Activity Introduction


Quick summary: Students will investigate hazards and how volunteer services and organisations help communities prepare, respond and recover.

Subjects: Geography.

Year Level: 7 & 8.

Topics: Natural hazards, community, volunteers and organisations.

Teaching Time: 90 minutes.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingCultural UnderstandingEmpathyGlobal CitizenshipProblem FindingProblem SolvingSocial SkillsTeam Work  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 Geography:

  • Causes, impacts and responses to an atmospheric or hydrological hazard (ACHGK042).

Year 8 Geography:

  • Causes, impacts and responses to a geomorphological hazard (ACHGK053).

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-2.

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

Relevant parts of Year 7 Geography achievement standards: 

‘Water in the world’ develops students’ understanding of the concept of environment, including the ideas that the environment is the product of a variety of processes, that it supports and enriches human and other life, that people value the environment in different ways and that the environment has its specific hazards. Water is investigated using studies drawn from Australia, countries of the Asia region, and countries from West Asia and/or North Africa.

‘Place and liveability’ focuses on the concept of place through an investigation of liveability. This unit examines factors that influence liveability and how it is perceived, the idea that places provide us with the services and facilities needed to support and enhance our lives, and that spaces are planned and managed by people.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Geography 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 compare alternative strategies to a geographical challenge, taking into account environmental, economic and social factors.

Time required: 90 minutes.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate class and group discussions.

Resources required:

  • Butchers paper or poster paper and markers for the silent conversation activity
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

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 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 t

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Student Worksheet

1. Watch the video from 7NEWS: Mammoth clean-up effort ahead for Brisbane's Mud Army after 2022 Queensland flood disaster
( about Mud Army, one of the largest spontaneous volunteer efforts in Australia.

Answer the following questions

  • What do you already know about volunteer organisations like the Mud Army or similar?
  • How can they help communities before, during and after a disaster?
  • What impact has the hazard had on this community?

2. Chose a local volunteer organisation that aims to support/educate people about hazards before (resilience), during (response) and after (recovery) a disaster. Below is a list of some examples:

Organisation  About the organisation 
DRA ( DRA, a partner of Lions Australia, is a veteran-led, non-profit organisation specialising in disaster relief. Since their foundation in 2016, volunteers have helped over 200 communities in the wake of natural disa
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