VCE Environmental Science

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE UNIT 3 & 4

IMPORTANT NOTE:
To sustain reasonable class sizes this subject will only be offered every second year (ie. 2019, 2021) so this should be taken into account when planning course options.  Only the Unit 3 & 4 sequence will be offered and it will be available for students in both Year 11 and Year 12 to study.  Entry requirements as well as recommended pathways for this subject are detailed below.

 

If you will be in Year 11 in the year VCE Environmental Science is offered follow one of the pathways suggested above. Year 10 Environmental Science and VCE Biology Unit 1 are suggested as the best preparation for this course but entry from any Year 10 Science is possible. You will need to meet the school’s requirements for accelerated studies to study a Unit 3 &4 sequence in Year 11.

 

If you will be in Year 12 in the year VCE Environmental Science is offered follow one of the pathways suggested above.  Year 10 Environmental Science and VCE Biology Unit 1 are suggested as the best preparation for this course but any previous VCE Science experience would be adequate.

Other subjects that complement Environmental Science are:

Geography Biology | Chemistry | Agriculture and Horticulture

 

 

Unit 3: How can biodiversity and development be sustained?

In this unit 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. They analyse the processes that threaten biodiversity and apply scientific principles in evaluating biodiversity management strategies for a selected threatened endemic species. Students use a selected environmental science case study with reference to the principles of sustainability and environmental management to explore management at an Earth systems scale, including impact on the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.

Areas of Study
•    Is maintaining biodiversity worth a sustained effort?
•    Is development sustainable?

Outcomes
During this unit, you will learn to explain the importance of Earth’s biodiversity, analyse the threats to biodiversity, and evaluate management strategies to maintain biodiversity.  You will also explain the principles of sustainability and environmental management and analyse and evaluate a selected environmental science case study.

Unit 4: How can the impacts of human energy use be reduced?

In this unit 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. Students examine scientific concepts and principles associated with energy, compare efficiencies of the use of renewable and non-renewable energy resources, and consider how science can be used to reduce the impacts of energy production and use. They distinguish between natural and enhanced greenhouse effects and discuss their impacts on living things and the environment, including climate change.

Areas of Study
•    What is a sustainable mix of energy sources?
•    Is climate predictable?

Outcomes
During this unit, you will learn to compare the advantages and disadvantages of a range of energy sources, evaluate the sustainability of their use, and explain the impacts of their use.  You will also 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.

Unit 3 or 4: Practical Investigation

A student-designed or adapted investigation related to biodiversity and/or energy use is undertaken in either Unit 3 or Unit 4, or across both Units 3 and 4. The investigation is to relate to knowledge and skills developed across Units 3 and 4 and may be undertaken by the student through laboratory work and/or fieldwork.

Assessment for Units 3 & 4
•    School assessed coursework for Unit 3 contributes 20 per cent to the study score

•    School assessed coursework for Unit 4 contributes 20 per cent to the study score
•    Unit 3 and/or 4 Practical Investigation contributes 10 per cent to the study score
•    An end-of-year examination contributes 50 per cent to the study score

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