Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students explore the question: ‘What is the Australian tropical savanna?’ In groups, students research a specific region of a tropical savanna and describe the climate, vegetation, animals and the impact of fire upon the area. Students will create a labelled illustration to communicate their findings and present this to the class.

Learning intentions: 

  • Students recognise how flora and fauna are uniquely adapted to specific regions
  • Students understand the interconnections between people, places and environments and identify the effects of these interconnections on the characteristics of places and environments.

21st century skills:

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingCultural UnderstandingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 5 Science:  

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)
  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE083)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 5 Geography: 

  • The influence of people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, on the environmental characteristics of Australian places (ACHASSK112)
  • Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary sources and secondary sources (ACHASSI095)
  • Organise and represent data in a range of formats including tables, graphs and large- and small-scale maps, using discipline-appropriate conventions (ACHASSI096)
  • Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions (ACHASSI105)

Year 6 Science:  

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

Year 6 Geography

  • Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary sources and secondary sources (ACHASSI123)
  • Organise and represent data in a range of formats including tables, graphs and large- and small-scale maps, using discipline-appropriate conventions (ACHASSI124)
  • Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions (ACHASSI133)

Syllabus outcomesGE3-2, GE3-3ST3-4WS, ST3-10LW, ST3-11LW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments, and communicate their ideas and findings using multimodal texts.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Geography achievement standards: Students identify and describe the interconnections between people and the human and environmental characteristics of places. They represent data and the location of places and their characteristics in graphic forms, including large-scale and small-scale maps that use the cartographic conventions of border, scale, legend, title and north point. They present findings and ideas using geographical terminology in a range of communication forms.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things, and construct multimodal texts to communicate ideas, methods and findings.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Geography achievement standards: Students record and represent data and the location of places and their characteristics in different graphic forms, including large-scale and small-scale maps that use cartographic conventions of border, source, scale, legend, title and north point. They present findings and ideas using geographical terminology and digital technologies in a range of communication forms.

Topic: Cool Burning, Indigenous Education

Unit of work: Cool Burning – Primary.

Time required: 120 mins.   

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – introduce new content, assist with student research, assess student outcomes.

Resources required: 

Related professional development: 

Keywords: Savanna, tropical, climate, weather, distribution, monsoon, adaptation, vegetation, fire, mean, conservation, species

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...

  • ... recognise how flora and fauna are uniquely adapted to specific regions
  • ... understand the interconnections between people, places and environments and identify the effects of these interconnections on the characteristics of places and environments.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... work independently and collaboratively
  • ... participate in class and group discussions
  • ... work collaboratively to conduct research and communicate results in a labelled illustration
  • ... present work to the class.

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

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Close your eyes and imagine that you are standing in the Australian tropical savanna. What might you see, hear and feel?

Investigating The Savanna

In your groups conduct an investigation of a specific region of the Australian savanna (your teacher will assign you a region). Research interesting information regarding the region’s climate, plants (flora), animals (fauna), fire regimes, and human interactions.

Some suggested questions have been provided to guide you, but you can also think up some of your own questions that you would like to investigate.

Use this factsheet to understand your region further.

The region of tropical savanna we are investigating is called:

Climate

You can get monthly rainfall figures for a location by navigating to the URL, www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/. Once on the website, select monthly rainfall under the first point and then type in the name of a town or location.

Examples of questions to investigate are:

  • How does the rainfal
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