Nossal High School’s senior curriculum is developed to answer the requirements of the Victorian Certificate of Education. This means that it meets some very specific minimum standards in relation to content covered and skills taught, though Nossal’s teachers habitually strive to extend and enhance their students learning around this core material.A brief description of the scope of the VCE studies currently offered at Nossal High School in each of the school’s Domains of Learning appears below. Significantly more detailed information can be gained by consulting the VCAA Study Design for each subject. The link below will take you to a central site from which you can access the study designs for all current VCE studies.
Domains of Learning
Year 9 English
Year 9 English is a student led adventure of discovery through text. Our course allows students entering the school to follow their interests and chose an appropriate level of challenge in order to develop their English skills, unimpeded any artificially imposed achievement ceiling. Students must select a classic text from a list of suggested novels, and they also complete a Shakespeare study. Otherwise they are invited to engage with texts which interest them, honing Enterprise Skills as they negotiate individual learning programs, as well as cultivating English expertise through responding to ethical, cultural and global issues in a range ways, involving written, oral and digital tasks. Our innovative course is designed to address the learning needs of the whole student, preparing our cohort for all VCE English subjects, and for communication in a twenty-first century workplace and world.
Year 10 English
In Year 10 English, Nossal High Students have the opportunity to select English electives which appeal to their particular areas of interest and they are encouraged to explore a wide variety of texts. In all electives students develop their understanding of persuasive language and all Year 10 English electives also provide many opportunities for students to hone their written and oral expression.
In 2019 the following electives were offered at Year 10 level:
- Monstrosity and Madness
- Persuasion and Deception
- Spells and Speculation
- World Stories
- Just the Classics
- Foundation English
VCE English Mainstream
The study of English encourages the development of literate individuals capable of critical and imaginative thinking, aesthetic appreciation and creativity. English incorporates the key discipline concepts of texts and language, and the dimensions of reading, writing, speaking and listening. The VCE English curriculum aims to be interesting and challenging for students with a wide range of expectations and aspirations. Teachers select texts which reflect the needs and interests of their students. The study of texts focuses on creating and analysing texts, understanding and interpreting texts, and moving beyond interpretation to reflection and critical analysis. Students will also develop competence and confidence in creating written, oral and multimodal texts. Students are expected to read widely in order to support the achievement of all outcomes.
VCE English Language
English Language is a challenging and fascinating journey into the complexities of our language and how we use it. Rather than just teaching basic grammatical rules, English Language explores the different functions of language (spoken, written and signed), how children acquire language and how English has changed over time. English Language also focuses on how we use language differently depending on our social environment and our identity. In English Language, our laboratory is the world around us.
Literature is the study of the texts created by people within a culture and tradition, from past eras and the present day. Literature introduces us to new worlds of experience. VCE Literature students engage in close reading, analysis, and critical and creative writing. The course evolves through lively class discussion, with students presenting varying points of view. Assessment tasks include formal essays, creative writing and oral presentations. Studying Literature is enriching and challenging. The understandings of the human condition which studying Literature provides are invaluable for people in widely different careers ranging from medicine and the law, to engineering and science.
YEAR 9 HUMANITIES
In Year 9 Humanities, students explore a variety of topics including Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business and History.
In Civics and Citizenship, students explore Australia’s parliamentary systems and learn about the responsibilities of different levels of government. Students learn about how media can influence and inform votes, and also practice their democratic rights by highlighting a social, cultural or community issue with a member of government responsible for that area.
Students then move on to study our contemporary society and the global economy. Students use case studies such as workers’ rights in Bangladesh and India to explore disparity between labour practices in different parts of the world.
In History, students study WWI, including the social and political causes and the legacy of WWI in Australian society. Students explore the impact of WWI on soldiers, their families and how it shaped perspectives of war.
Students further their studies of Humanities through a variety of economic and social activities during ‘City Week’. Students complete an in-depth ‘guided inquiry’ task which asks them to explore an area of interest and create a detailed and researched essay on their chosen topic.
YEAR 10 HUMANITIES
In Year 10 Humanities, students explore a variety of topics including History, Civics and Citizenship and Geography.
In History, students begin by studying the Civil Rights Movements both in the United States and in Australia. Students learn about how the evolution of the United Nations and the advancement of Human Rights in the post-WWII era led to growing demands for legal equality and political representation among minority groups.
Students then complete an in-depth study of WWII, with a focus on the causes of the conflict and the origins and impact of the Holocaust. A trip to the Holocaust Centre and Museum adds depth to the students’ understanding of this topic and helps them develop the historical skills of empathy and source analysis.
In Civics and Citizenship, students examine a range of contemporary political issues, such as free speech, the rights of Indigenous Australians, the treatment of asylum seekers and Australia’s contributions to the United Nations.
In Geography, students study global inequality and resource distribution and the impacts of this on human wellbeing. Students develop skills relevant to this discipline such as interpreting and representing data and expressing these findings in an appropriate format.
Year 10 students finish their studies by choosing their own ‘Guided Inquiry’ topic based on any area of interest from across the year.
VCE 20th Century History
History gives students a greater understanding of the world we live in and the ideological forces that have shaped it. Through studying the past, we can better understand how to approach the future. By understanding the successes and failures of past generations, we can make more informed decisions about the future, and formulate better solutions to the challenges that lie ahead. The focus in Unit 1 & 2 Modern History is on the 20th Century – a time when the great advances of technology and human discovery lifted millions out of poverty yet at the same time condemned millions more to the most horrific conflicts we have ever seen. Unit 1 focuses on the inter-war period and the economic and political forces that led to the rise of political extremism. Unit 2 looks at the ‘Cold War’ and the implications of the nuclear arms race, as well as the rise and fall of the Soviet Empire. Students will learn many of the core skills inherent to historians, as well as developing their own formal writing and research skills.
VCE History of Revolutions
Revolutions are the great disjuncture of modern times and mark deliberate attempts at new directions. They share the common aim of breaking with the past by destroying the regimes and societies that engender them and embarking on a program of political and social transformation. As processes of dramatically accelerated social change, revolutions have a profound impact on the country in which they occur, as well as important international repercussions. Because revolutions involve destruction and construction, dispossession and liberation, they polarise society and unleash civil war and counter-revolution, making the survival and consolidation of the revolution the principal concern of the revolutionary state. In defence of the revolution, under attack from within and without, revolutionary governments often deploy armed force and institute policies of terror and repression. The process of revolution concludes when a point of stability has been reached and a viable revolutionary settlement made.
The focus of our study of the History of Revolutions centers on both the French and Russian Revolutions. All revolutions have certain key elements in common. They all:
- involve some form of change
- involve relatively sudden or abrupt happenings or accelerations of previously existing rates of change
- have significant and far-reaching effects
It is these elements which form the foundation of our study along with an examination of the characteristics of revolution including violence and terror, leadership, ideology, organisation and international influence. The interpretation of primary and secondary sources forms an integral part of the course.
Philosophy is a challenging, academically rigorous course that is a must for all students with serious academic ambitions. Even students who plan careers in the Sciences or Engineering fields will benefit from the creative thinking and problem-solving skills that Philosophy fosters.
Students who decide to pursue this subject at VCE level will study some of the most fascinating and complex topics in modern philosophy. In Unit 1, students study the topics of Free Will, Mind & Body, Epistemology and the Philosophy of Time. In Unit 2, students will make an in-depth study of meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics, as well as turning their attention to the fields of Political Philosophy and Religion. In Unit 3, students will study the Philosophy of Mind in greater depth as well as the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘identity’ by reading original texts from key thinkers in each field. In Unit 4, students will examine what both ancient and modern philosophy can teach us about leading a ‘good life’ in the 21st Century.
Not only are many of these topics fascinating to young adults, but they help develop more concise written and verbal reasoning skills, and encourage students to be more disciplined in constructing their own arguments or articulating their ideas – such skills will serve them well in any occupation.
VCE Global Politics
Global Politics is a popular subject for students who wish to learn more about international politics and the contemporary challenges facing the global community. Students who are interested in pursuing a career in politics, academia, the public service, foreign affairs or the international NGO sector would benefit from receiving a grounding in the key actors and institutions of global politics.
Global Politics is currently only offered at Unit 3&4 level at Nossal. Students begin by studying the different global actors and they way they wield power in the international sphere. This knowledge is enhanced by a depth study of power in the Asia-Pacific with a particular focus on the foreign policy of one major power in the region. In Unit 4, students have some level of choice, with the unit focusing on ethical issues such as human rights, arms & disarmament and economic development. The final part of the course focuses on international crises, such as conflict, climate change or terrorism.
Students are often fascinated by international issues and the opportunity to broaden their horizons and develop a greater level of political awareness is a valuable one. Students will also expand their vocabularies, develop their analytical skills and refine their written expression through the skills and assessment requirements of this dynamic and contemporary subject.
VCE Legal Studies
Legal Studies is an ideal subject for students considering studying law at university. Students with Law degrees these days have a distinct advantage and are in high demand by employers. These students may opt to pursue a career as a barrister in a legal firm. Employers also seek those with Law Degrees in many fields, including Commerce, Business, Finance, Accounting and Economics. This is due to the ability of legal students to think clearly, solve problems, negotiate deals and seek solutions to a wide range of challenges confronting organisations and industries today.
At Units 1 and 2, the course focuses on how laws are made, the role of the criminal and civil law and the importance of human rights in a global context. Students investigate, discuss and debate many controversial issues confronting law makers, such as euthanasia and human cloning. At Units 3 and 4, the course explores the effectiveness of the legal system and the context to which its structures achieve justice. It focuses on the role of parliament, the courts, our constitution and criminal and civil procedures. During the course of their studies students develop a well-rounded view of the legal system through authentic learning experiences, including visits to the County and Supreme courts. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the Monash Law School Mooting competition and Witness Examination competition.
Economics underpins every decision made by all consumers, businesses and governments. Through a study in Economics, students are able to explain what is happening with current events in inflation, interest rates, inflation rates and unemployment. By investigating different market systems, students can analyse the significance of supply and demand in effecting prices, and how fiscal and monetary policy can improve the current economic conditions of different countries. Students are able to show why there is a gap between the rich and poor and what can be done to improve this situation.
Students have the ability to demonstrate their knowledge through the completion of the Australian Economics and Business Studies Competition run through the University of New South Wales, as well as the participation in a number of school-based activities.
As the language of business, VCE Accounting equips students with a valuable skill set. Accountants are strategic advisors who must demonstrate an understanding of core issues and processes in the integral role of business decision making. VCE Accounting equips students with the understanding of the financial structures of an organisation. Students develop skills in recording, reporting, analysing and interpreting financial data and information which can then be communicated to internal and external users of the information. These skills play an integral role in the successful operation and management of a business.
Students learn about the preparation and presentation of financial statements as governed by Australian Accounting Standards and guided by the Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements (AASB Framework). Students will study both theoretical and practical aspects of accounting through the collection of financial data and recording and reporting of financial information using both manual systems and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
VCE Business Management
Business Management provides students with relevant, real life experiences which can be transferred to their professional lives. This subject will enable student to develop their understanding of the different phases of a business’s life.
In Unit 1 students investigate how business ideas are created and how conditions can be fostered for new business ideas to emerge. Students develop their knowledge of business environments including the impact of changing customer needs and emerging technologies including how they can affect business decisions and planning. Unit 2 focuses on staffing requirements, an understanding of the financial planning demands on businesses, marketing and public relations in order to better appreciate the challenges faced by businesses when making decisions.
Unit 3 introduces students to the key processes and issues related to managing a business. Students will examine the different types of businesses and their objectives. They will give close consideration to issues related to corporate culture, management styles and skills, and the relationship between them. Finally, students will investigate strategies used to manage staff and business operations.
Unit 4 focuses on the use of key performance indicators to review the performance of businesses. The management of change and strategies used to successfully change are examined, along with an investigation into the importance of leadership at a time of change. A business case study will be used to assist students to develop their understanding of change.
Many students at Nossal already speak one or more Languages other than English at home or study a language outside school. We appreciate and celebrate our students’ amazing linguistic skills.
There are many advantages of learning a language other than English, including:
- Gaining an insight into other cultures;
- Learning more about yourself and your own culture;
- Improving your understanding of English and its role in the global community;
- Increasing your brain’s ‘plasticity’ and improving your problem-solving and communication skills;
- Keeping your brain healthy and strong (bilingualism has even been linked to delayed onset of dementia!);
- Giving you the chance to travel, live and work overseas;
- Meeting new people and making new friends;
- Expanding and enhancing your study and career prospects.
For students who speak another language at home or within a community, there are benefits in learning another foreign language in a formal academic setting. Japanese and French at Nossal are taught in a structured, rigorous way. Language study comprises communicative, task-based learning and also formal grammar study which is particularly beneficial for the development of students’ literacy and numeracy skills.
The study of a Language other than English is also encouraged by the Government through incentives at the VCE level.
The Victorian Baccalaureate Certificate is awarded to high-achieving students who, based on their ATAR and range of prescribed subjects including at least one language other than English, will receive an additional form of recognition of achievement.
Languages are compulsory at Year 9 at Nossal and strongly encouraged, yet optional, at Year 10. Both French and Japanese can be continued through to Year 12 regardless of whether a student begins as a Beginner or Intermediate student at Nossal.
<links to French, Japanese & Enrichment/Enhancement pages>
VICTORIAN SCHOOL OF LANGUAGES
Students may be able to undertake correspondence language studies in other languages through the VSL (Victorian School of Languages) at Nossal. Nossal provides a dedicated staff member to assist in the facilitation of the VSL programs.
The Year 9 policy for study of a language other than French or Japanese is as follows:
In Year 9, students have an active choice of studying either Japanese or French as part of their academic studies. However, if a Year 9 student has enrolled in a Language study externally of Nossal and is attending a VSL or Community Saturday/Sunday school, then they are still required to attend their normal Nossal Japanese or French language classes. At Nossal, we recognize the value and cognitive benefits of acquiring languages and encourage students to continue the study of languages through Years 10, 11 and 12.
The contact person for study of a language other than French or Japanese at the Victorian School of Languages or through distance education is Mr. Rohan Bramley.
Year 9 & 10
The Year 9 French course concentrates on personal-world topics related to students’ lives and interests. This includes topics such as self, family, animals, daily routines, hobbies, school life, going to a restaurant and going on holidays.
There are two streams: Intermediate (for students who have completed Year 7 and 8 French, or equivalent) and Beginners (for students who have no, or minimal, previous experience with French).
Year 10 French consolidates and expands on the skills covered in Year 9 and introduces more complex vocabulary, grammar, text types and topics in preparation for VCE. Units include health, holidays and travel, and media and communications.
Classes also operate at VCE level following the VCAA curriculum prescribed in the VCE French as a Second Language Study Design, where a more intensive study of the Japanese language is offered, using prescribed themes and topics. There are three themes:
- The Individual;
- The French-speaking communities;
- The World around us.
VCE language study is underpinned by the concepts of communicating and understanding languages and cultures. There are five macro skills that inform all language use: listening, speaking, reading, writing and viewing. Connections, comparisons and communities provide the context for learning each specific language while the interpersonal, interpretive and presentational contexts define the ways in which students use the language they are studying. The integration of these contexts through the teaching and learning program enables students to develop their understanding and skills in the language.
VCE French introduces even more sophisticated grammar and vocabulary and focuses on real-life topics and issues such as the world of work; the environment; migration; and science and technology.
Year 9 & 10
Students who choose to study Japanese in Year 9 study at either an Intermediate or Beginner level depending on their previous studies.
Students study a range of topics, including an exploration of Japanese culture, and learn the Japanese writing systems. Students develop a variety of communication skills through active participation in the classroom, through in-school visits and outside school excursions and activities using and experiencing Japanese.
Year 10 students continue to develop their communication skills in Japanese and participate in activities that aim to strengthen their understanding and ability to communicate in, and explore, both the language and culture of Japan.
As part of their learning and assessment, our students have the opportunity to practise general conversation with the Japanese speaking staff at Nossal High school and sometimes with an Assistant Japanese Language Teacher or other native speakers. Students participate in a wide range of language and cultural activities and develop an understanding of intercultural relationships relevant to their own world.
Classes also operate at VCE level following the VCAA curriculum prescribed in the VCE Japanese as a Second Language Study Design, where a more intensive study of the Japanese language is offered, using prescribed themes and topics. There are three themes:
- The Individual;
- The Japanese-speaking communities;
- The World around us.
VCE Japanese introduces even more sophisticated grammar and vocabulary and focuses on real-life topics and issues such as the changing world of work; the environment; issues in Japanese society and youth culture.
The five key skills of reading, writing, listening, viewing and speaking are assessed throughout the year and continual oral and written assessments prepare students for their final Year 12 VCE exams.
INTERNATIONAL STUDY TOURS, HOSTING and EXCHANGE
Nossal international study tours meet the guidelines for both Japanese and French Language studies, including other the cross-curriculum priorities of “Sustainability” and “Engagement with Asia”. Please see the section on Camps and Tours for more information about these. Study tours for Japanese and French students run biannually for those students studying year 10, 11 or 12 Japanese or French. Exchange visits from Japan and France run in alternate years.
LANGUAGES ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES
Both languages, together and separately, offer a range of activities and competitions to complement students’ regular, in-class language learning. A highlight of the year is Languages Diversity Day, where all Year 9 and all Year 10-12 students studying French or Japanese participate in a range of intensive linguistic and cultural activities across the course of a day, including sampling Japanese food and French crêpes.The day always includes an assembly run by the cultural Liaison leaders to celebrate and highlight the cultural diversity of the Nossal community.
Other language enrichment activities are available throughout the year. Students should see Teams messages for announcements of events or extension programs as they come up.
There are a number of student-run clubs related to the Languages including the French club and the Japanese animé club. Students of VSL have the opportunity to create study groups and club activities related to their study.
Nossal language students can participate in a range of local, state, national and international language competitions, both to gain perspective on their progress and also to build their skills in a range of exam-style situations.
Students of VSL, Japanese and French can participate in the Language Perfect World Championships. All students are subscribed to the popular vocabulary and grammar learning site and the World Championships. The competition rewards the consolidated learning of new vocabulary, expressions and structures, encouraging students to extend their vocabulary and grammar and challenge each other to learn more and at a faster rate.
Students in Japanese have the option to participate in a number of competitions throughout the year. These are advertised on Teams and will assist students to develop a range of linguistic and creative communicative skills. These competitions include, among many others, the Japanese speech, calligraphy, and video competitions.
Students in Years 11 and 12 participate in the Alliance Francaise Berthe Mouchette competition, completing a written test and taking part in an oral interview, which are excellent preparation for the final Year 12 exams.
EXCURSIONS AND INCURSIONS
Students of Japanese are given the opportunity to participate in an excursion involving the study of Japanese language and culture. Some activities include:
A guided tour around Melbourne’s Japanese Food outlets; a visit to the Consulate participating in a one hour talk on Life in Modern Japan and using Japanese language as a Global citizen; a Japanese lunch at a Japanese restaurant; a Tour of the Japanese art and artefacts at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Students may also have the opportunity to see a new release Japanese film at the ACMI at Federation Square during the Japanese Film Festival. Most films offered deal with youth and issues of growing up in Japan. Both in terms of the lifestyle and culture of students their age and of a critical time in Japanese history, these films will engage and entertain students in a culturally and linguistically relevant way.
Year 9 students learn how to order food in French and sample croissants and hot chocolate for a French breakfast. 10 students participate in a cooking activity but also have opportunities to go on a ‘film and food’ excursion with VCE French students to explore the French culture and food of Melbourne
VCE students may also have an excursion to the Alliance Française in St Kilda where they enjoy a French breakfast or lunch and take part in an intensive workshop focusing on a theme such as Identity, Immigration, the French Revolution and so on.
VCE students attend the “Matinée du français” Year 12 French morning, run by the Association of French Teachers of Victoria, to complete practice exam questions, see a mock oral and get tips from a range of experienced French examiners.
Nossal Language staff strongly encourage the participation of Language Assistants within our classrooms. This may be in the form of a formal, funded Language Assistant, or volunteers.
If you are a Japanese, French or other language speaker and are interested in working with our students in any capacity, please contact reception and ask to speak to the Languages Domain leader (for French and Japanese) or the VSL Coordinator (for any other language) – we would love to hear from you!
At Nossal in Years 9 and 10, we follow the new Australian Curriculum in Mathematics which provides students with mathematical skills and knowledge in Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry, Statistics and Probability. We develop the numeracy capabilities that assist students in everyday life and prepare them for further study.
Mathematics at Nossal is taught in innovative and fun ways. In order to cater for individual learning, each lesson begins with an entry question designed to ascertain student’s needs. Depending on how a student performs in this question, they will then be allocated a task which addresses their need.
A student who experiences some form of difficulty will attend a “workshop”, an intensive session designed to improve the skills in that area.
A student who has experienced success will then attempt questions either at the Year 9 or Year 10 level, depending on their level of competence in the topic.
In this way students are able to learn at their own pace. Formative assessment is achieved for with the use of the entry question and a growth mindset is encouraged as students are aware that they are not stuck in the low group and understand that there is an expectation of improvement.
The topics covered in Intermediate Mathematics are:
|Year 9 Semester 1
||Year 10 Semester 1
|Year 9 Semester 2
||Year 10 Semester 2
Students are provided with a variety of learning tools so they are able to develop mathematical skills, problem solving and analysis.
In Year 9 students use scientific calculators, whilst in Year 10 students are expected to use a CAS calculator. The chosen CAS calculator is the Casio Classpad.
Once students have completed Intermediate Mathematics they are well prepared to undertake a variety of VCE Mathematics subjects.
General Maths Unit 1 & 2
General Maths prepares students who intend to undertake Unit 3 & 4 Further Mathematics. The units of work include Data Analysis and Simulation, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Linear Graphs and Matrices.
Students who study General Maths are able to define and explain key concepts in relation to the topics covered and apply a range of mathematical routines and procedures.
Students use computer algebra system (CAS) technology to support and develop the learning of mathematics.
Mathematical Methods Unit 1 & 2
Mathematical Methods (CAS) Units 1 and 2 are designed as preparation for Mathematical Methods (CAS) Units 3 and 4. The topics covered in Maths Methods Units 1 and 2 are: Functions including Linear, Quadratic, Exponential, Logarithmic and Circular, Rates of Change, Calculus and Probability. Students are expected to be able to apply techniques, routines and processes involving rational and real arithmetic, algebraic manipulation, equation solving, graph sketching, differentiation and integration with and without the use of technology, as applicable.
Students use computer algebra system (CAS) technology to produce results and carry out analysis in situations requiring problem-solving and investigative techniques.
Specialist Maths 1 & 2
Specialist Maths 1 & 2 prepares students who intend on taking Specialist Mathematics units 3 & 4. The units of work include: Rational Number Systems, Complex Numbers, Non-linear Relations, Kinematics, Vectors and Trigonometric Ratios.
Students are able to apply mathematical processes in non-routine contexts and analyse and discuss these applications of mathematics.
Students are assessed in a variety of ways including assignments, tests, projects, short written responses and problem solving tasks.
Further Mathematics Units 3 & 4
Further Mathematics provides a general preparation for employment or further study, in particular, where data analysis is important. The assumed knowledge and skills for Further Mathematics are drawn from General Mathematics (Further).
Topics include a core area of study ‘Data Analysis’ , “Recursion and Financial Modelling”, and two modules: “Graphs and Relations” and “Matrices and Applications”.
Students learn to select and use technology to develop mathematical ideas, produce results and carry out analysis in situation requiring modelling techniques.
Mathematical Methods Unit 3 & 4
Maths Methods provides a background for further study in areas such as science, humanities, economics or medicine. The units of work covered in Maths Methods include: Functions and Graphs, Algebra, Calculus and Probability.
The first area of study covers the behaviour of functions, including key features of graphs, domain and range and asymptotic behaviour. The area of Algebra covers composite functions, inverse functions and solutions of equations. The study of calculus covers limits, differentiation, anti-differentiation and integration. The last area of study includes the study of discrete and continuous random variables, probability density functions and calculation and interpretation of central measures and measure of spread.
Specialist Mathematics is taken in conjunction with Mathematical Methods Units 3 & 4. The areas of study extend and develop material from Mathematical Methods and are intended for those with strong interests in mathematics and those who wish to further study mathematics and related disciplines.
The topics covered include: functions relations and their graphs, complex numbers, circular functions, differential and integral calculus, differential equations, vectors, vector calculus, kinematics and mechanics.
Students are required to use a CAS calculator to determine the domain and range requirements of graphs, role of parameters in specifying general forms of symbolic expressions and appropriate use of technology in a variety of mathematical contexts.
Mathematics Enrichment and Enhancement
The Mathematics department also run a number of programs and activities for students who have special interest or ability in Maths. These includes:
- Maths Whiz (semester long program in Year 9)
- The Australian Informatics Competition (test for computer programing potential)
- The University of Melbourne School Mathematics Competition
- Mathematics Challenge For Young Australian – Challenge Stage (3 week program)
- Mathematics Challenge For Young Australian – Enrichment Stage (6 month program)
- The Australian Mathematics Competition
- The UNSW ICAS Maths Test
- The Intermediate Mathematical Olympiad
- The Australian Mathematical Olympiad
Cooperative Adult Learning Environment – Maths Peer Coaching Program
At Nossal, we practice and promote cooperative learning in an adult environment. Students are encouraged to discuss and help each other in their educational journey. There is a group of students who have come together to formalise this.
This quite large group of students have volunteered to be in the Maths Peer Coaching Program. This is one of the very best things about being a part of the Nossal community. It is a source of immense pride to see so many students committed to the notion of lending a hand when there is no apparent reward.
These students are then divided up into groups and a roster is set up to offer tuition to fellow students. The students requiring help then sign up for sessions, which are held on most lunchtimes.
Year 9 Health & Physical Education
Students in Year 9 are exposed to a variety of sports and activities in practical classes including minor games, motor skill testing, traditional team sports and fitness/recreation activities. Sessions are run in mixed gender and single gender. In the latter stages of the year there is a strong student voice with choice over the sport or fitness activity they wish to participate in. For all practical classes students are required to wear their Nossal PE uniforms.
Two classes a fortnight are conducted in the class room and are more theoretical in nature, although strong links to practical classes and real world experiences are encouraged. In semester one students explore topics including; the interrelationship between the dimensions of health, barriers to exercise, systems of the body, and determinants of health such as nutrition and exercise. In semester two students explore the concept of body image and undertake two harm minimisation units focusing on drug awareness and sexual health.
Year 10 Health and Physical Education
In Year 10, PE and Health are combined for a course of one semester duration. Lifelong fitness is promoted with students developing practical skills in a variety of fitness and recreation activities such as circuit training, resistance training and boxercise. Students are also given the opportunity to develop leadership, interpersonal skills and organisation by leading a peer teaching session for a minor game or fitness activity of their choice.
Two classes a fortnight are conducted in the classroom. Students undertake units within the following topics; first aid with a focus on CPR, health literacy and mental health with a strong focus on positive psychology.
Year 10 Team Sports
In Year 10 students have the opportunity to participate in the elective subject ‘Team Sports’ which is a practical subject where students develop, lead and participate in a round robin competition within sports of their choice. In doing so students undertake a variety of roles including playing, coaching and officiating the competition phase of the elective.
Year 10 Sports Science
In Sports Science students learn how the human body works during exercise, and how sport and physical activity promote health and performance from a cellular to whole body perspective.
Within this subject students will use the school’s fitness centre to design and implement an individual training program where they seek to gain chronic training adaptations and consider the manner in which fitness can be improved by the application of appropriate training principles and methods. Students are also given the opportunity to undertake a fitness testing program to measure their own athletic strengths and areas for improvement.
This subject is offered as an elective for Year 10 students and runs for the duration of one semester.
VCE Physical Education
VCE Physical Education examines how the world’s elite athletes perform to such a standard. What physical and psychological factors influence their sporting performance? What can be done in the pursuit for mankind to achieve faster, higher, stronger? What drives people to exercise? What barriers to movement do Australians face and how can they be overcome?
In Units 1 and 2 Nossal students visit Phillip Island for a 3 day surf camp applying their understanding of the energy systems that enable movement and sport coaching principles in a practical setting. Students also have the opportunity to deliver aspects of the Berwick Fields Primary School Athletics program. They also participate in a wheelchair basketball session as part of the focus on disabled sports and barriers/enablers to exercise.
In Unit 3 and 4 our students design and implement a practical lesson to primary school students. This lesson has a strong focus on the development of fundamental motor skills. As part of their learning within the unit on energy systems, fatigue and recovery students are given the opportunity to complete and observe first-hand a range of elite athlete fitness tests including a VO2 max and wingate test. Students also participate in an aerobic training program within and outside of school before completing Run Melbourne in late July in a distance of their choice.
VCE Health and Human Development
Health and Human Development helps young people to understand themselves, how the human body develops, the science behind achieving optimal health throughout the lifespan and the determinants that shape life in Australia and around the globe.
In Unit 1 Nossal students will have the opportunity to apply their understanding of nutrient sources and functions and food selection models in developing and cooking a meal plan for case study persona.
Within Unit 2 students will visit an Early Learning Centre providing the opportunity to apply their understanding of childhood development in a practical context. Similarly, students will have the opportunity to build toys for those in the infancy and early childhood lifespan stages to meet development milestones. Students can also participate in the Virtual Baby program giving insight to life as a parent and the infancy life span stage.
Students will be able to consider health services in the local community by completing a ‘caravan’ tour of Berwick’s local health services – considering the range of services available in the school’s vicinity and factors affecting the use of health services – in their study of the Australian Health Care system.
Year 12 studies take on a global perspective. The health and development of Australia is compared to other nations, health promotion strategies and systems used by governments around the world to combat literacy, poverty, hunger, malaria and HIV/Aids are assessed for their impact on human development and sustainability.
Year 9 Science
Year 9 Science is the first science that students will encounter at Nossal High School. The course consists of elements of Scientific Method, Biology, Chemistry and Physics as described below.
The Year 9 Science Units include:
- Basic Principles of the Scientific Method
- Changes: this units focuses on animal classification and adaptation in response to a changing environment. Students visit Healesville Sanctuary and complete research and fieldwork based on one endangered species
- Body Coordination: where students learn about their internal systems – especially circulatory, respiratory, endocrine and nervous
- Magnetism and Electricity: students investigate the effects of magnetic fields and compare electric circuits for a variety of applications
- Motion: students design and construct a toy car to investigate the basic properties of motion
- Chemistry: students learn the structure of atoms to write and balance chemical equations, as well as learning about salts, solubility and chemical reactions.
An important focus for Year 9 Science is to develop team-building skills amongst the students and to expose them to a variety of formats for presentation of their findings.
Year 10 Science
Students can select up to two of the following options. Each subject takes one semester to complete. There is a heavy STEM emphasis in each subject (as described below). No particular Year 10 science subjects act as prerequisites for later VCE studies in science, though some are likely to appeal to students more or less depending on their intended areas of specialization in later years.
Where the Wild Things Are
Where the Wild Things Are is a semester long Biology-based subject. It is designed to engage students with Biology and to develop their understanding of a range of basic concepts. There is a strong focus on hands-on practical work. Students work on a STEM focused project throughout the entire semester, to create a solution to one of three problems related to Natural Selection and Evolution. The theoretical focus of this subject is the study of natural selection, evolution, genetics and ecology. Additionally, students develop skills in the scientific method, microscopy and data analysis. Another highlight of this subject is BioEyes, a week-long experimental investigation into the genetics of Zebrafish.
Energy and Taste
Energy and Taste is a semester long STEM based subject that incorporates aspects of Chemistry, Biology and Psychology, with a focus on food science. Students will learn about the chemistry of macro-and micronutrients and their digestion, along with sustainability and taste perception. These will be explored by developing appropriate laboratory and scientific skills such as experimental design, dilutions, various measurements (e.g. pH, salinity, sugar concentration), data collection and analysis. Students will also work collaboratively throughout the semester to design, create and advertise a food product (e.g. soft drink, cookies) which incorporates all the above aspects of food science.
Design, Build, Deploy
Design, Build, Deploy is a subject that will allow students to be creative in the scientific environment. Studies will focus around a Rube Goldberg machine that students will design and build in class. This involves researching and formulating ideas, testing and troubleshooting as part of the design process. Students will need to incorporate multiple ideas, be creative and have a hands-on approach to their learning. Investigations will then take place using the machines and they will be analysed using linear modelling techniques enabling students to gain an understanding in analysing data and linking variables using a mathematical formula.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Rock, Paper, Scissors is a semester long Environmental Science-based subject with a strong STEAM focus. Students will select an environmental problem to focus on, and will work towards finding an innovative solution to this problem guided by three key questions: What is it? (ie. how do we measure it?) What are the threats? How do we (you) fix it? Course content covers three key areas of Environmental Science. The ‘Rock’ component centres on the interrelated components of Earth’s natural systems and how they are governed by physical, chemical and biological processes. The ‘Paper’ component focuses on biodiversity – resource flow into and out of ecosystems, measuring biodiversity, threats, protection and restoration. Lastly, the ‘Scissors’ component is based around energy usage (renewable and non-renewable) and the impact this has on our society and environment. Throughout the semester, students will be working on a project to research an environmental issue and creatively present a potential response.
In VCE Biology, students undertake studies relating to several aspects of living things. In Unit One, we look at the most basic unit of life – the cell – and observe how cells make up specialised tissue and organ systems. We observe how organ systems assist organisms to survive in a range of Australian climates and study how organisms interact with each other and with their environment. A very important part of Biology is the study of genetics. During Unit Two, the nature of DNA and genes are investigated. Students learn about how cells reproduce and how genetically determined traits are passed down through generations. In Unit Three we investigate and analyse the biochemistry of life and the role of signaling molecules in both homeostasis and immunity. VCE Biology culminates with Unit 4 where we explore how evolution has led to the formation of the living world around us. Finally, we investigate the use of genetic technologies, the nature of emerging diseases, epidemics and pandemics. How these diseases are diagnosed and controlled is a focus. Biological, social and ethical implications of these technologies are emphasized.
VCE Chemistry is made up of four units. Year 11 Chemistry examines topics including the Periodic Table, materials, water and the atmosphere. During the first year of VCE Chemistry students learn the basic theory and techniques. Year 12 Chemistry is about applying the skills and techniques gained during Units 1&2 to real world applications. Units 3&4 examine topics such as chemical analysis, organic chemical pathways, industrial chemistry and the use and supply of energy. The chemistry undertaken in this study is representative of the discipline and the major ideas of chemistry.
Physics is a branch of science which deals with the study of the universe and all it contains. It has many points of focus, ranging from the smallest of subatomic particles to the shape and size of the universe. The VCE physics course begins with the study of Thermodynamics, and ends with a study of relationship between matter and energy that brings together many of the concepts encountered by students across the course of the four VCE units.
The topics covered by the VCE Physics course include the study of Thermodynamics; Electricity; Sound; Motion and Mechanics; Electromagnetism; and the Interactions between Light and Matter. Throughout the course there is an emphasis on the experimental nature of the discipline, and a reflection on the historical context of various discoveries to help delineate the scientific method.
Units 1 & 2: Psychology is the systematic study of thoughts, feelings and behaviours. As a Science, psychology aims to describe, explain and predict behaviour. Students investigate the scope of psychology, its scientific disciplines and fields of application. They explore visual perception, visual illusions and development over a lifespan. Students develop an understanding of what influences the formation of attitudes of individuals and the behaviour of groups and how this can lead to aggression. They also look at how differences in individuals can be ascribed to differences in intelligence and personality.
Units 3 & 4: Students study the relationship between the brain and mind through examining the basis of consciousness, behaviour, cognition and memory. Students investigate the ways in which information is processed, stored and utilised. This enables them to apply different theories of memory and forgetting to their everyday learning experiences. Students consider different concepts of normality, and learn to differentiate between normal responses such as stress to external stimuli and mental disorders. Students explore the causes of mental illness, avenues of assistance and factors that promote mental wellbeing.
Throughout all the units of Psychology students analyse research methodologies and consider the ethical issues associated with the conduct of research and the use of findings. They apply appropriate research methods when undertaking their own investigations.
Year 9 Digital Technology
The Year 9 Digital Technologies (Digitech) subject is a compulsory subject for all students entering Nossal at Year 9. Students learn the fundamentals of algorithms and the processes behind design thinking. In application, students use the computer coding language of Python to build solutions to set problems. In addition, students are provided with a BBC Micro:bit computer that enables them to collect data and program responses to changes in the environment. In designing problem solving algorithms, students learn to use pseudo-code that is applicable to all coding languages and other iterative processes.
All students are enrolled in the Grok online learning platform to assist with the process of learning Python and the operation of the BBC Micro:bit computer.
Year 10 Digital Technology
Year 10 Digital Technology is a semester long subject that includes the creation of a webpage using HTML and CSS as a core part of the curriculum. Later in the course, the students are introduced to PHP and its beginner level use in website development. The development of this skill is useful preparation for students intending to undertake either VCE studies in Computing.
Year 9 Electronics
Electronics is a branch of technology that deals with the analysis, design, construction and evaluation of electromechanical devices (e.g. robots). In Year 9 students learn to create programmable circuits using a PicAXE programmable microcontroller. They experiment with a few input and output devices that can be attached to the microcontroller to achieve different modes of desired functionality. This semester long subject is a useful introduction to the skills utilised in VCE Systems Engineering.
Year 10 Electronics
This semester long subject focuses on extending the capabilities of the students in the field of electronics, giving them hands-on experience which will be of benefit should they pursue a course in VCE Systems Engineering. Students are introduced to analysing circuits and the use of breadboards for prototyping circuit designs. They develop a printer circuit board for the chosen circuit. In the latter stages of the course, they learn to create programmable circuits using a microcontroller, applying thi knowledge in the creation of a remote-controlled vehicle constructed from 3D-printed and laser-cut parts.
Nossal High School offers a unique multicultural cooking program that caters for students in Year 9 and 10. Students learn the foundation of basic methods of cookery. Their skills are fostered and developed, teaching them lifelong skills that they will utilise now and in the future.
The Year 9 and 10 programs focus on practical and skill areas, giving students multiple cooking sessions to develop basic skills. Students learn kitchen and cleaning procedures, knife, measuring, and cooking skills.
Students are challenged with multicultural recipes that cover a broad range of methods of cookery. Throughout this class students focus on the five food groups and food safety. This gives students the required knowledge needed for food storage and preparation within the home.
The Year 10 program gives students in-depth knowledge of the ‘wonderful world of Food’ and how this relates to the human body. Throughout this semester students cover a broad range of topics that include food safety, multicultural and indigenous foods, stages of the lifespan and nutrition and diet related diseases. Students are given challenging design briefs, and make use of problem-solving techniques such as investigation, design, production and evaluation in responding to these. The skills the students learn from this semester length course are an excellent preparation for VCE Food Studies.
Each year, a similar combination of subjects pertaining to the Visual and Performing Arts are offered to Nossal’s Year 9 and 10 students, but the subset of subjects which actually run from year to year may vary depending on student demand. An outline of the subjects typically offered appears below.
Year 9 Dance
Dance students in Year 9 practice techniques used to perform dances of different styles and genres. Students will learn aspects of Gymnastics, Cultural, Modern & Lyrical/theatrical dance. A typical class will include a warm-up, stretching, skill & strength work, learning a routine and performing in groups. Students learn the basic process of dance choreography and traditions to enhance aesthetic dance works. Students also complete some theory work around Dance safety, nutrition and evaluating dance performances. Dance students typically attend an excursion to watch a performance, usually at The Arts Centre in Melbourne. Students work towards an end of semester performance for a small, invited audience.
Year 10 Dance
Year 10 Dance develops more complex physical skills and application of choreographic principles. Students work in small groups to create and lead a class warm-up and stretch session. The dance genres studied at Year 10 are chosen from Ballet, Jazz, Hip-hop, Contemporary and Cultural Dance. There is typically an excursion to watch a Dance performance such as the Ballet at the Arts Centre or a Musical performance in the city. There is 1 theory lesson per week which includes Dance History, safety with warm-ups, choreographic principles and building dance vocabulary as a basic introduction for anyone wishing to continue Dance as a VCE subject. Students also learn a class routine from a professional dance instructor and work towards a class performance, as well as small group performances that they choreograph themselves in class.
Year 9 Music Performance
This semester length course is primarily for students who already play a musical instrument and/or sing. Students perform individually and in groups and learn techniques to improve their performance skills.
Students also develop an understanding in the following areas:
- Elements of Music
- Listening skills
- Musical genres/styles
- Composition and arranging
- Music Theory and Aural skills
Year 9 Music Appreciation
This semester length course teaches students about the various music composition programs and platforms that are available. Students experiment with the programs to complete a short video of their choice using the Design Process.
Students also develop an understanding in the following areas:
- Elements of Music
- Listening skills
- Composition and arranging skill
Year 10 Music Performance
Music Performance best suits students who have prior instrumental music experience and covers performance skills in solo and group settings. Students extend their existing knowledge of the following areas:
- music theory and aural training
- composition and arranging, including arranging using the Design Process and multiple music composition programs
- the elements of music and listening analysis
All of these elements will contribute to enhancing their performance on their chosen instrument/s.
This course broadly covers material which leads to the study of VCE Solo/Group Performance and VCE Music Investigation.
In Theatre Studies, students go on an exploration of written playscripts and their potential for creative interpretation. Students actively apply their close reading skills, and their skills in critical and creative thinking. A key component at all year levels is the act of Dramaturgy. Dramaturgy is the act of research into the context of the play and being able to apply that to a performance interpretation. Through their study of Dramaturgy, students develop an enhanced understanding of specific historical and social contexts, and of how these contexts are expressed through their artefacts.
Year 9 Theatre Studies
In Year 9 Theatre Studies, student focus on scenes from a play and explore characterization through workshops and group work. Students develop their skills in research, acting, design, directing and inferential reading. To support their theory and practical work, students view and analyse a live professional theatre performance.
Year 10 Theatre Studies
Students who wish to continue their Theatre Studies experience in Year 10, or pick it up as a new area of interest, unpack and stage a full production from the Greek theatre collection. Students work collaboratively to create a recontextualized piece of theatre from their play. To achieve this, they undertake an in-depth exploration of their chosen sociohistorical context through research and close reading. This then informs their acting, directing and design choices. In addition, students will have the opportunity to view and analyse a live professional theatre performance.
Though not a necessary prerequisite, this course is a useful precursor to the study of VCE Theatre Studies.
Year 9 Art
This is a semester length course which provides opportunities for students to enjoy the making and study of art.
Year 9 Art students:
- explore the visual arts practices and styles as inspiration to develop their own artworks
- explore how artists manipulate materials, techniques, technologies and processes to develop and express their intentions in art works and how to use these processes and techniques in their own work
- plan and design art works that express ideas, concepts and artistic intentions
- analyse and interpret artworks to explore the different forms of expression, intentions and viewpoints of artists and how they are viewed by audiences
- analyse, interpret and evaluate a range of visual artworks from different cultures, historical and contemporary contexts to explore differing viewpoints
Year 9 Photography
This semester length course provides a basic introduction to digital photography.
Year 9 Photography students
- learn how to use a digital SLR camera
- undertake a series of photographic challenges using the photographic
- analyse the photographic work of photographic artists and use these
processes and techniques in their own work
- use computer editing and manipulation techniques to enhance their images.
Year 9 Visual Communication Design
This semester length course provides a basic introduction into Communication Design.
Year 9 Visual Communication students:
- develop and present visual communications that demonstrate the application of methods, materials, media, design elements and design principles that meet the requirements of a specific brief and target audience
- use manual and digital drawing methods to create visual communications within the Communication Design field. (i.e. designing the cover for The Butterfly Effect, the annual school magazine)
- analyse and evaluate the factors that influence design decisions in a range of visual communications from different historical, social and cultural contexts
Year 10 Art Photography
This semester length course provides one term of photography and another of art-based projects, where students:
- analyse and evaluate how artists and photographers communicate ideas and convey meaning in their artworks
- identify the influences of other artists/photographers and analyse connections between techniques, processes and visual conventions in artworks to develop their own art practice
- select and manipulate materials, techniques, processes, visual conventions and technologies (both digital and analogue) to express ideas and viewpoints in their artworks
- analyse and evaluate artworks and exhibitions from different cultures, times and places, and discuss how ideas and beliefs are interpreted by audiences
Year 10 Visual Communication Design
This semester length course in Year 10 continues to develop the students understanding of industrial design, environmental design and communication design. The students:
- demonstrate their use of visual communication design skills, techniques, conventions and processes in the Industrial, Environmental and Communication design fields
- manipulate design elements and design principles, materials, methods, media and technologies to realise their own briefs, concepts and ideas for specific purposes, audiences and needs
- analyse and evaluate the visual communications they make and view, and how visual communications from different historical, social and cultural contexts communicate ideas and information
VCE Music Performance Units 1 to 4
Music Performance Units 1-2 focuses on building students’ performance and musicianship skills to present performances of selected group and solo music works using one or more instruments. They study the work of other performers and explore strategies to optimise their own approach to performance. They identify technical, expressive and stylistic challenges relevant to works they are preparing for performance and endeavour to address these challenges. Students develop their listening, aural, theoretical and analytical musicianship skills and apply this knowledge when preparing and presenting performances. In Unit 2 students compose or arrange a piece of music for performance.
In Units 3 – 4 students refine the skills learned in Units 1 – 2 to help to inform their final external solo or group performance and external listening, aural and theory exam. The skills learned in Units 3 – 4 Music Performance will assist students to be able to continue learning and playing music in life after secondary school helping to make them “lifelong learners”.
VCE Music Investigations Units 3 & 4
Music Investigation Units 3 and 4 involves both performance research in a Focus Area selected by the student and performance of works that are representative of that Focus Area. Students’ research music characteristics and performance practices representative of the Focus Area underpin the investigation, composition/arrangement/ improvisation and performance areas of study. Aural and theoretical musicianship skills are developed across all areas of study. Students use a work they have selected from a prescribed list as a starting point and design an investigation into a specific area of music which becomes their Focus Area. This Focus Area is the basis for study of repertoire, performance, technique and general musicianship.
VCE Theatre Studies Units 1 to 4
Theatre Studies provides students with opportunities to explore the ways in which theatre represents social, political, and historical contexts, narratives and stories. Students develop an understanding of the language of theatre including terminology and expressions appropriate to the context of the theatre that students create, perform and analyse. Students develop an appreciation of theatre as an art form through participation, criticism and aesthetic understanding.
In VCE Theatre Studies, students in Unit 1 & 2 explore key playwrights in the pre-Modern era and the 20th century and how they shaped contemporary theatre. Students explore these plays by unpacking and exploring text and staging scene excerpts from their plays. They also stage their own performance in Unit 2 to consolidate their skills. Students at the VCE level can choose to specialize in acting/directing and two design areas in Costume, Set, Prop, Sound and Lighting. In Unit 3 & 4 Theatre Studies, students undergo an intense process to interpret and stage a play in its entirety. Alongside this, students then actively apply the process to hypothetical scenarios. Students then go an exploration of individual characterization. Throughout VCE Theatre Studies, students will watch a minimum of four plays, which they will analyse and apply their understanding of theatre craft.
VCE Visual Communication and Design Unit 1 & 2
In Unit 1 students are introduced to Visual Communication Design and the application of its principles within design fields. The subject focuses first on the use of visual language to communicate messages, ideas and concepts. This involves acquiring and applying design thinking skills as well as drawing skills to make messages, ideas and concepts visible and tangible. Students then go on to apply their visual communication design knowledge, design thinking skills and drawing methods to create visual communications to meet specific purposes in designated design fields.
By the end of Unit 2, students have practiced their drawing ability to the point where they can use presentation drawing methods that incorporate the use of technical drawing conventions to communicate information and ideas associated with the environmental or industrial fields of design. Students have developed an understanding of the design process as a means of organising their thinking about approaches to solving design problems and presenting ideas. In response to a brief, they have engaged in the stages of research, generation of ideas and development of concepts to create visual communications, incorporating an understanding of how to use typography and imagery to affect the way information and ideas are read and perceived within their work.
VCE Visual Communication and Design Unit 3 & 4
Unit 3 Students gain an understanding of the process designers employ to structure their thinking and communicate ideas with clients, target audiences, other designers and specialists within the environmental, industrial and communication design fields. They analysing professional projects within each of the three fields of design and then apply this understanding to the development of similar projects but for a different audience or context. Students write an original brief, prepare research and visualisation drawings for two major creative design “needs” for their client, in preparation for further development and refinement in unit 4.
Unit 4 provides an opportunity for students to refine their design thinking and to undertake the development and presentation of specific design concepts in response to their brief. Specifically, By the end of the year, they have used a range of digital and manual two – and three-dimensional methods, media and materials and have investigated how the application of design elements and design principles creates different communication messages with their target audience. They have evaluated their visual communications and devised a pitch to communicate their design thinking and decision making to their peers. Students refine and present two visual communications within the parameters of the brief. They reflect on the design process and the design decisions they took in the realisation of their final design products.