Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students are introduced to the topic of bushfires and the Flora, Fauna, Fire resource from The Conversation. Students begin by thinking about the term ‘bushfire’ and completing a CSI activity to tune them into the topic. They then work collaboratively to develop discussion guidelines that can be used in this lesson and other lessons in this unit. Students then explore facts about bushfires, before spending time exploring the Flora, Fauna, Fire resource. Students can produce a poster or infographic to communicate their findings and reflections. 

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

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand what a bushfire is
  • Students will recognise some of the causes and impacts of bushfires
  • Students will become familiar with the Flora, Fauna and Fire resource.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingDigital Literacy                

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 Science

  • Science knowledge can develop through collaboration across the disciplines of science and the contributions of people from a range of cultures (ACSHE223)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions based on evidence (ACSIS130)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS133)

Year 9 Science

  • Scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE157)
  • Critically analyse the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems (ACSIS172)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-17CW, SC4-7WS, SC4-9WS, SC5-12ES, SC5-7WS, SC5-8WS, SC5-9WS.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking 

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students describe situations where scientific knowledge from different science disciplines and diverse cultures has been used to solve a real-world problem. They summarise data from different sources and communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of science and technology may affect people’s lives. They use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.

Topics: Climate Change, The Conversation, Beyond the Bushfires, Sustainability.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Beyond the Bushfires – Secondary.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion

Resources required:

Keywords: Flora, Fauna, Fire resource, bushfires, facts, CSI.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ... understand what a bushfire is
  • ... recognise some of the causes and impacts of bushfires
  • ... become familiar with the Flora, Fauna, Fire resource.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... know and research facts about bushfires
  • ... read, analyse and reflect on bushfire research
  • ... work independently and collaboratively
  • ... create discussion guidelines.

Teacher content information: This lesson uses the Flora, Fauna Fire resource from The Conversation. This resource examines and describes the impacts of the Black Summer bushfires on native flora and fauna species.

Important: Talking about bushfires often involves addressing sensitive issues. Bushfires are innately linked to death and dying, and as such, may evoke strong emotions, opinions, or raise challenging questions about values and beliefs that have no easy answers. What students learn in class may be different to what they hear and see from home an

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What does fire give us?

Part A: Activating Prior Knowledge

Take a moment to reflect on the term 'bushfire'. Then complete the CSI (Colour-Symbol-Image) below.

Colour Symbol Image







  • In the colour column, add a colour that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘bushfire’
  • In the symbol column, add a simple symbol that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘bushfire’ (just an outline drawing)
  • In the image column, add a picture that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘bushfire’ – this can be their own drawing or a photo (e.g. from the internet).

Part B: Bushfire Facts

Which question did your group draw out of the hat? Write the question here:

Then work in your groups to discuss this question, recording keywords and ideas here (each student should record their own ideas in their own words):


Work independently to respond to the following:

I used to think…

Now I think...

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