Activity Introduction


Quick summary: This lesson explores the importance of community involvement during a natural hazard and how to use paper as a material during the rebuilding phase in order to promote sustainability and resourcefulness.

Subject: Design and Technology.

Year Level: 7 & 8.

Topics: Creative Thinking, Sustainability, Climate Change and STEM.

Teaching Time: 90 minutes.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingDigital LiteracyEntrepreneurshipFlexibilityProblem FindingProblem SolvingTeam Work  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 & 8 Design and Technologies:

  • Analyse how people in design and technologies occupations consider ethical and sustainability factors to design and produce products, services and environments (AC9TDE8K01)
  • Select, justify and use suitable materials, components, tools, equipment, skills and processes to safely make designed solutions (AC9TDE8P03).

Syllabus outcomes: T4.1.2.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 achievement standards: Students explain how social, ethical, technical and sustainability considerations influence the design of innovative and enterprising solutions to meet a range of present and future needs. They explain how the features of technologies influence the design and production decisions. Students explain a range of needs, opportunities or problems and define them in terms of functional requirements and constraints. They collect, authenticate and interpret data from a range of sources to assist in making informed judgements.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – includes a discussion of Architectural work and demonstration of how to model using paper.

Resources required:

  • Blank A4 and A3 paper
  • Coloured pencils and markers
  • 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

Fire&flood_lesson_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 for more information. 

Delivery of Lessons:

The Years 7 to 8 Design and Technology lessons will encourage students to explore the essence of sustainable and resilient design and how to improve the resilience of communities that have or may be affected by natural disasters. Students will analyse curre

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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: Why are resilient architecture and design important?

1. Design and make a new classroom.

Work through the following steps to design and build your classroom:

  1. Get into groups of 2 or 3 and discuss what essentials you need to include in your emergency fire or flood resilient classroom.
  2. Write down the essential materials and resources necessary for a classroom to function 
  3. Choose the context you are going to test against - fire or flood
  4. Draw a floor plan of your classroom
  5. Gather the necessary materials and build your fire or flood-resilient classroom.

2. Conduct Test 1

For Flood resilient buildings:
Place your building in a tub of water and observe if it gets wet or floats away.

For Fire resilient buildings:
Grab some leaves from outside and drop them on the roof of your building. Observe how and where debris falls on your building.

3. Evaluate 

  1. Take notes of your observations and what you would change in the table below.
  2. Make the changes to yo
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