Activity Introduction


Subjects: English 

Year Levels: 7 & 8

Topics: Disaster, hazards, misconceptions, Australia. 

Teaching Time: 60 mins.

Quick summary: In this English lesson, students will begin by reflecting on their understanding of disasters and disaster resilience in Australia, before engaging with excerpts from a New York Times article focused on the Black Summer bushfires and subsequent floods. Students will practice their summarising and evaluating skills before engaging in a gallery walk to explore the thinking of their classmates. 

Learning intentions:

  • Students will build on their understanding of the disasters that Australia faces, and challenge their misconceptions surrounding these
  • Students will summarise and evaluate language for intent.

21st-century skills: 

  Critical Thinking Creative Thinking  CommunicatingProblem SolvingSocial SkillsTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 English:
Identify and explore ideas and viewpoints about events, issues and characters represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1619)

Year 8 English:
Explore the ways that ideas and viewpoints in literary texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts may reflect or challenge the values of individuals and groups (ACELT1626)

Syllabus outcomes: EN4-8D 

General capabilities: Literacy

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability 

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards:

Students demonstrate understanding of how the choice of language features, images and vocabulary affects meaning. Students explain issues and ideas from a variety of sources, analysing supporting evidence and implied meaning. They select specific details from texts to develop their own response, recognising that texts reflect different viewpoints.

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards:

Students explain how language features, images and vocabulary are used to represent different ideas and issues in texts. Students interpret texts, questioning the reliability of sources of ideas and information. They select evidence from the text to show how events, situations and people can be represented from different viewpoints.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – the teacher must facilitate introductory activity and encouraging thinking in students, as well as support the transition to text immersion and the gallery walk.

Resources required:

  • Copies of the news articles excerpts – printed across two A4 pages or one A3 page, enough for pairs/triads to have one of the three excerpts each.
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

Keywords: Disaster, resilience, hazard, Black Summer, text analysis. 

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


Teacher Worksheet

Minderoo_lesson_frameTeacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • on their understanding of the disasters that Australia faces and challenge their misconceptions surrounding these.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • …read, comprehend and summarise a media text
  • …evaluate language for positive or negative intent
  • …work together to complete a task.

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, shall 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 addi

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Student Worksheet

Student Worksheet

1. Text Immersion
Complete the following tasks using the article excerpt provided to you by your teacher:

  1. Read through the article together without annotating.
  2. Circle any unfamiliar words, look up a definition, and note this in the margins.
  3. Identify each of the following components for your excerpt, and note these in the space below:


Based on the above, craft a 20 word summary of your text excerpt, and write this clearly across the top of your printout. Use the boxes below to plan out your summary:

4. Choose two different coloured highlighters. Read through your excerpt again, highlighting any negative words in one colour and positive in another. What do you notice? Write down your observations in the margins.

5. Consider the statements you responded to earlier in the lesson:

a. Bushfires and floods are a natural part of life in Australia.
b. It is better to invest in di

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