Social Sciences Resources for Secondary Schools

The humanities and social science curriculum sets out to teach young Australians about the world they live in. Our resources help students to delve deeper when learning social science. 

We offer fake news teaching resources to help students investigate what is real in a world of misinformation, fake news and conspiracy theories. We have a series for teaching media literacy that looks at issues of our time, including consumerism and democracy. Some resources take a cross-curricula approach to Sustainable Living and Environmental Education.  

A fundamental part of the social sciences curriculum is for students to engage in high-level thinking skills needed for the 21st century. Essential Resources has books to guide thoughtful discussion and provide strategies for social inquiry.  

Explore our teacher resources for Australian secondary schools! 


What is humanities and social sciences? 

According to the Australian Curriculum, the humanities and social sciences “are the study of human behaviour and interaction in social, cultural, environmental, economic and political contexts.” There is a focus on historical and contemporary contexts, ranging from personal to global levels, and an examination of future challenges. 

The learning areas include history, geography, civics and citizenship and economics and business.  

Through studying the primary social science curriculum, Australian children will develop an understanding of four Key Ideas: 

  • Who we are, who came before us, and the traditions and values that have shaped societies. 
  • How societies and economies operate and how they are changing over time. 
  • The ways people, places, ideas and events are perceived and connected. 
  • How people exercise their responsibilities, participate in society and make informed decisions. 

The fundamental skills developed by studying humanities and social sciences in primary school include critical thinking, questioning, problem-solving, communication, decision making and adaptability.  

Why is media literacy important? 

The Australian Government Communications and Media Authority explains why media literacy is important. 

“Promoting media literacy is key to ensure that we are equipped with tools to make informed choices about media and communications services and to enable people to participate effectively in the digital economy.”

Today’s young people are exposed to many sources of information. Media literacy helps them to cut through the noise and identify reliable sources of information. This involves not only comprehending the message but also questioning the authenticity of it.  

Furthermore, media literacy is a means of teaching. Media literacy encourages students to question, gather information, critique and make judgements. Not only are these skills laid out in the curriculum. They are also critical skills required of 21st century citizens in the classroom, living room, workplace and voting booth. 

What is an example of a fake news activity for students? 

‘Photos under the spotlight’ is an example of a fake news activity for students. It is from Essential Resources’ Exploring Fake News by Dale Sutherland. 

The activity involves students, firstly, gathering a range of online photographs on a subject that is currently in the news. They use a variety of sources of information, including reputable news outlets, social media and other websites. 

Students then take a close look at each photo and its caption. Using the below ideas and others, they must work out which photographs are accurate or fake: 

  • Where did you find the photo? 
  • Is a photographer’s or agency’s name attached? 
  • If it has a caption, is it true? 
  • Do the shadows and reflections match up with the figures in the photo?