Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson is designed for a flipped classroom, where students learn new content by watching a clip about cool burning practices in their own time. This strategy provides the opportunity for students to build their knowledge, attitudes and values by themselves, thereby freeing up class time for hands-on work.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand what cool burning is
  • Students recognise some of the ways cool burning benefits communities and the environment.

21st century skills: 

Cultural Understanding Critical Thinking   

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 Geography

  • Evaluate sources for their reliability and usefulness and select, collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS048)

Year 8 Geography

  • Spiritual, aesthetic and cultural value of landscapes and landforms for people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACHGK049)
  • Ways of protecting significant landscapes (ACHGK052)
  • Evaluate sources for their reliability and usefulness and select, collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS056)

Year 9 Geography

  • The perceptions people have of place, and how these influence their connections to different places (ACHGK065)
  • Evaluate sources for their reliability, bias and usefulness and select, collect, record and organise relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from a range of appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS064)

Year 10 Geography

  • The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ approaches to custodial responsibility and environmental management in different regions of Australia (ACHGK072)
  • Evaluate sources for their reliability, bias and usefulness and select, collect, record and organise relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from a range of appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS073)

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-7, GE4-4, GE4-1, GE4-2, GE4-5, GE4-3, GE5-7, GE5-4, GE5-5.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Intercultural Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: 

Relevant parts of Year 7 Geography achievement standards: Students explain interconnections between people and places and environments and describe how these interconnections change places and environments. They evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to locate useful information and data.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Geography achievement standards: Students explain interconnections within environments and between people and places and explain how they change places and environments. They evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to locate useful and reliable information and data.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Geography achievement standards: Students analyse interconnections between people, places and environments and explain how these interconnections influence people, and change places and environments. They evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to select and collect relevant and reliable geographical information and data.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Geography achievement standards: Students identify, analyse and explain significant interconnections between people, places and environments and explain changes that result from these interconnections and their consequences. They critically evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to select and collect relevant, reliable and unbiased geographical information and data.

Topic: Cool Burning, Indigenous Education.

Unit of work: Cool Burning – Secondary.

Time required: 30 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – this activity can be completed either in or out of the classroom with minimal supervision.

Resources required:

  • Student access to devices with internet connection
  • Student Worksheet – one copy per student.

Related professional development: 

Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cool burning, cultural burning.

Special thanks to:

Fish River Station, John Daly, Dr Jeremy Russell-Smith, Peter Jacklyn, Peter McConchie, Dr Tommy George, David Claudie, Dale Musgrave, Carolyn George and Victor Steffensen.

Cool Australia would like to acknowledge the support of the Bennelong Foundation in updating these lessons.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum. There is great diversity in histories and cultures among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Australia. This resource includes investigations into and information about some of them. It has an emphasis, but not an exclusive one, on the histories and cultural practices of the Aboriginal peoples of the Northern Territory. It is underpinned by consultation with Aboriginal communities in various parts of Australia. 

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … understand what cool burning is
  • … recognise some of the ways cool burning benefits communities and the environment.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … work independently to complete tasks in their own time
  • … respond to mixed media texts
  • … make recommendations and provide justification for their recommendations.

Teacher content information: In Australia, 23-25% of the land is covered in tropical savanna. Each year in the late dry season, hot fires sweep through a large proportion of this area. Hot burns result in about 25% of the landscape being burnt, which contributes between 1% and 3% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions (Note: this figure just accounts for nitrous oxide and methane rather than the total emissions that includes any carbon dioxide not absorbed by new growth.). Before European contact, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the tropical savanna managed Country using fire during

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Have bushfires always been a part of the Australian landscape?

What Is Cool Burning?

1. What do you already know about the practice of cool burning (also known as cultural burning or firestick farming)? Record your thoughts here using bullet points or note form:

2. Now watch the following clip. As you, watch take note of points you find interesting or important, or to record anything that is unclear to you:

Indigenous fire methods protect land before and after the Tathra bushfire (https://youtu.be/RM72NtXxyLs)

Notes about clip:

3. Once complete, reflect on the clip and answer the following questions:

What did you SEE in this clip? What is this clip about?

What does this clip make you THINK about? (E.g. how is it connected to what you already know, or what new ideas does it spark for you?)

What does this clip make you WONDER? What questions does this clip leave you with?

4. Finally, reflect back on your initial thoughts around cool burning:

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