Quick summary: Students discover how Indigenous Australians use fire to manage Country. They investigate the question after viewing videos about cool burning in a tropical savanna. Students work in groups to research one ‘line of inquiry’ question and compile a report. They then produce two checklists that could be used as tools to improve management strategies for the Australian tropical savanna.
- Students understand how Australia’s indigenous people use fire to manage the savanna.
- Students recognise that Australia’s indigenous people use their knowledge of seasons and local conditions to produce cool burns that are sensitive to local ecosystems.
- Students understand that cool burns have a lower ecological impact than the more damaging wildfires which may occur later in the season.
General Capabilities: Intercultural understanding, critical and creative thinking.
Australian Curriculum content descriptions:
Year 5 Geography:
- The influence of people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, on the environmental characteristics of Australian places (ACHASSK112)
- The environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of a place and the management of spaces within them (ACHASSK113)
- The impact of bushfires or floods on environments and communities, and how people can respond (ACHASSK114)
Year 6 Geography:
Topic: Cool burning
Time required: 95 min
Level of teacher scaffolding: High – introduce new content, assist with student research, confirm that students understand the communication project, assess the achievement of student outcomes.
Resources required: Internet, Student Worksheet, digital projector or Smartboard, Fact Sheet - How do Indigenous Australians use fire? Info Sheet - Indigenous Australians using fire to care for Country
Digital technology opportunities: Observe current status of wildfires using the North Australian Fire Information www.firenorth.org.au/nafi2/, digital sharing capabilities.
Homework and extension opportunities: Investigate bushfire mitigation strategies in your state or local area.
Assessment: The rubric attached provides one method for monitoring students’ learning based on chosen criteria and guidelines.
Keywords: Indigenous Australians, wildfire, bushfire, prescribed burns, cool burns, seasons, adaptation, savanna, ecology
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum. There is great diversity in histories and cultures among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Australia. This resource includes investigations into and information about some of them. It has an emphasis, but not an exclusive one, on the histories and cultural practices of the Aboriginal peoples of the Northern Territory. It is underpinned by consultation with Aboriginal communities in various parts of Australia.
Special thanks to:
Fish River Station, John Daly, Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith, Peter Jacklyn, Peter McConchie, Dr Tommy George, David Claudie, Dale Musgrave, Carolyn George and Victor Steffensen.
Made possible by: