Drouin Secondary College - Course Selection

12 VCE Environmental Science (12SES1)

The Course

VCE Environmental Science enables students to explore the challenges that past and current human interactions with the environment presents for the future by considering how Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere function as interrelated systems. In undertaking this study, students examine how environmental actions affect, and are affected by, ethical, social and political frameworks.

 In Unit 3, students focus on environmental management through the examination and application of sustainability principles. They explore the value and management of the biosphere by examining the concept of biodiversity and the services provided to all living things.

 In Unit 4, students analyse the social and environmental impacts of energy production and use on society and the environment. They explore the complexities of interacting systems of water, air, land and living organisms that influence climate, focusing on both local and global scales, and consider long-term consequences of energy production and use.




Unit 3 Topics

Area of Study 1: Is maintaining biodiversity worth a sustained effort?

In this area of study students examine biodiversity as a means of investigating the management of a single Earth system – the biosphere. 

Area of Study 2: Is development sustainable?

In this area of study students examine the application of environmental science to sustainability and environmental management. 

Unit 4 Topics

Area of Study 1: What is a sustainable mix of energy sources?

In this area of study students examine the concepts associated with the use of different forms of energy by human societies. 

 Area of Study 2: Is climate predictable?

In this area of study students investigate the astronomical, solar, and Earth systems and human-based factors that have altered important relationships between the energy, water and nutrient cycles, resulting in the enhanced greenhouse effect and climate change

Learning and Assessment Activities

A student practical investigation related to biodiversity or energy use from an environmental management perspective is undertaken in either Unit 3 or Unit 4, or across both Units 3 and 4, and is assessed in Unit 4, Outcome 3. The findings of the investigation are presented in a scientific poster format.

 Unit 3:

Outcome 1: Explain the importance of Earth’s biodiversity, analyse the threats to biodiversity, and evaluate management strategies to maintain biodiversity in the context of one selected threatened endemic species.

Outcome 2: Explain the principles of sustainability and environmental management and analyse and evaluate a selected environmental science case study.

 Unit 4:

Outcome 1: Compare the advantages and disadvantages of a range of energy sources, evaluate the sustainability of their use, and explain the impacts of their use on society and the environment.

Outcome 2: Explain the causes and effects of changes to Earth’s climate, compare methods of measuring and monitoring atmospheric changes, and explain the impacts of atmospheric changes on living things and the environment.

These units lead to

Environmental Science can be studied in University as a subject, or may provide valualble support in a range of other Science studies, including Chemistry, Biology, Agriculture, to name a few. 

Special considerations

Costs involved

Materials required

Testbook: Issues of Sustainability. Cost $60 aprox.

 A4 Exercise book

For further information see...

Study design link