Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Through investigating various case studies and discovering which behaviours, feelings and emotions might occur after a traumatic event such as a fire or flood. Students will learn about their peers’ strategies to help overcome situations that elicit a fight, flight or freeze response. Based on recommendations from the Australian Psychological Society, students will create a four-step AIME strategic plan to assist them in the event of a natural disaster.

Subject: HPE. 

Year Level: 7 & 8.

Topics: Health and Wellbeing, Sustainability and Climate Change.

Teaching Time: 70 minutes.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingEmpathyLeadershipProblem FindingSocial SkillsTeam Work  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 HPE:

  • analyse factors that influence emotional responses and devise strategies to self-manage emotions (AC9HP8P06)
  • refine protective behaviours and evaluate community resources to seek help for themselves and others (AC9HP8P08).

Syllabus outcomes: PDHPE4.3.

General capabilities: Personal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 HPE achievement standards: 

Students analyse factors that influence emotional responses. They investigate strategies and practices that enhance their own, others’ and community health, safety and wellbeing. Students demonstrate skills to make informed decisions, and propose and implement actions that promote their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing.

 Level of teacher scaffolding: High – the teacher will need to explicitly introduce new concepts to students, facilitate class discussion and actively prompt students to reflect and build upon their learning and understanding.

Resources required:

  • A4 Paper – one page per student
  • A device capable of presenting a video and images to the class
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

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.

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

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 additional support and read through the Handling Sensitive Topics and Issues for more information.

Before delivering this lesson, ensure that you understand the physiological responses of the human body in situations that evoke a fight, flight or freeze response (also known as acute stress response). During these situations, the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated b

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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: Overcoming Trauma Is A Lot Easier When You Have The Right Tools And Support. 

1. My AIME Plan
Your task is to create an AIME plan to assist you in becoming prepared in the event of a natural disaster. Use the template below to document your plan

AIME Plan Table

Steps  Information  Plan and Response
1. Anticipate You need to anticipate that the situation will be stressful.

How do you anticipate you will react to the stress?

How do you usually react to highly stressful/traumatic situations?

2. Identify You will have to identify your physical and emotional responses to the situation.

How is your body going to respond to the situation?

What are the physical signs you need to look for?

What are the emotional signs you need to look for?

3. Manage 

You must manage your response to the situation 

What strategies can you use to manage your response?

Strategy 1:

Strategy 2:

Strategy 3:

Strategy 4:

4. Engage
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