Activity Introduction


Quick summary: Students evaluate the Queensland and NSW floods to explore the different impacts and responses to a hydrological hazard. Students will work together to create a disaster-ready plan for their classrooms and home.

Subjects: Geography.

Year Level: Years 7 & 8.

Topics: Natural hazards, floods, Australia, preparedness.

Teaching Time: 120 minutes (best completed over a number of lessons).

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCritical ThinkingEmpathyFlexibilityGlobal CitizenshipInitiativeProblem FindingProblem SolvingSocial SkillsTeam Work  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 English:

  • Causes, impacts and responses to an atmospheric or hydrological hazard (ACHGK042)
  • Strategies used to enhance the liveability of places, especially for young people, including examples from Australia and Europe (ACHGK047).

Year 8 Geography:

  • Evaluate sources for their reliability and usefulness and select, collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS056).

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-7.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of the Year 7 achievement standards:
Students understand that the environment has its specific hazards. ‘Place and liveability’ focuses on the concept of place through an investigation of liveability. It develops students’ ability to evaluate the liveability of their own place and to investigate whether it can be improved through planning.

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards:

By the end of Year 8, students explain geographical processes that influence the characteristics of places and explain how places are perceived and valued differently. They explain interconnections within environments and between people and places and explain how they change places and environments. They compare alternative strategies to a geographical challenge, taking into account environmental, economic and social factors.

Time required: 120 minutes (best completed over a number of lessons).

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate small group work and class discussion, invite a guest speaker and monitor homework.

Resources required:

  • Index cards for the “Take note” activity
  • Post-it notes for the post-it parade activity
  • Poster paper for small groups to prepare a classroom emergency plan
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student
  • Your school’s emergency plan (and possibly a guest speaker from within the school).

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


Teacher Worksheet

Minderoo_geography_frameTeacher 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 Template for more information. 

Resilient Communities Framework:

Building resilience is equally about how we approach our work as it is what we ultimately achieve as a result of the work. The Resilient Communities Framework is comprised of two mutually-reinforcing components — the principles and the

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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: Better to be prepared than sorry

1. Watch this video: Are you prepared for an emergency? Part 1 (

What might happen to you in a disaster if you don’t have a plan? Think about your response, pair with a classmate to discuss your ideas, and then share them with your class.

2. Read the following ABC article: You want to cry, but you don't dare: Reporting on the Queensland and NSW floods disaster

In a small group, answer the following questions and report back to the class:

  • List three effects of Cyclone Debbie on the people and land in the article
  • List three things people could do in order to be better prepared in the future.
Effects of Cyclone Debbie (physical, emotional or psychological) Ways people could prepare for a future disaster

4. You will now design a poster or create an a

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