Having made it through the bushfires, many native flora and fauna species face a new challenge to their recovery and survival: feral brumby populations. The horses have long disrupted the native climate in Kosciuszko National Park, and their behaviours are even more damaging to species by bushfires.
However, the horses aren’t considered quite as clear cut a pest as other invasive species. Their history within the region, and ties to Australian literature and war efforts, make calls for their culling a highly divisive issue.
This lesson will challenge students to take real social action: researching and critically evaluating both sides of the argument and the persuasive efforts of passionate writers, before putting their own thoughts and strategies to work in a written piece designed to inform and sway readers towards making change.
In partnership with The Conversation, the Beyond the Bushfires series brings the words of scientists who are actively involved in research and science communication into classrooms throughout Australia. Students will explore evidence-based research embedded in the context of real-world practice.
Additional thanks to the Ian Potter Foundation, John T Reid Charitable Trusts and The Myer Foundation, for generously supporting the development of these lessons
- … understand the impact of bushfires on the Australian landscape, flora, and fauna
- … understand the impact of feral horses on the recovery and survival of native flora and fauna in the wake of bushfires
- … understand the work scientists are undertaking to protect and preserve the Australian landscape, flora, and fauna in the wake of bushfires
- … understand the variety of ways fauna depend on their habitat for survival.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Year 6 English
- Understand that strategies for interaction become more complex and demanding as levels of formality and social distance increase (ACELA1516)
- Understand the uses of objective and subjective language and bias (ACELA1517)
- Investigate how vocabulary choices, including evaluative language can express shades of meaning, feeling and opinion (ACELA1525)
- Analyse and evaluate similarities and differences in texts on similar topics, themes or plots (ACELT1614)
- Identify and explain how choices in language, for example modality, emphasis, repetition and metaphor, influence personal response to different texts (ACELT1615)
- Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)
- Analyse how text structures and language features work together to meet the purpose of a text (ACELY1711)
- Analyse strategies authors use to influence readers (ACELY1801)
- Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1714)
Year 6 Science
- The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
- Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100)
Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability
Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students understand how the use of text structures can achieve particular effects. They analyse and explain how language features, images and vocabulary are used by different authors to represent ideas, characters and events. They show how specific details can be used to support a point of view. Students create detailed texts elaborating on key ideas for a range of purposes and audiences.
Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things. Students explain how scientific knowledge helps us to solve problems and inform decisions and identify historical and cultural contributions.
This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: Beyond the Bushfires – Primary
Time required: 55 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate a discussion and guide students thinking across complex and varied viewpoints.
- Article – The Conversation – Fire almost wiped out rare species in the Australian Alps. Feral horses are finishing the job
- Article – The Conversation – Why do brumbies evoke such passion? It’s all down to the high country’s cultural myth-makers
- Device capable of presenting a video to the class
- Lined paper or writing notebook
Keywords: brumbies, snowy mountains, Kosciuszko National Park, controversial, feral, endangered, extinct, habitat, introduced species, empathy, convincing, persuasive
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.