Activity Introduction


Quick summary: Students will discover how an Australian artist used burnt wood from the black summer fires to draw a series of native Australian birds, depicting their escape. Students will learn about various species affected by the fires and use a similar medium (charcoal) to show how bushfires affect Australian wildlife. 

Subject: Art.

Year Level: 7 & 8.

Topics: Creative Thinking, Sustainability and Climate Change. 

Teaching Time: 90 minutes.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingCultural UnderstandingEmpathyProblem FindingProblem SolvingSocial Skills  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 & 8  Art:

  • Investigate ways that visual conventions, visual arts processes and materials are manipulated to represent ideas, perspectives and/or meaning in artworks created across cultures, times, places and/or other contexts AC9AVA8E01
  • reflect on the ways that they and other artists respond to influences to inform choices they make in their own visual arts practice AC9AVA8D02
  • select and manipulate visual conventions, visual arts processes and/or materials to create artworks that represent ideas, perspectives and/or meaning AC9AVA8C02.

Syllabus outcomes: VAS4.3, VAS4.5.

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

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 achievement standards: By the end of Year 8, students identify and analyse how other artists use visual conventions and viewpoints to communicate ideas and apply this knowledge in their art making. They explain how an artwork is displayed to enhance its meaning. They evaluate how they and others are influenced by artworks from different cultures, times and places.
Students plan their art-making in response to the exploration of techniques and processes used in their own and others’ artworks.

Level of teacher scaffolding: This lesson involves a medium level of teacher scaffolding with teachers facilitating class discussion, encouraging students’ reflective writing skills about art and class understanding about how artists have a preconceived intention that informs the creation of their art.

Resources required:

  • A device capable of presenting a PowerPoint presentation to the class
  • Charcoal and paper to draw a picture of an Australian species affected by natural hazards. 

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_Magpie_photoframeTeacher 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 Art lessons will encourage students to explore the true meaning of hope and resilience and apply empathy to those affected by fires and floods. Students will analyse artworks and have opportunities to create portraits, concepts, and drawings

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