Year 12

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Biology (ATAR)

Biology is the study of the fascinating diversity of life as it has evolved and as it interacts and functions. Investigation of biological systems and their interactions, from cellular processes to ecosystem dynamics, has led to biological knowledge and understanding that enable us to explore and explain everyday observations, find solutions to biological issues, and understand the processes of biological continuity and change over time.

Studying the Biology ATAR course provides students with a suite of skills and understandings that are valuable to a wide range of further study pathways and careers. Understanding of biological concepts, as well as general science knowledge and skills, is relevant to a range of careers, including those in medical, veterinary, food and marine sciences, agriculture, biotechnology, environmental rehabilitation, biosecurity, quarantine, conservation and eco-tourism. This course will also provide a foundation for students to critically consider and to make informed decisions about contemporary biological issues in their everyday lives.

Unit 3: Continuity of Species

In this unit students investigate mechanisms of heredity and the ways in which inheritance patterns can be explained, modelled and predicted; they connect these patterns to population dynamics and apply the theory of evolution by natural selection in order to examine changes in populations.

Unit 4: Surviving in a Changing Environment

In this unit students investigate system change and continuity in response to changing internal and external conditions and pathogens. They investigate homeostasis and the transmission and impact of infectious disease; and they consider the factors that encourage or reduce the spread of infectious disease at the population level.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Biology ATAR Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 to a C grade.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 leads to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Chemistry (ATAR)

Chemistry is the study of materials and substances and the transformations they undergo through interactions and the transfer of energy. Chemists can use an understanding of chemical structures and processes to adapt, control and manipulate systems to meet particular economic, environmental and social needs. This includes addressing the global challenges of climate change and security of water, food and energy supplies, and designing processes to maximise the efficient use of Earth’s finite resources.

The Chemistry ATAR course develops students’ understanding of the key chemical concepts and models of structure, bonding, and chemical change, including the role of chemical, electrical and thermal energy. Students learn how models of structure and bonding enable chemists to predict properties and reactions and to adapt these for particular purposes.

Studying the Chemistry ATAR course provides students with a suite of skills and understandings that are valuable to a wide range of further study pathways and careers. An understanding of chemistry is relevant to a range of careers, including those in forensic science, environmental science, engineering, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and sports science. Additionally, chemistry knowledge is valuable in occupations that rely on an understanding of materials and their interactions, such as art, winemaking, agriculture and food technology.

Unit 3: Equilibrium, Acids and Bases, and Redox Reactions

In this unit, students investigate the concept of reversibility of reactions and the dynamic nature of equilibrium in chemical systems; contemporary models of acid-base behaviour that explain their properties and uses; and the principles of oxidation and reduction reactions, including the generation of electricity from electrochemical cells.

Unit 4: Organic Chemistry and Chemical Synthesis

In this unit, students develop their understanding of the relationship between the structure, properties and chemical reactions of different organic functional groups.  Students also investigate the process of chemical synthesis to form useful substances and products and the need to consider a range of factors in the design of these processes.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Chemistry ATAR Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 to a C grade.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 leads to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Human Biology (ATAR)

Human Biology covers a wide range of ideas relating to the functioning human. Students learn about themselves, relating structure to function and how integrated regulation allows individuals to survive in a changing environment. They research new discoveries that are increasing our understanding of the causes of dysfunction, which can lead to new treatments and preventative measures.

Reproduction is studied to understand the sources of variation that make each of us unique individuals. Through a combination of classical genetics, and advances in molecular genetics, dynamic new biotechnological processes have resulted. Population genetics is studied to highlight the longer term changes leading to natural selection and evolution of our species.

Unit 3: Homeostasis and Disease

This unit explores the nervous and endocrine systems and the mechanisms that help maintain the systems of the body to function within normal range, and the body’s immune responses to invading pathogens.

Unit 4: Human Variation and Evolution

This unit explores the variations in humans, their changing environment and evolutionary trends in hominids.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Human Biology ATAR Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 to a C grade.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Physics (ATAR)

Physics is a fundamental science that endeavours to explain all the natural phenomena that occur in the universe. Its power lies in the use of a comparatively small number of assumptions, models, laws and theories to explain a wide range of phenomena, from the incredibly small to the incredibly large. Physics has helped to unlock the mysteries of the universe and provides the foundation of understanding upon which modern technologies and all other sciences are based.

Students learn how an understanding of physics is central to the identification of, and solutions to, some of the key issues facing an increasingly globalised society. They consider how physics contributes to diverse areas in contemporary life, such as engineering, renewable energy generation, communication, development of new materials, transport and vehicle safety, medical science, an understanding of climate change, and the exploration of the universe.

Unit 3: Gravity and Electromagnetism

Students investigate models of motion in gravitational, electric and magnetic fields to explain how forces act at a distance.

Unit 4: Revolutions in Modern Physics

Students use the theory of electromagnetism to explain the production and propagation of electromagnetic waves and investigate how shortcomings in existing theories led to the development of the quantum theory of light and matter, the Special Theory of Relativity, and the Standard Model of particle physics.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Physics ATAR Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 to a C grade.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 leads to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Psychology (ATAR)

Psychology is the scientific study of how people think, feel and act. It aims to answer important questions such as what factors influence human development. While there are other disciplines that overlap with psychology’s main aim to understand humans, psychology is rigorous in its use of scientific method. This allows for systematic exploration into the complexities of human behaviour based on evidence gathered through planned investigations.

This course introduces students to a breadth of knowledge focusing on the psychology of self and others. Psychological knowledge helps us understand factors relating to individuals, such as: cognition, or the way we think; biological bases of behaviour; and personality, the enduring traits that distinguish individuals. Psychological knowledge also helps us understand the way that individuals function within groups. This consists of knowledge associated with socialisation, moral development, the formation of attitudes and also how people relate and communicate. On a larger scale, psychological knowledge can help us to understand how individuals function within different contexts and how this is influenced by culture, shaping people’s values, attitudes and beliefs.

Psychology is very useful, both to individuals assisting us to improve ourselves and our relationships, and to society as a whole. It can be applied to any context in which humans are involved. Through this course, students gain valuable insights and understandings into both themselves and their worlds. Methods of communication studied enhance personal communication skills, both within the field of psychology and in the context of daily life. Students also develop important research skills as they engage in the exploration and evaluation of data to illustrate how empirical procedures are used to examine phenomena such as intelligence and personality.

Unit 3

This unit focuses on the functions of the lobes of the cerebral cortex and examines how messages are transmitted from the brain to the body. It explores how behaviour is influenced by learning and other factors, and the impact of others on individual behaviour. Students examine socialisation processes observed within families and how social background and gender can shape communication styles. Students expand on their knowledge of ethics in psychological research as they engage in detailed investigations.

Unit 4

This unit focuses on developmental and contemporary personality theories, and behaviours observed when individuals are examined in the social context. Students analyse the causes of conformity and obedience and gain an understanding of the factors that shape a sense of community. Students continue to develop their understanding and application of psychological research methods.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Psychology ATAR Units 1 and 2 in Year 11 to a C grade.

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.

Marine & Maritime Studies (General)

“Australia is an island nation, with Western Australia’s mainland and islands having approximately twenty-one thousand kilometres of coastline. It is therefore relevant to Western Australians to study the sea and how people interact with it”

A significant relationship between the marine environment and humans has existed throughout history. Australia is an island nation, with Western Australia’s mainland and islands having approximately twenty-one thousand kilometres of coastline. It is therefore relevant to Western Australians to study the sea and how people interact with it. The Marine and Maritime Studies General course provides students with the opportunity to understand and explore this relationship, and the importance of developing and maintaining a sustainable future.

The Marine and Maritime Studies General course draws from a diverse range of disciplines, including science, technology and the humanities. It provides students with opportunities to engage in unique theoretical and practical learning experiences, and to equip them with a broad range of skills and knowledge.

Outcome 1 – Marine and Maritime Knowledge
Outcome 2 – Marine and Maritime Skills
Outcome 3– Marine and Maritime Application

Unit 3

This unit investigates Western Australian marine ecosystems, with a focus on estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs and seagrass meadows. Students identify the key species and food webs for each of these ecosystems, as well as examine adaptations of organisms living in mangrove ecosystems. Environmental and resource management will focus on aquaculture as a solution to declining fish.

Unit 4

This unit examines global surface ocean currents, atmospheric circulation systems and the impact of climate change on global sea levels, thermohaline circulation and marine ecosystems. The process of coastal erosion and coastal engineering structures is studied. Students study types of marine tourism activities with a focus on the importance and impacts of ecotourism.

Extra Cost: This course/subject attracts a fee of $280 and is in addition to 2023 Family Fees. The fee will be invoiced on your family fee account and is payable in full on the 17th February 2023.

Prerequisite:  Nil

Human Biology (General)

In the Human Biology General course, students learn about themselves, relating the structure of the different body systems to their function and understanding the interdependence of these systems in maintaining life. Reproduction, growth and development of the unborn baby are studied to develop an understanding of the effects of lifestyle choices. Students will engage in activities exploring the coordination of the musculoskeletal, nervous and endocrine systems. They explore the various methods of transmission of diseases and the responses of the human immune system. Students research new discoveries that help increase our understanding of the causes and spread of disease in a modern world.

Unit 3

This unit explores bones, muscles, nerves and hormones and how they maintain the body to act in a coordinated manner. Students investigate the musculoskeletal, nervous and endocrine systems through dissections and practical examination of reflexes, vision, hearing and skin sensitivity. They are encouraged to interpret and communicate their findings in a variety of ways.

Unit 4

This unit explores the causes and spread of disease and how humans respond to invading pathogens. Students investigate transmission of diseases using second-hand data from a historical perspective and recent global incidences. They consider how data is used to inform personal decisions and community responses related to disease prevention and control. They are encouraged to use ICT to interpret and communicate findings in a variety of ways.

Prerequisite: Nil

Pathway: Units 1 and 2 lead to Units 3 and 4 in Year 12.