The Junior Years program at Springside West Secondary College, provides students with a broad overview of the various subjects and pathways on offer, whilst also meeting the requirements of the Victorian Curriculum. All students undertake a core program for two years. Students’ loads are split between year-long courses, along with semester-based subjects in the Arts, Design and Technology faculties.
The following table gives a broad overview of the course structure for students in the junior years:
The following sections outline the opportunities students will have in each of the subjects as highlighted in the table above.
The Year 7 program is designed to develop a strong foundation for each student in each of the essential learning areas as outlined in the Victorian Curriculum. The bulk of the Teaching and Learning program is based around core subject areas. Students are however, provided with an opportunity to begin exploring a variety of courses in the Arts, Design and Technology faculties. These rotate throughout the year with students undertaking each subject for one semester only. Italian is a compulsory Languages course which all students undertake throughout both Year 7 and 8. Please note that there are no student-choice electives offered in Year 7.
Throughout the first unit of English, students study the novel Holes by Louis Sachar looking at the themes and social issues explored by the author. They begin to engage in critical text response writing, consolidating their ability to use the TEEL structure to form paragraphs. Students also engage in a media analysis unit, considering how the media is used to present facts and opinions. They look at letters to the editor, creating their own opinion piece to express a point of view on a current issue. As part of their regular homework, students explore a range of grammatical components in the English Language, including nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, prepositions, and tenses. In the second semester, students continue to develop their analytical writing skills, completing a text response essay on the novel Once by Morris Gleitzman. Within this unit, the students focus on strengthening their ability to incorporate historical, social and cultural contexts into their analysis writing. They also begin to introduce explicit references to how the author has constructed meaning through the use of literary devices. Students also work on a unit of creative writing, using the novel The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett as inspiration. In this unit, students develop a greater awareness of characterization, the use of descriptive language and imagery in writing, as well as process writing.
The Junior Mathematics program at Springside West Secondary College, utilises an online platform called Maths Pathway as the basis for the teaching and learning program. Maths Pathway is a data-driven model based on a continuum approach to learning and teaching. This program is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum and has been implemented to support student learning in Year 7 Mathematics. Using the Maths Pathway program, students complete diagnostic testing in advance to identify their competencies as well as any gaps that may be present in their knowledge. Through a modular framework, students are provided with the opportunity to select content that is targeted towards their point of need. Students complete tests following each of the two-week learning cycles where their Growth, Effort and Accuracy are evaluated. This data is used to inform the goals that each student will develop with their teacher. Mini-lessons, rich learning tasks and week-long projects are also utilised to support students in developing a deep understanding of what they are learning.
As part of the Introduction to Year 7 Science topic, students familiarise themselves with the laboratory through a range of activities relating to safety. Students also develop skills in utilising the Bunsen burner. In Biology, students investigate how living things are classified, including the design and use of classification keys. Trophic groups are explored in Ecosystems, including how to illustrate ecological relationships using a food web. In the Physics unit on Forces, students explore the range of forces acting on objects and the effects that they have. Within this unit, students begin to apply their understanding and skills of scientific report writing. In the Chemistry unit on mixtures and separation, students investigate different types of separation techniques. States of matter and the particle model theory are also introduced. In the Earth’s Resources unit, students investigate the different types of resources used by man, classifying them into renewable and non-renewable categories. Students also identify the advantages and disadvantages of using each type of resource. Predictable phenomena observed on the Earth, such as seasons, tides and eclipses are explained using the relationships between the Earth, Moon and Sun in the unit on Earth and Space Science.
Students complete one Civics and Citizenship unit and two Geography units in Semester 1. In the Place and Liveability (Geography) Unit, students explore the factors that influence the liveability of places and compare the liveability of different places. They develop their mapping and graphing skills and learn to identify and explain data using simple map and graph types. In the Making a Change (Civics and Citizenship) Unit, students explore features of Australia’s democracy, Australian values and identity, as well as secularism and multiculturalism in Australia. As part of the Water in the World (Geography) Unit, students explain the variety of uses and value of water for people and assess the impact of water scarcity and the effectiveness of water management strategies used in Australia and Africa. Throughout the second semester, students complete one Economics and Business unit and three History units. In the Economics Choices (Economics and Business) Unit, students examine the ways consumers and producers respond to and influence each other in the market. Students explain the price mechanism and justify their economic choices as a consumer. In the three History units, students develop their skills in chronology, source analysis and significance. In the Ancient Australia unit, they start to consult primary and secondary sources to develop theories and explanations about Ancient Australia and the practices of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. During the Ancient Greek (History) Unit, students explore the beliefs, values and practices of ancient Greece and the impact that this had on daily life and customs. As part of the Ancient China (History) Unit, students use evidence to develop historical arguments and assess the significance of key individuals and events.
HEALTH & PHYSICAL EDUCATION
The Year 7 Health and Physical Education subject focuses on students enhancing their own and others’ health, safety, wellbeing and physical activity participation in varied and changing contexts. In the first semester, students focus on the aspects of Respectful Relationships and the complications for individuals suffering from the side effects of smoking cigarettes and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. Students develop skills and tactics by participating in the following sports: Basketball, Netball, AFL and Soccer. Throughout the second semester, students continue focusing on enhancing their own and others’ health, safety, wellbeing and physical activity participation in varied and changing contexts. They also study aspects such as their own nutrition, the health status of Australians, puberty, and fitness components. Students develop practical skills and decision making by participating in the following sports: Volleyball, Athletics, Cricket and Tennis.
Throughout the first semester of Italian, students are introduced to Italian language and culture. They begin by studying greetings and introductions, school life in Italy, and being able to express likes and dislikes. Students learn a range of verbs in order to be able to ask how someone is, give dates and talk about likes and dislikes. They also explore cultural and intercultural awareness by exploring soccer and school life in Italy. As part of their regular course work, students participate in various listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks. They participate in role-plays, listening tasks, and end of unit tests. Throughout the second semester of Italian, students continue being exposed to the Italian language and its culture. They study topics such as family and animals where they learn how to describe people, use colours and tell the time. Students continue to work on verb conjugation, adjectives, possessive adjectives and the indefinite article. They also explore cultural and intercultural awareness by discovering family celebrations in Italy and learn about the history of Ancient Rome. Students continue to take part in role-plays, write a blog in Italian, participate in listening tasks, and end of unit tests.
VISUAL ARTS [Semester-long subject]
Students explore a variety of artforms in both realistic and abstract styles to gain an understanding of different visual languages. They develop skills using a variety of materials and techniques, whilst maintaining a visual diary to record ideas and develop artworks based on a theme. Students study an Australian artist and look at the way Australian art has changed over time, presenting their research to the class through an oral presentation.
DRAMA [Semester-long subject]
Students undertake units on Physical Theatre and Comedy. The focus of the Mime unit is to investigate and demonstrate how performers use movement to communicate a story to an audience. Students demonstrate knowledge of non-verbal communication methods through the study of physical theatre as a distinct art form, beginning with the history of the theatrical style through to the devising performance process as a whole. Students develop skills in numerous acting techniques, devising controlled movement rehearsal processes to incorporate particular physical theatre exercises and body language into their own original Dreamtime story performances. The focus of the Comedy unit is the conventions of different styles of comedy and how they relate to the theatre. Students demonstrate their knowledge of the history and elements of Slapstick, Farce and Satire, and develop the writing and performance skills associated with sketch comedy.
RESISTANT MATERIALS [Semester-long subject]
Design and Technology allows students to explore their creativity using a range of materials and techniques. Students have the opportunity to design and make products that respond to a wide variety of problems within a range of contexts. Resistant Materials specifically develops students’ design skills as well as their practical skills, focusing particularly on problem solving and evaluation skills. In Resistant Materials students are introduced to using wood, metal and plastic to create a variety of outcomes in response to the design briefs set.
ROBOTICS [Semester-long subject]
The Year 8 program continues building upon the essential learning undertaken by students in Year 7. Once again, students study a core program, which includes two new semester-long courses in the Arts, as well as in the Design and Technology faculties. Italian continues to be a compulsory subject for students in Year 8.
Throughout the first unit of English, students continue to refine their analytical writing skills and the TEEL essay structure, completing a text response on the novel Parvana, by Deborah Ellis. Students are introduced to the historical context of the war in Afghanistan and analyse the themes in relation to the social and economic issues that occur as a result. Students then engage in a Media Analysis unit, where they investigate current issues in the media. They develop their interpretation of a point-of-view and their ability to identify arguments within an opinion piece. Students review the persuasive language used when presenting an argument and utilise this when creating an opinion piece of their own. They complete the unit with an oral presentation designed to present their point-of-view on a chosen issue. Throughout the second semester, students participate in the comprehensive study of the novel The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Students continue to refine the TEEL essay structure and their ability to embed quotes and examples from the text in order to support their interpretations and analysis. Students then apply their knowledge and understanding of the plot and characters within The Giver, along with the literary devices utilised by the author, to a piece of creative writing. Students begin to contemplate the audience and purpose of their writing so they can utilise appropriate language and content to meet their target group and aims. Students complete the semester with a film analysis of the movie, Paper Planes. Students are introduced to film techniques such as; camera angles, lighting and soundtrack, as well as mise en scene.
The Junior Mathematics program at Springside West Secondary College, utilises an online platform called Maths Pathway as the basis for the teaching and learning program. Throughout Year 8, students continue to engage with the Maths Pathway program, working from a data-driven model based on a continuum approach to learning and teaching. This program is aligned with the Victorian Curriculum. Using the Maths Pathway program, students complete diagnostic testing in advance to identify their competencies as well as any gaps that may be present in their knowledge. Through a modular framework, students are provided with the opportunity to select content that is targeted towards their point of need. Students complete tests following each of the two-week learning cycles where their Growth, Effort and Accuracy are evaluated. This data is used to inform the goals that each student will develop with their teacher. Mini-lessons, rich learning tasks and week-long projects are also utilised to support students in developing a deep understanding of what they are learning.
In Year 8, students study a range of units across the various fields of Science. In the Chemistry unit, students are introduced to the Periodic table. They explore the structure of atoms and learn about elements, compounds and molecules. Students study the differences between physical and chemical reactions and learn to write worded chemical equations. In the Physics topic, students learn about the concept of energy through light, sound and heat. These concepts are further explored in practical tasks using plane and curved mirrors, light-refraction/reflection and eye anatomy. In the Biology unit, students investigate the structure and roles of cellular systems, cells and organelles. Students study the body systems including the circulatory, digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems. In the Earth Science unit, students investigate the different types of rocks: metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary. Chemical weathering and erosion of rocks is also covered.
Students complete one Business and Economics unit and two Geography units in Semester 1. In the Landforms and Landscapes (Geography) Unit, students explore the processes that shape coastal landscapes and explain management strategies used to address various impacts. They develop skills in collecting and analysing primary data through participation in fieldwork at the Bayside Coastline. In the Entrepreneurship (Business and Economics) Unit, students explain enterprising behaviours that lead to successful businesses. They draw conclusions from analysing different types of graphs. As part of the Changing Nations Unit, students explore the causes and consequences of urbanisation and compare these issues between Australia and the United States of America. They also explain the challenges associated with the planning of Australia’s urban features. Students complete one Civics and Citizenship unit and three History units in Semester 2. In each of the History units, students will develop their skills in chronology, source analysis and historical significance. In the Medieval Europe Unit, they examine various changes that took place in society, as well as the role of different social groups. Students also explain the cause and effects of the Black Death. As part of the Shogunate Japan Unit, students explore the Feudal System and analyse the impacts of civil conflicts that occurred. In the Spanish Conquest of the Americas Unit, students describe the society and culture of different groups within America before Spanish colonisation. They use evidence to develop historical arguments to assess the significance of key individuals and events. During the Values, Parties and Elections (Civics and Citizenships) Unit, students explain the different values and identities that shape political parties.
HEALTH & PHYSICAL EDUCATION
Year 8 Health and Physical Education focuses on developing respectful relationships, mental health, wellbeing and drug education. These topics allow students to develop their own knowledge as well as identify the impact they have on the wider community. Students develop their teamwork, practical skills and leadership by participating in Softball, Basketball and in a Netball Sport Education Physical Education Program (SEPEP). Throughout the second semester, students learn about how puberty affects individuals differently and what to expect during this time. Students will also learn about coping strategies and sources of where to seek help. In addition to this, students develop an in-depth knowledge about the benefits of Physical Activity and the potential consequences of inactivity. Students will get to further refine and develop their sport specific and interpersonal skills in AFL, Touch Rugby, Soccer, Badminton and Ultimate Frisbee.
Throughout this year of Italian, students continue being exposed to the Italian language and its culture. They study topics such as hobbies, the weather, and talking about where they live. Students continue to work on verb conjugation of regular and irregular verbs and learn to use prepositions.They also explore cultural and intercultural awareness by learning about cultural aspects of Sicily and Emilia-Romagna, and finding out about what Italians do in their spare time. As part of their regular course work, students participate in various listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks. Throughout the second half of the year, students study topics such as modes of transport and types of food. Students study idiomatic expressions around going places and which method of transport they are using. They also learn to talk about food preferences and asking how much something costs on a menu. Students continue to work on verb conjugations of regular and irregular verbs with an introduction to -ire verbs. They also explore cultural and intercultural awareness by learning about the modes of transport that are unique to Italy, such as gondole, api and vespe. Students also learn about Italian cuisine and discover the different types of gelato and pasta. As part of their regular course work, students participate in various listening, speaking, reading and writing tasks. They participate in writing and presenting role-plays, complete listening tasks and end of unit tests.
VISUAL COMMUNICATION DESIGN (VCD) [Semester-long subject]
In VCD, students explore their creativity and imagination through the creation of 2D designs using a range of tools, materials and techniques. Over the course of the semester, students develop visual language and concepts by exploring different visual communication methods such as technical drawing and printmaking. Students maintain a visual diary to record ideas and develop works based on a theme. VCD theory sees students learning how to identify, analyse and evaluate how artists and designers from different times and cultures use processes and visual conventions to express ideas and meanings, presenting their research to the class through an oral presentation.
MUSIC [Semester-long subject]
Throughout this semester students develop performance skills and study the fundamentals of music theory, including notation. Students learn to identify the six elements of music: Pitch, Duration, Timbre, Structure, Texture and Dynamics. They explore a range of popular music styles, and analyse songs using the elements as a basis. In the Guitar Skills unit, students develop technique as they play basic chord structures and perform blues-style songs in an ensemble. In the Song Writing unit, students begin to explore and develop songwriting skills. They create and perform music, developing compositional and expressive performance skills.
FOOD STUDIES [Semester-long subject]
In Year 8 students learn about the importance of eating a balanced diet, food allergies, intolerances, foods nutritional values and nutritional loss. Students also learn how to implement the design process to create a product for a specific customer needs and how to use it in both commercial and domestic kitchens. During the practicals, students develop basic cooking skills and knowledge which they will take with them long after they finish school.
TEXTILES [Semester-long subject]
In Year 8 Textiles the students learn a variety of skills such as hand-sewing and machine-sewing as well as experimenting with a variety of textiles techniques, processes and materials. The students research issues relating to the materials and fibres used in class with a focus on sustainability. All work including activity sheets, design planning, and evaluations is maintained in a visual diary.
ALL YOU CAN BE
The All You Can Be program is a core subject that is facilitated by the Homegroup teacher of each class. The purpose of the program is to assist students in assimilating to life in secondary school, as well as increasing their preparedness to learn. Students learn how to use their planner, as well as accessing the online systems used by teachers as part of the every-day learning program. Throughout the junior years, students also look at issues around bullying, cyber-safety, stress, and career aspirations.