Activity Introduction

AFI_2021_Photoframe_Photo_English lessonQuick summary: In this English lesson students investigate the meaning of altruism. They make connections between this theme and the characterisation of various key people in the feature documentary ‘A Fire Inside’. These inferences are then used to make larger statements about what it truly means to be altruistic.

Learning intentions:

  • Students can make connections between characters and themes
  • Students can compare and contrast characters’ actions and dialogue
  • Students can analyse the theme of altruism.

21st-century skills: 

Community EngagementCommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingDigital LiteracyEmpathyInitiativeProblem SolvingSocial SkillsTeam Work         

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 10 English:

  • Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented in texts (ACELT1812)
  • Use comprehension strategies to compare and contrast information within and between texts, identifying and analysing embedded perspectives, and evaluating supporting evidence (ACELY1754)
  • Create sustained texts, including texts that combine specific digital or media content, for imaginative, informative, or persuasive purposes that reflect upon challenging and complex issues (ACELY1756).

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-1A, EN5-2A

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 10 English achievement standards: 

By the end of Year 10, students evaluate how text structures can be used in innovative ways by different authors. They explain how the choice of language features, images and vocabulary contributes to the development of individual style.

They develop and justify their own interpretations of texts. They evaluate other interpretations, analysing the evidence used to support them. They listen for ways features within texts can be manipulated to achieve particular effects.

Topic: Altruism

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

Time required: 80 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required:

Keywords: Altruism, characters, analysis, documentary, help, community engagement, bushfires, Australia.

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_Photoframe_Photo_English lessonTeacher Preparation

Before teaching the lessons, ensure you have watched the feature documentary “A Fire Inside” rated M15+ 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...

  • ...make connections between characters and themes
  • and contrast characters’ actions and dialogue
  • ...analyse the theme of altruism.


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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” - Albert Einstein

1. What thoughts, feelings or questions do you have when you read this?

2. Free write: Is helping others a key part of human nature or are only some people ‘naturally helpful’?

3. Define Altruism and make references to the characters in the feature A Fire Inside. 


Something a character said or did How it relates to altruism and the act of helping others

Blaze Aid Volunteers

Something a character said or did How it relates to altruism and the act of helping others

Community Pantry

Something a character said or did How it relates to altruism and the act of helping others

4. Brainstorm: What makes people help others? What did the altruistic characters viewed in the film have in common?

5. Write an essay on one of the below topics:

  1. What makes people
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