Skills in History and Geography (ACARA, IB DP and our Dept)

skills-abilities-knowledgeBelow are the History and Geography skills from three different frameworks / sources: The Australian National Curriculum, our own Humanities Department and the IB DP Group 3, History and Geography. It’s very useful to have them all together as they confirm and compliment each other.

History Skills Nat. Curr.

Skills needed in the Australian National Curriculum History, by the end of Year 10:

Content related

  • Refer to key events, the actions of individuals and groups, and beliefs and values
  • Students sequence events and developments within a chronological framework
  • Identify relationships between events across different places and periods of time
  • Explain patterns of change and continuity over time.
  • Use historical terms and concepts

Critical analysis

  • Analyse sources to identify motivations, values and attitudes.
  • Analyse and draw conclusions about their usefulness, taking into account their origin, purpose, and context.
  • Analyse the causes and effects of events and developments and explain their relative importance.


  • Develop and justify their own interpretations about the past.
  • Explain the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives.
  • Explain different interpretations of the past and recognise the evidence used to support these interpretations.
  • Identified evidence in sources

Research and synthesis

  • Develop, evaluate and modify questions to frame an historical inquiry.
  • Process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions.
  • Develop texts, particularly explanations and discussions, incorporating historical argument.
  • Reference sources

Geography Skills Nat. Curr.

Skills needed in the Australian National Curriculum Geography, by the end of Year 10:

  • Explain how the interaction between geographical processes at different scales change the characteristics of places.
  • Predict changes in the characteristics of places and environments over time, across space and at different scales
  • Explain the predicted consequences of change.
  • Identify, analyse and explain significant interconnections between people, places and environments
  • Explain changes that result from interconnections and their consequences
  • Propose explanations for distributions, patterns and spatial variations over time, across space and at different scales
  • Identify and describe significant associations between distribution patterns
  • Evaluate alternative views on a geographical challenge and alternative strategies to address this challenge using environmental, social and economic criteria
  • Use initial research to develop and modify geographically significant questions to frame an inquiry.
  • Collect and critically evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources
  • Select relevant geographical data and information to answer inquiry questions
  • Accurately represent multi-variable data in a range of appropriate graphic forms, including special purpose maps that use a suitable scale and comply with cartographic conventions.
  • Evaluate data to make generalisations and inferences, propose explanations for significant patterns, trends, relationships and anomalies, and predict outcomes.
  • Synthesise data and information to draw reasoned conclusions, taking into account alternative points of view.
  • Present findings, arguments and explanations using relevant geographical terminology and graphic representations in a range of appropriate communication forms.
  • Evaluate their findings and propose action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations.
  • Explain the predicted outcomes and consequences of a proposal.

Humanities skills

Below is a document that was created some years ago by our Humanities department.

  •  To read, construct and analyse maps
  •  (To understand spatial concepts. It helps you navigate the world. We can make sense of the world and represent it BUT it is a snapshot of time..the world has changed and is changing, is a unique way to look at data. A map is an interpretation of the world on a smaller scale so we can see it all. They make information that is usually not accessible is made accessible allows us to challenge representations)
  • Apply BOLTSS (framework & presentation)
  • Grid referencing (life skill)
  • Introducing different types of maps (visualising)
  •  Constructing and analysing graphs
  •  (Information is often represented in graphs and so it is important to be able to interpret the meaning and identify patterns are emerging)
  • Identifying and recognising spatial patterns
  • (Appreciating how humans organise themselves and their world. Appreciating that patterns emerge and that relationships)
  • Fieldwork
  • (Is a unique method in which to collect data: measuring, sketching, representing, observing)
  • GIS (collecting and representing data…problem solving tool)
  • (Equipping for the workplace. In an increasingly complex technological world this allows students to feel comfortable with the technology)
  • Mapping of data
  • (Another way of students understanding the content. Allows us to understand how the world has changed over time; contextualising)
  • Constructing timelines
  • (some events in history affect each other and therefore it is important to place these in order; sequencing helps us to understand how history has unfolded; it helps us to understand chronology; helps us to links the past to the present)
  • Identifying primary and secondary sources
  •  (appreciating perspective, to allow appreciation of bias, allows students to eliminate bias, allows students to question, to appreciate the )
  •  Interrogating and questioning sources and evidence. (helps to formulate hypothesis and formulating an investigation, making inferences)
  •  Accessing and assessing diverse sources of information
  •  (attribution, using authority, validating your thinking, diversity of perspectives, appreciated that there is a diversity of the methods of representing history and information; different points of view)

Civics and Citizenship

  • Discerning between forms of government (because it allows students to understand that they are citizens… the society that they live in and appreciate power, systems and culture)
  • Interpreting messages (identify different viewpoints, to be aware of manipulation techniques, to be aware of how fear is created; how issues are interpreted in the community)
  • Making connections between causes and effect (students need to be able to make connections and realize action/reaction, allows students to predict and evaluate)
  • Identify and practice ‘good’ citizenship (allows them to contribute positively to their families and communities)

IB DP History Skills

Group 3 aims

The aims of all subjects in group 3, individuals and societies are to:

  • encourage the systematic and critical study of: human experience and behaviour; physical, economic and social environments; the history and development of social and cultural institutions
  • develop in the student the capacity to identify, to analyse critically and to evaluate theories, concepts and arguments about the nature and activities of the individual and society
  • enable the student to collect, describe and analyse data used in studies of society, to test hypotheses and interpret complex data and source material
  • promote the appreciation of the way in which learning is relevant to both the culture in which the student lives, and the culture of other societies
  • develop an awareness in the student that human attitudes and opinions are widely diverse and that a study of society requires an appreciation of such diversity
  • enable the student to recognize that the content and methodologies of the subjects in group 3 are contestable and that their study requires the toleration of uncertainty.

History aims

The aims of the history course at SL and HL are to:

  • promote an understanding of history as a discipline, including the nature and diversity of its sources, methods and interpretations
  • encourage an understanding of the present through critical reflection upon the past
  • encourage an understanding of the impact of historical developments at national, regional and international levels
  • develop an awareness of one’s own historical identity through the study of the historical experiences of different cultures.

Geography aims

In addition, the aims of the geography syllabus at SL and HL are to enable students to:

  • develop an understanding of the interrelationships between people, places, spaces and the environment
  • develop a concern for human welfare and the quality of the environment, and an understanding of the need for planning and sustainable management
  • appreciate the relevance of geography in analysing contemporary issues and challenges, and develop a global perspective of diversity and change.