Activity Introduction

Blueback: What are Indigenous Protected Areas? – Year 5 HASS 

Lesson summary

Students explore some of Australia’s Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs). They investigate how Indigenous ranger programs and management allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to maintain their cultural, spiritual, economic and aesthetic connection to country.

This is lesson 9 of 13 in the Blueback: Sustainability and the Ocean unit. The preceding lesson is Blueback: What are Marine Protected Areas? The next lesson after this is Blueback: What are Mission Blue Hope Spots? 

Learning intentions

Students will:

  • learn about how Indigenous Protected Areas are managed 
  • understand why Marine Protected Areas are most effective when co-managed with Indigenous rangers.

Success criteria

Students can:

  • explain how Indigenous Protected Areas are managed
  • create arguments that support the establishment of more Indigenous Protected Areas. 

Lesson details

  • Communicating
  • Cultural Understanding
  • Digital Literacy
  • Ethical Understanding
  • Intercultural Understanding

Australian Curriculum (v9.0) content descriptions – HASS

  • the influence of people, including First Nations Australians and people in other countries, on the characteristics of a place (AC9HS5K04)

Syllabus outcomes: GE3-2

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 5 achievement standards:

Students describe how the characteristics of places are perceived and valued differently by people. They describe the importance of environments to people.They explain the interconnections between people and places and environments, and describe how these interconnections change places or environments.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – Medium: Teachers should read this resource and its associated materials before delivering the lesson. There may be concepts covered that require further reading or extra preparation. Some of the activities may need to be planned in context to teachers’ classrooms. The ICT requirements of the lesson are standard, in that a functioning laptop with access to the Internet and a projector will suffice. 

UN SDG 14: Life below the water

Target 14.2: By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans.

  • Access to the film Blueback
  • Access to the MPAtlas 
  • Device capable of presenting a video and  audio to the class
  • Individual devices with access to the internet (one per student)
  • Student Worksheet (one per student)

Special thanks to:

This is a circle comprised of two semi circles, the top one is orange and the bottom one is yellow. The logo reads 'Minderoo Foundation'.

Minderoo Foundation is proud to be the education partner for the film adaption of Tim Winton’s best-selling book, Blueback.

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

We don’t have any related professional courses for this lesson at the moment, but we do have heaps of other Cool professional learning here.


Teacher Worksheet

Blueback: What are Indigenous Protected Areas? - Year 5 HASS

Teacher content information: 

This is lesson 9 of 13 in the Blueback: Sustainability and the Ocean unit. The preceding lesson is Blueback: What are Marine Protected Areas? The following lesson is Blueback: What are Mission Blue Hope Spots?

Teachers should watch Blueback (2022) so they are familiar with the narrative, characters and content. 

Access Blueback here. (

Please navigate through the MPAtlas so you know how to support students as they are researching Australia’s Marine Protected Areas (see previous lesson). It's highly recommended that you familiarise yourself with different Indigenous Protected Areas across Australia if you are not already familiar with them. 

If you wish to expand on this topic, you may seek contact with local Indigenous elders or teachers in your area who may have more insights into caring about local country. 

Learning intentions

Students will:

  • learn ab
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Student Worksheet

Blueback: What are Indigenous Protected Areas? - Year 5 HASS

Student Worksheet

Australia's Marine Protected Areas

Go to the MPA Atlas and search ‘Australia’ in the box on the left, then spend five minutes answering the following questions:

How many different MPAs are in Australian waters?

What percentage of Australian Marine Protected Areas are fully protected from fishing?

Which Marine Protected Area is offering the most protection to Australian waters? (which park has the highest percentage for being protected?)


About Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs)

Your focus in this activity is to learn about the jobs involved in protecting sea country.

Following along with your teacher, read and watch the texts to discover the specific jobs that each ranger group does to look after sea country properly. Complete the table using dot points.


Which jobs are done in order to protect sea country?

Bardi Jawi (WA)

NSW Statewide Projects (NS
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