Activity Introduction

AFI_2021_photoframeQuick summary: In this Science lesson, students revise their understanding of bushfires and the varying causes. The class builds upon this knowledge and refers to research and clips from ‘A Fire Inside’, to make connections between climate change, the rising intensity and frequency of bushfires in Australia. To show their understanding of how climate change exacerbates bushfires, students create presentations to communicate key information for young people in their communities.

Learning intentions:

  • Students revise the causes of bushfires
  • Students understand how climate change exacerbates bushfires
  • Students can communicate this information effectively to others.

21st-century skills: 

  Community EngagementCommunicatingEmpathyGlobal CitizenshipProblem FindingProblem Solving          

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 8 Science:

  • Scientific knowledge has changed peoples’ understanding of the world and is refined as new evidence becomes available (ACSHE134)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence-based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS148).

Syllabus outcomes: SC49-WS, SC415-LW

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability, Literacy, Personal and Social Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: Students use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas, methods and findings in a range of text types.

Topic: Climate change and the Australian bushfires

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: A Fire Inside: Feature Documentary Years 7 to 10.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and prompt students to make connections between A Fire Inside and how bushfires are caused.

Resources required:

Keywords: Bushfires, climate change, science, dry, frequency, fuel, heat, oxygen, weather and winds, documentary, film.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

AFI_2021_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Before teaching the lessons, ensure you have watched the feature documentary “A Fire Inside” rated MA15+ and have gained approval from parents and guardians before viewing the documentary or specific clips produced for Cool. Consider completing the first lesson: Viewing The Film to ensure students have a clear understanding of the feature documentary and how to apply their knowledge and critical thinking skills. 

To view the film you can rent or purchase an online copy from Google PlayApple TVPrime Video, or Ritz at home.

Students may develop heightened emotions and discomfort during the film. It is recommended that you direct students to a school counsellor if they require additional support and read through the Handling Sensitive Topics and Issues Template document.

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ...revise the causes of bushfires
  • ...understand how climate change exacerbates bushfires
  • ...communicate this information effectively to others.
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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change.” - David Attenborough.

1. What do you already know about climate change?

2. Prompt: “Wildfires need four ingredients...available fuel, dryness of that fuel, weather conditions that aid the rapid spread of fire and an ignition.”

Read the prompt above by Professor Nerilie Abram and use this prompt as a guide to help you write down everything you know about bushfires:

Create a mind map on your padlet or workbook.


4. Four ingredients for a wildfire

Read the article 'Australian bushfires and climate change: A media analysis' in order to complete the box below:

Available fuel Dryness of fuel Weather conditions Ignition


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