Stage 1 | Subject outline | Version control

Outdoor Education Stage 1
Subject outline

Version 1.0
For teaching in 2021.  Accredited in August 2019 for teaching at Stage 1 from 2020.

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Stage 1 | Subject outline | Subject description

Subject description

Outdoor Education is a 10-credit subject or a 20-credit subject at Stage 1.

Through the study of three focus areas — environment and conservation; planning and management; and personal and social growth and development — students develop skills and understanding in preparation and planning for outdoor experiences, risk management, and conservation practices, and develop their teamwork and practical outdoor skills.

Students develop an understanding of ecosystems and the impacts of human actions and decisions through the study of natural environments and wilderness areas. They develop knowledge and understanding of environmental systems and their conservation.

The learning experiences that take place in a variety of locations are intended to enable students to develop an appreciation of their place in, and their impact on, environments. As they spend time learning in natural environments, students develop knowledge and apply planning and risk-management skills for outdoor journeys that ensures they travel safely. They also apply these skills to plan for minimal impact as they move through natural environments.

The study of Stage 1 Outdoor Education provides students with opportunities to experience personal growth and to develop social skills, self-confidence, and teamwork skills. They evaluate and reflect on their own learning progression and skills development, and working with others in groups, as well as their relationship with and connection to nature.

The development of a relationship with natural environments can impact positively on students’ health and well-being, and can foster a lifelong connection with nature and a commitment to responsible activity when interacting with natural environments.

In the context of this subject, the term ‘natural environment’ refers to an ecological unit that encompasses living and non-living things occurring naturally, with minimal influence from humans. It is recognised that the natural environments where learning is intended to take place in this subject will have varying degrees of naturalness. The term ‘natural environment’ is also used to contrast with urban or built environments that may include green spaces or coastal areas.


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Capabilities

The capabilities connect student learning within and across subjects in a range of contexts.

The SACE identifies seven capabilities.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Capabilities | Literacy

Literacy

Students extend and apply their literacy capability by, for example:

  • comparing different environmental perspectives and impacts on the environment
  • evaluating and reflecting on personal experiences in natural environments
  • communicating about the connections with and experiences in the natural environment, considering a range of perspectives, including personal and Indigenous
  • developing and using language and terminology appropriate for outdoor activities and natural environments. 

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Capabilities | Numeracy

Numeracy

Students extend and apply their numeracy capability by, for example:

  • observing and recording evidence of the impact of outdoor activities on ecosystems
  • observing, collecting, and analysing data, such as data in a report from an environmental study
  • calculating distances and times for appropriate route planning
  • costing and budgeting of outdoor journeys. 

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Capabilities | Information and communication technology (ICT) capability

Information and communication technology (ICT) capability

Students extend and apply their information and communication technology capability by, for example:

  • using digital technologies in a variety of forms to demonstrate their understanding of environmental systems and issues
  • designing and using skills audits
  • identifying and using relevant applications for navigation, mapping, and recording data
  • creating online journals or skills folios to collect evidence, e.g. photos, movie clips, onscreen recordings, blogs, vlogs, annotations.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Capabilities | Critical and creative thinking

Critical and creative thinking

Students extend and apply their critical and creative thinking capability by, for example:

  • planning, designing, reflecting on, analysing, and evaluating outdoor experiences
  • applying reflective practice processes for the development of personal and practical skills
  • identifying responsibilities and risk-management strategies
  • demonstrating problem-solving skills when faced with challenging situations in natural environments
  • recognising the impact of humans on the environments in which they are engaging in outdoor activities
  • evaluating and developing conservation strategies. 

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Capabilities | Personal and social capability

Personal and social capability

Students extend and apply their personal and social capability by, for example:

  • developing self-confidence and team skills to productively contribute to successful outcomes in group contexts
  • planning a journey as a group
  • identifying responsibilities
  • identifying risks
  • developing and applying practical skills relevant to outdoor activities and journeys.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Capabilities | Ethical understanding

Ethical understanding

Students extend and apply their ethical understanding capability by, for example:

  • evaluating ethical decisions about the interaction of people and natural environments
  • understanding and developing risk-reduction strategies and emergency-action plans, including casualty management
  • understanding of the legal and moral responsibilities of participants in outdoor activities
  • understanding environmental systems and issues to recognise actions required to promote sustainability of natural environments
  • exploring the natural environment, considering a range of perspectives, including personal, cultural, and Indigenous.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Capabilities | Intercultural understanding

Intercultural understanding

Students extend and apply their intercultural understanding capability by, for example:

  • making recommendations and considering solutions to promote the conservation and sustainability of natural environments in local and global locations
  • exploring and understanding narratives of place, considering personal, Indigenous, historical, economic, and other cultural perspectives
  • acknowledging and respecting the Traditional Owners of Country and adhering to Indigenous cultural protocols as appropriate. 

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, cultures, and perspectives

In partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and schools and school sectors, the SACE Board of South Australia supports the development of high-quality learning and assessment design that respects the diverse knowledge, cultures, and perspectives of Indigenous Australians.

The SACE Board encourages teachers to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and perspectives in the design, delivery, and assessment of teaching and learning programs by:

  • providing opportunities in SACE subjects for students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, and contemporary experiences
  • recognising and respecting the significant contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Australian society
  • drawing students’ attention to the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and perspectives from the past and the present
  • promoting the use of culturally appropriate protocols when engaging with and learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.  

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Learning requirements

Learning requirements

The learning requirements summarise the knowledge, skills, and understanding that students are expected to develop and demonstrate through their learning in Stage 1 Outdoor Education.

In this subject, students are expected to:

  1. explore natural environments, considering different perspectives
  2. apply responsibilities and risk-management strategies, to plan safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys
  3. evaluate and demonstrate reflective practice of personal experiences, and personal and social growth in natural environments
  4. evaluate and demonstrate reflective practice of the development and application of practical skills relevant to outdoor activities and journeys
  5. understand and analyse environmental systems and issues to recognise actions required to enhance sustainability of natural environments.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Learning Framework

Learning framework 

Stage 1 Outdoor Education is a 10-credit subject or a 20-credit subject that consists of three interrelated focus areas. Together, the learning through these three focus areas enables students to develop and extend the core skills, knowledge, and understanding required to be safe, active, and informed participants in natural environments. The core skills, knowledge, and understanding are integrated in each of the focus areas and developed through experiential learning in the context of activities and journeys in natural environments. Students study all three focus areas:

  • Focus Area 1: Environment and conservation
  • Focus Area 2: Planning and management
  • Focus Area 3: Personal and social growth and development.
The interrelationship of the focus areas is shown in the diagram below.

Outdoor activities might include, for example, bushwalking, canoeing, rock climbing, and surfing. Outdoor journeys involve human-powered activities between more than one site.

For a 10-credit subject, students undertake a range of outdoor activities and journeys. At least one journey should be undertaken, with a duration of at least 3 days in the field.

For a 20-credit subject, students undertake a range of outdoor activities and journeys. At least two journeys should be undertaken, each with a duration of at least 3 days in the field.

The learning framework for Stage 1 Outdoor Education

 

Skills, knowledge, and understanding for learning in natural environments

Students develop an appreciation of their place in natural environments through learning experiences that take place in a range of locations. As they spend time learning in natural environments, students develop a range of skills, knowledge, and understanding to support and manage safe, sustainable, and responsive experiences in natural environments.

Students develop planning skills, and consider risk management and relevant practical skills for outdoor experiences that enable them to travel in a safe and environmentally sustainable way through natural environments. Through these experiences, students develop self-confidence and group skills to productively contribute to successful outcomes, and use critical and creative thinking skills when applying reflective practice processes to develop and grow their practical and personal skills.

Students develop the following skills, knowledge, and understanding through the study of the three focus areas.

Preparation and planning

  • develop an understanding of the natural environment to be explored
  • make planning choices, including identifying equipment that is fit for purpose
  • identify the practical and outdoor skills required for specific activities and journeys, and participate in appropriate training (some technical practical skills would need to be learnt prior to application in the natural environment to ensure the safety of all students, e.g. rock-climbing and kayaking skills); examples of skills include:
    • navigational skills
    • route planning
    • selection of appropriate equipment and clothing
    • minimal-impact camping skills
    • consideration of appropriate food and nutrition
    • technical skills relevant to the activity, e.g. belaying techniques, knots, paddling.
  • consider likely risk scenarios in natural environments and consider the consequences
  • develop personal capabilities and apply learning and skills to real-world experiences in natural environments.

Managing risk

  • understand the concepts of risks in natural environments
  • plan risk-reduction strategies and emergency-action plans, including casualty management
  • develop an understanding of the legal and moral responsibilities of outdoor activities.

Teamwork and decision-making

  • identify and apply effective teamwork appropriate to the circumstances
  • develop problem-solving skills during outdoor activities and journeys
  • value and encourage positive individual contributions to group decision-making in natural environments.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Learning Framework | Focus Area 1: Environment and conservation

Focus Area 1: Environment and conservation

Learning experiences in nature shape students’ understanding of environmental systems and issues, and enhance their decision-making about conservation and sustainability. Through the study of a natural environment, students understand ecosystems and the impacts of human actions and decisions on the natural environment. They evaluate and challenge the concept of a natural environment and compare the relative naturalness of different locations.

Students develop their understanding of a range of different perspectives on the natural environment, e.g. Indigenous, Western, scientific, economic, recreational, and aesthetic, and use this understanding to analyse human interactions with the natural environment. They investigate strategies that positively contribute to conservation and sustainability.

Students transfer their understanding and appreciation of natural environments in local areas through practical opportunities to interact with the environment, and consider appropriate actions and strategies that support conservation and sustainability, and minimise human impacts.

Suggested learning activities

The following learning activities are suggestions only. Teachers may select suitable activities from this list, adapt these activities, or design their own:

  • use a natural history approach (observation, investigation, recording, interpretation, and evaluation) to investigate the impacts on an ecosystem
  • investigate the elements of an environmental system through interaction with the environment
  • observe, record, and analyse data to evaluate the ecological health of an area
  • explore sustainability strategies and land management from a perspective (e.g. Indigenous, Western, scientific, economic, recreational, and aesthetic)
  • observe and record evidence of the impact of outdoor activities on ecosystems
  • collect evidence to evaluate the success of management plans for a specified area
  • make recommendations and develop solutions to promote the conservation and sustainability of a natural environment in a local or global location
  • consider ethical decisions about the interaction of people and a wilderness area.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Learning Framework | Focus Area 2: Planning and management

Focus Area 2: Planning and management

Learning experiences through outdoor activities and journeys in natural environments (refer to the learning framework for minimum requirements) enable students to explore nature and develop relationships that promote conservation, sustainability, and personal and social growth and development.

Through understanding nature, students are motivated to be environmentally engaged and to promote sustainable behaviour and practices in natural environments. The development of relationships with natural environments enables students to appreciate nature for its physical and emotional health-giving properties.

Students apply planning skills to support positive outdoor experiences in nature for themselves and others, through consideration of safety and risk-management practices.

Suggested learning activities

The following learning activities are suggestions only. Teachers may select suitable activities from this list, adapt these activities, or design their own:

  • plan outdoor activities and journeys that develop safe positive, and health-enhancing experiences
  • consider planning and preparation for the outdoors framed through the concept of education in, through, and about movement in the outdoors (Arnold, 19791)
  • design one or more conservation strategies or sustainable practices for a specific location
  • consider the economic, political, and social issues that impact on a wilderness area
  • evaluate and reflect on personal experiences in natural environments
  • consider and apply safety and risk-management strategies to support positive experiences with natural environments.

1 Arnold, PJ 1979, Meaning in movement, sport and physical education, Heinemann, London

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Learning Framework | Focus Area 3: Personal and social growth and development

Focus Area 3: Personal and social growth and development

Learning experiences in natural environments promote students’ personal growth and development of social skills. Experiential learning in nature impacts positively on students’ health and well-being and fosters a lifelong connection with nature and a commitment to responsible activity in natural environments.

Through learning in natural environments, students develop personal meaning, and an appreciation of the role of natural environments in providing life perspective. Learning experiences in natural environments enable students to evaluate and reflect on their own learning progression and skills development, as well as their relationship with nature.

Suggested learning activities

The following learning activities are suggestions only. Teachers may select suitable activities from this list, adapt these activities, or design their own:

  • experience and contribute to strategies in natural environments to promote health, safety and well-being
  • evaluate and reflect on the impact of outdoor activities and journeys on personal health, safety, and well-being
  • evaluate the value of outdoor knowledge and experiences as a medium to develop motivation, confidence, physical competence, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in lifelong physical activities
  • reflect on opportunities to spend time in nature to support physical, social, and emotional well-being.
  • collect evidence of and apply reflective practice of personal learning progression and skills development
  • develop and extend social skills in communicating and working with others
  • collect evidence of and demonstrate reflective practice of group dynamics with others.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Evidence of learning

Evidence of learning

Assessment at Stage 1 is school based.

The following assessment types enable students to demonstrate their learning in Stage 1 Outdoor Education.

  • Assessment Type 1: About Natural Environments
  • Assessment Type 2: Experiences in Natural Environments.

For a 10-credit subject, students provide evidence of their learning through three or four assessments. Each assessment type should have a weighting of at least 20%. Students complete:

  • one or two about natural environments tasks
  • two experiences in natural environments tasks.

For a 20-credit subject, students provide evidence of their learning through six assessments. Each assessment type should have a weighting of at least 20%. Students complete:

  • three about natural environments tasks
  • three experiences in natural environments tasks.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Assessment design criteria

Assessment design criteria

The assessment design criteria are based on the learning requirements and are used by teachers to:

  • clarify for the student what they need to learn
  • design opportunities for students to provide evidence of their learning at the highest possible level of achievement.

The assessment design criteria consist of specific features that:

  • students should demonstrate in their learning
  • teachers look for as evidence that students have met the learning requirements.

For this subject the assessment design criteria are:

  • planning
  • evaluation and reflective practice
  • exploration, understanding, and analysis.

The specific features of these criteria are described below.

The set of assessments, as a whole, must give students opportunities to demonstrate each of the specific features by the completion of study of the subject. 

Planning 

The specific features are as follows:

P1 Planning of safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys.

Evaluation and Reflective Practice 

The specific features are as follows:

ERP1 Reflective practice of personal experiences and social skills in a natural environment.
ERP2 Evaluation and reflective practice of the development and application of practical outdoor skills.

Exploration, Understanding, and Analysis  

The specific features are as follows: 

EUA1 Exploration of the natural environment, considering different perspectives.
EUA2 Understanding and analysis of environmental systems and/or issues to recognise actions required to enhance sustainability of natural environments.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | School assessment

School assessment

The school assessment component for Stage 1 Outdoor Education consists of two assessment types:

  • Assessment Type 1: About Natural Environments
  • Assessment Type 2: Experiences in Natural Environments

Stage 1 | Subject outline | School assessment | assessment-type-1-about-natural-environments

Assessment Type 1: About Natural Environments

For a 10-credit subject, students undertake one or two tasks.

For a 20-credit subject, students undertake three tasks.

Students develop an understanding of environmental systems and issues of potential human impacts on natural environments through investigation of ecosystems and consideration of historical, cultural, and/or personal perspectives of at least one environmental area.

Students explore and analyse human interactions with natural environments to build understanding of the balance between the human uses, potential risks, and conservation and sustainability of the environments.

Assessment tasks may focus on any aspect of environmental systems and human interactions, for example:

  • development of ecological understanding through the study of the natural history of an area
  • exploration of environmental perspectives and impacts on the environment, e.g. Indigenous, scientific, economic, Western perspectives
  • involvement in a revegetation project
  • investigation or participation in conservation strategies to support endangered animal species, e.g. artificial habitats (bat boxes, bird boxes)
  • investigation of animal-control strategies, e.g. exotic and feral species control in an area
  • supporting environmental groups such as Conservation International, Friends of Parks, Trees for Life, or local council initiatives, e.g. weed removal, track maintenance, cane toad management
  • investigation of and/or involvement in sustaining the environment of local adventure activity areas — biking, climbing, kayaking, etc.

Students may present evidence of their learning in various formats, for example:

  • blog or vlog
  • website
  • multimodal presentation
  • report incorporating analysis of observations and data from an environmental study
  • collaborative investigation and presentation.

For a 10-credit subject, the combined evidence should comprise a maximum of 1600 words if written, or 10 minutes if oral, or the equivalent in multimodal form (where 6 minutes is equivalent to 1000 words).

For a 20-credit subject, the combined evidence should comprise a maximum of 3200 words if written, or 20 minutes if oral, or the equivalent in multimodal form (where 6 minutes is equivalent to 1000 words).

For this assessment type, students provide evidence of their learning primarily in relation to the following assessment design criterion:

  • exploration, understanding, and analysis.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | School assessment | Assessment Type 2: Experiences in Natural Environments

Assessment Type 2: Experiences in Natural Environments

For a 10-credit subject, students undertake two tasks.

For a 20-credit subject, students undertake three tasks.

Students plan and undertake outdoor activities and journeys in a group. Students use peer assessment and self-assessment to gather information about the development of their teamwork and practical outdoor skills.

Through experiences engaging in activities and journeys in natural environments (refer to the learning framework for minimum requirements), students develop and apply relevant skills in:

  • critical and creative thinking when planning, reflecting on, analysing, and evaluating outdoor experiences
  • practical outdoor activities
  • observation and data collection
  • sustainable practices
  • risk and safety management.

Students complete skills development tasks that document evidence collected and annotated during their experiences in natural environments, and use this evidence to inform their reflection and evaluation.

Assessment tasks may focus on aspects of human interactions, personal growth and development, and/or sustainability of natural environments, for example:

  • planning for safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys
  • self-assessment and/or peer assessment and reflective practice to gather evidence of development of personal growth and group skills, to then consider improvement strategies
  • undertake skills audit of practical outdoor skills for use throughout activities and journeys to analyse progress, and areas and strategies for improvement
  • journal or diary of experiences, observations, personal reflections, and suggested strategies in relation to environmental sustainability and management
  • collection of information, data, and notes to capture thoughts, reflections, feelings, and observations about personal experiences in natural environments.

Students may present evidence of their learning in various formats, for example:

  • self-assessment and peer assessment tools
  • journals or skills folios to collect evidence using technology, e.g. photos, movie clips, on-screen recordings, blogs, vlogs, annotations
  • written reports
  • multimodal presentations.

For a 10-credit subject, the combined evidence should comprise a maximum of 1600 words if written, or 10 minutes if oral, or the equivalent in multimodal form (where 6 minutes is equivalent to 1000 words).

For a 20-credit subject, the combined evidence should comprise a maximum of 3200 words if written, or 20 minutes if oral, or the equivalent in multimodal form (where 6 minutes is equivalent to 1000 words).

For this assessment type, students provide evidence of their learning primarily in relation to the following assessment design criteria:

  • planning
  • evaluation and reflective practice.

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Performance standards

The performance standards describe five levels of achievement, A to E.

Each level of achievement describes the knowledge, skills, and understanding that teachers refer to in deciding how well students have demonstrated their learning on the basis of the evidence provided.

During the teaching and learning program the teacher gives students feedback on their learning, with reference to the performance standards.

At the student’s completion of study of a subject, the teacher makes a decision about the quality of the student’s learning by:

  • referring to the performance standards
  • taking into account the weighting of each assessment type
  • assigning a subject grade between A and E.

Stage 1 | Subject outline | Performance standards

Performance standards

Stage 1 performance standards for Outdoor Education can be viewed below. You can also download in Word format [DOC 320KB].

To learn more about what performance standards are, how they are used, and other general information, see performance standards and grades

  Planning  Evaluation and Reflective Practice  Exploration, Understanding, and Analysis 

A

In-depth planning of safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys. 

Astute reflective practice of personal experiences and social skills in a natural environment.

Astute evaluation and critically reflective practice of the development and application of practical outdoor skills.

Insightful and thoughtful exploration of the natural environment, considering different perspectives.

Perceptive understanding and critical analysis of environmental systems and/or issues to recognise actions required to enhance sustainability of natural environments. 

B

Mostly in-depth planning of safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys. 

Well-considered reflective practice of personal experiences and social skills in a natural environment.

Well-considered evaluation and mostly critically reflective practice of the development and application of practical outdoor skills. 

Mostly insightful and thoughtful exploration of the natural environment, considering different perspectives.

Well-informed understanding and mostly critical analysis of environmental systems and/or issues to recognise actions required to enhance sustainability of natural environments. 

C

Competent planning of safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys. 

Considered reflective practice of personal experiences and social skills in a natural environment.

Considered evaluation and reflective practice of the development and application of practical outdoor skills. 

Competent exploration of the natural environment, considering different perspectives.

Informed understanding and considered analysis of environmental systems and/or issues to recognise actions required to enhance sustainability of natural environments. 

D

Some planning of safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys. 

Some description of reflective practice of personal experiences and social skills in a natural environment.

Basic reflective practice of the development and application of practical outdoor skills. 

Some exploration of the natural environment, considering different perspectives.

Basic understanding and analysis of some environmental systems and/or issues to recognise actions required to enhance sustainability of natural environments. 

E

Limited planning of some aspects of safe and sustainable outdoor activities and journeys. 

Attempted description of reflective practice of personal experiences and/or social skills in a natural environment.

Attempted description of reflective practice of the development and application of practical outdoor skills. 

Limited exploration of the natural environment, considering one or two perspectives.

Limited understanding and superficial analysis of one or two environmental systems and/or issues to recognise actions required to enhance sustainability of natural environments. 


Stage 1 | Subject outline | Subject changes

Subject changes

Any changes to this subject will be recorded here.