Activity Introduction

This lesson is designed to be completed independently by students. 

Students will begin with reflective writing using two quotes as a stimulus. They will then read through an article and answer comprehension questions to determine their understanding. Following this, students will reflect on information in the article to develop their own set of questions and will work through activities to ensure that their questions are written as conceptual, open-ended questions. Next, they will choose one open-ended question to research and they will then write a letter to a person of their choice to explain their question and their research findings.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 7 Science

  • Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (ACSIS124)

Year 8 Science

  • Identify questions and problems that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (ACSIS139)

Year 9 Science

  • Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)
  • Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS164)

Year 10 Science

  • The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence (ACSSU185)
  • Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS198)

Year 7 English

  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret, analyse and synthesise ideas and information, critiquing ideas and issues from a variety of textual sources (ACELY1723)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)

Year 8 English

  • Interpret the stated and implied meanings in spoken texts, and use evidence to support or challenge different perspectives (ACELY1730)
  • Apply increasing knowledge of vocabulary, text structures and language features to understand the content of texts (ACELY1733)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and evaluate texts by reflecting on the validity of content and the credibility of sources, including finding evidence in the text for the author’s point of view (ACELY1734)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)

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

Background information

From natural disasters to volatile leaders to environmental degradation to social and economic woes, our world can feel like a complicated and daunting place, especially for young people. News headlines can capture the worst of these events, leaving the impression that we live in a daunting and even frightening place. This can lead young people to a feeling of powerlessness about their lives, both now and in the future. However, reading and analysing news articles tells us what the real story behind the headlines and helps us to move beyond our uncertainty and fear to a place where we may be compelled to take positive action, instead of feeling powerless.

Tips for Parents and Carers

For many people in Australia – including and especially young people – the bushfires were and continue to be a source of considerable anxiety and stress. This is particularly true for those who were immediately impacted by the fires.

If you need further support for students please refer to:

Resources Required


[email protected] from Cool Australia

[email protected] resources are designed for parents and teachers to use with children in the home environment. They can be used as stand alone activities or built into existing curriculum-aligned learning programs. Our [email protected] series includes two types of resources. The first are fun and challenging real world activities for all ages, the second are self-directed lessons for upper primary and secondary students. These lessons support independent learning in a remote or school settings.

This lesson has been developed in partnership with The Conversation. The Conversation’s mission is to be known as a prominent and trusted publisher of new thinking and evidence-based research, editorially independent and free of commercial or political bias. The Conversation hopes teachers will use their content as a source of truthful information, and that teachers can show their students the importance of trusted, evidence-based information in understanding the world around them and making informed decisions about their actions. Please follow the republishing guidelines when using The Conversation’s articles.

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


Student Worksheet

How Animals Respond To Bushfires - Activity Instructions

Learning intentions:

  • You will recognise a range of ways Australian animals respond to bushfires
  • You will understand the value of asking questions, particularly in science
  • You will recognise a range of different types of questions
  • You will understand how to develop questions.

Success criteria:

  • You can analyse a range of texts
  • You can develop questions appropriate to scientific inquiry
  • You can conduct research independently
  • You can write a letter explaining the findings of your research.


Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive

Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University

Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity.

Australia’s bushfire season

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