Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will plot major bushfire events in their state over time, and assess any trends in bushfire severity and frequency over time. 

Subjects: Mathematics. 

Year Level: 5.

Teaching Time: 60 minutes

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Resilient Australia: Building Resilience To Natural Disasters – Primary.

Related Professional Development: We encourage you to undertake the free PD Course How to teach a unit on fire and flood resilience for tips on how to best deliver this lesson.

If you’re concerned about the challenging nature of these topics, consider the free PD Course How to approach trauma in the classroom for information on how best to support your students.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical Thinking

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 Mathematics:

  • Construct displays, including column graphs, dot plots and tables, appropriate for data type, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMSP119)

Relevant parts of Year 5 Mathematics achievement standards: Students interpret maps, geographical data and other information to identify and describe spatial distributions, simple patterns and trends, and suggest conclusions.

Syllabus outcomes: MA3-18SP, MA3‑1WM, MA3‑3WM

General capabilities: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – Teachers facilitate discussion and interpretation of data, and support students working independently on their graphs.

Resources required:

Keywords: graph, data, fires, history, events, timeline, compare, homes, states, Australia, bush.

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...

  • … determine trends in bushfire events in Australia over time.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … plot major bushfire events in their state over time
  • … use data to assess any trends in bushfire severity and frequency over time.

Teacher content information:

Handling Sensitive Topics:

While presenting the lesson, you may notice that students could develop heightened emotions as you uncover the physical and psychological effects of hazards and disasters. Resilience, rebuilding and hope are essential learnings from the lessons. Therefore, it is vital to create a psychologically safe place for students to discuss and debrief, should they need to. The tasks can be activating for some students and could trigger old memories that some students may find challenging to revisit or process. You should direct students to a school counsellor if they require additional support and read through the Handling Sensitive Topic

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