Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students investigate the cultural, environmental and economic benefits of cool burning practices. They work collaboratively to undertake research into these benefits, before working independently to plan and produce a news article that details the findings of their research. Groups then come together again to prepare a TV or radio news style presentation to share their findings with the class.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the features of cool burnings practices
  • Students understand some of the environmental, cultural and economic benefits of cool burning.

21st century skills:

Critical ThinkingCommunicatingCultural UnderstandingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 English:  

  • Reflect on ideas and opinions about characters, settings and events in literary texts, identifying areas of agreement and difference with others and justifying a point of view (ACELT1620).
  • Discuss aspects of texts, for example their aesthetic and social value, using relevant and appropriate metalanguage (ACELT1803)
  •  Use comprehension strategies to interpret, analyse and synthesise ideas and information, critiquing ideas and issues from a variety of textual sources (ACELY1723)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)
  • Use interaction skills when discussing and presenting ideas and information, selecting body language, voice qualities and other elements, (for example music and sound) to add interest and meaning (ACELY1804)

Year 8 English:

  • Share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments about aspects of literary texts (ACELT1627)
  • Recognise and explain differing viewpoints about the world, cultures, individual people and concerns represented in texts(ACELT1807)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and evaluate texts by reflecting on the validity of content and the credibility of sources, including finding evidence in the text for the author’s point of view (ACELY1734)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)
  • Use interaction skills for identified purposes, using voice and language conventions to suit different situations, selecting vocabulary, modulating voice and using elements such as music, images and sound for specific effects (ACELY1808)

Syllabus outcomesEN4-4B, EN4-2A, EN4-5C, EN4-8D

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Literacy, Intercultural Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority:

Relevant parts of Year 7 English achievement standards: Students understand how the selection of a variety of language features can influence an audience. They understand how to draw on personal knowledge, textual analysis and other sources to express or challenge a point of view. Students create structured and coherent texts for a range of purposes and audiences. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using language features to engage the audience.

Relevant parts of Year 8 English achievement standards: Students understand how the selection of language features can be used for particular purposes and effects. They explain the effectiveness of language choices they make to influence the audience. Students create texts for different purposes, selecting language to influence audience response. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using language patterns for effect.

Topic: Cool Burning, Indigenous Education.

Unit of work: Cool Burning – Secondary.

Time required: 100+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in class discussions, oversee group activities, facilitate presentations, and intervene when students get bogged down looking for elusive material.

Resources required: 

Related professional development: 

Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culture, environment, economy, cool burning, benefits, land management, carbon farming, 

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. 


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ... understand the features of cool burnings practices
  • ... understand some of the environmental, cultural and economic benefits of cool burning.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... analyse mixed media texts 
  • ... undertake research online
  • ... create a news article
  • ... prepare a presentation
  • ... work collaboratively and independently.

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 manage

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What do you already know about cool burning?

Activating Prior Knowledge

Complete a THINK PAIR SHARE around the questions in the table below. Begin by working independently to answer the questions and record your ideas in Column A (without looking up the definitions), then turn to a classmate to share and discuss your ideas. Add any new ideas to Column B.

Questions Column A - Your own ideas Column B - Any new ideas after sharing

What does environment mean?

What does culture mean?

What does economy mean?

Once complete, share your ideas with the class.

So Many Benefits Of Cool Burning

You will now watch some clips around cool burning. As you watch, record any benefits of cool burning that you observe in the clips and make a list of the benefits of cool burning.

Once the clips are finished, try to categorise the benefits you observed into cultural, environmental and economic columns of the table below. 

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