient Societies, Events, Groups and Personalities drawn from a wide range of case studies, civilisations and time periods.

Business Studies

Through the study of Business Studies students will learn about the different areas that together form today’s business world and be able to more effectively and responsibly participate in the decision making processes of running a business. They will develop skills, which will enhance their understanding of the dynamic nature of business and the global world within which it operates. 


Economics allows students to understand and appreciate the structures, institutions and processes of economic systems. They will develop an appreciation of the alternative approaches to decision-making processes and develop a continuing interest in contemporary economic problems and aspects of their social and political environment.


Geography allows students to develop a contemporary knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and values in relation to the biophysical and human environment of our planet , developing a sense of agency and confidence that through sustainability measures future generations will find solutions to current global issues .  Students will further develop an understanding of the range of occupations related to Geographical enquiry.

Legal Studies

Through the study of Legal Studies, students will be able to interpret and evaluate legal issues in an informed and rational manner. They will further be able to communicate effectively about the law and their understanding of its impact on individuals and society.

Modern History

Within the study of Modern History students will be able to understand the process of change over time and sharpen their ability to think and argue logically. The course is designed to help students to better understand some of the forces and influences that have shaped the modern world.

Society and Culture

Through the study of Society and Culture students will acquire skills in social research and skills in interpreting the society and culture of contemporary Australia and the society and culture of other countries. They will develop an awareness of the continuity and change in the world and have an understanding of personal and social futures.

Eco-Rangers  (Service Learning Projects)

  • Pay It Forward Project- Good Citizenship
  • Environmental Team Vince
  • Hydroponics
  • Weather monitoring
  • Therapy animal care
  • Native Bee care
  • Speak for the Planet 
  • Unicef World Children’s Day
  • Sutherland Council Bushcare collaboration
  • Green Calendar Events-  Clean Up Australia Day, Schools Tree Day
  • Recycling 
  • Visit to Central Australia


Work Education Initiatives

  • Learning Generation Project
  • Eggogram Project
  • Work Experience
  • Barista Course
  • Careers Expo
  • Mock Interviews
  • Pathway Planning
  • Be Real Game    

Stage 5 History Project – Sylvania High School

 Australian History Day

To engage students in Australian History, Year 10 creates, develops,  produces and presents a decade study for the School. Aspects such as major events, entertainment, social history, trends, clothing language and trivia are all explored in this presentation to the school.

The Sylvania Australian History Day is a cross curricular project. In the morning, Year 10 participates in workshops involving the studied decade. Faculties have volunteered to contribute their time and expertise which helps to encapsulate the spirit of the day.

The Performing Arts Department also contributes with the School’s Band, Drama and Dance Ensembles playing an active role in the performance. Students throughout the school gain an understanding of not only their former generations but also the enjoyable nature of history and their role as active citizens of the future.