Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students plan and produce a communication project that details the benefits of cool burning. They can choose to look at the benefits broadly or focus on specific case studies. Students then categorise the benefits of cool burning into cultural, environmental and economic perspectives. As part of the social benefits they should include aspects of younger people learning Indigenous Australian knowledge from their tribal elders.

Learning goals:

  • Students learn about the environmental, cultural and economic benefits of cool burning.
  • Students create a communication project that synthesises ideas and information learnt from videos.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, ethical understanding, intercultural understanding. 

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 7 English:  

  • Reflect on ideas and opinions about characters, settings and events in literary texts, identifying areas of agreement and difference with others and justifying a point of view (ACELT1620).
  • Discuss aspects oftexts, for example their aesthetic and social value, using relevant and appropriate metalanguage(ACELT1803)
  •  Use comprehension strategies to interpret, analyse and synthesise ideas and information, critiquing ideas and issues from a variety of textual sources (ACELY1723)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)

Year 8 English:

  • Share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments about aspects of literary texts(ACELT1627)
  • Recognise and explain differing viewpoints about the world, cultures, individual people and concerns represented in texts(ACELT1807)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and evaluate texts by reflecting on the validity of content and the credibility of sources, including finding evidence in the text for the author’s point of view (ACELY1734)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)

Syllabus OutcomesEN4-4B, EN4-2A, EN4-5C, EN4-8D

Topic: Cool burning

Time needed: 60 min

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – help students to access resources on the Cool Australia website. Intervene when students get bogged down looking for elusive material.

Resources needed: Computers, the Internet and note paper.

Digital technology opportunity: Students use computers and appropriate applications to develop their communication product.

Assessment: The rubric attached is a method for monitoring students’ learning based on chosen criteria or guidelines.

Rubric – 7&8 – Benefits of Aboriginal fire management of savanna landscapes

Extension opportunities: Students design a storyboard about how elders teach the next generation about traditional management of country.

Keywords: Indigenous, Aboriginal, tradition, culture, land management, career, employment, social benefits, social benefits, grazing, carbon credits, conservation, climate change

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:


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation:

Overarching learning goals: Students view videos and read texts, then list and sort the benefits of cool burning for Indigenous people, the environment and grazing. With their sorted information they produce a communication project based on a magazine feature article. 

Teacher content information: 23% of Australia is covered in tropical savanna. Each year, in the late dry season, hot fires sweep through a large proportion of this area. Between the early dry season cool burns and the later hot burns, about 25% of the landscape is burnt. It is estimated that 1% to 3% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions are due to fires although this figure just accounts for the official emissions of nitrous oxide and methane rather than the total emissions that would include carbon dioxide that is not absorbed by new growth.

There are many cultures and language groups of Indigenous Australian people living across the tropical savanna in northern Australia. They may be collecti

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Student Worksheet

Thought starters: what would you be doing if you lived in a remote part of Australia?

Part 1: So many benefits of cool burning 

Watch the videos below and make a list of the benefits of cool burning. Try to sort them into cultural, environmental and economic benefits. Use an online dictionary to find the definitions of these words:

 Cultural benefits

 Environmental benefits

 Economic benefits

VIDEO 1: Caring for Country -

VIDEO 2: Why I care for Country -

 VIDEO 3: Benefits for community -

VIDEO 4: Historical burning -


Part 2: Digging deeper 

You will be investigating and reporting on three benefits that result from cool burns in the tropical savanna - one cultural, one economic and one environmental.

Each group member must:

  1. Write a news article of two to three paragraphs about the benefits of cool burning
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