Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will be immersed in and connect with the documentary film Wild Things. They will engage with the film from critical, emotional, cultural and ethical perspectives and understand some of the backgrounds of the film while also considering the intentions of the filmmaker.

Wild Things follows a new generation of environmental activists that are mobilising against forces more powerful than themselves and saying: enough. Following a year in the footsteps of School Strike 4 Climate, Stop Adani and Save The Tarkine Rainforest, interwoven with a look at historical campaigns, this film is set to show that every action counts and individuals can make a difference. Access the film here.

The lessons in this unit use the Wild Things documentary to guide students through the environmental movement in Australia, and support students in raising their own voices for an environmental issue that is important to them. We recommend this lesson is used as the first lesson in a sequence of learning within this unit.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand how to actively view documentary films
  • Students will consider the importance of context and background when critically considering a documentary film
  • Students will engage with the Wild Things documentary as the filmmaker intended.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical Thinking                

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 8 English

  • Analyse how the text structures and language features of persuasive texts, including media texts, vary according to the medium and mode of communication (ACELA1543)
  • Share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments about aspects of literary texts (ACELT1627)
  • 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)

Year 9 English

  • Analyse and explain the use of symbols, icons and myth in still and moving images and how these augment meaning (ACELA1560)
  • Present an argument about a literary text based on initial impressions and subsequent analysis of the whole text (ACELT1771)
  • Analyse how the construction and interpretation of texts, including media texts, can be influenced by cultural perspectives and other texts (ACELY1739)
  • Interpret, analyse and evaluate how different perspectives of issue, event, situation, individuals or groups are constructed to serve specific purposes in texts (ACELY1742)

Year 10 English

  • Understand that people’s evaluations of texts are influenced by their value systems, the context and the purpose and mode of communication (ACELA1565)
  • Compare the purposes, text structures and language features of traditional and contemporary texts in different media (ACELA1566)
  • Evaluate the impact on audiences of different choices in the representation of still and moving images (ACELA1572)
  • Reflect on, extend, endorse or refute others’ interpretations of and responses to literature (ACELT1640)
  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)

Year 8 Geography

  • Human causes and effects of landscape degradation (ACHGK051)
  • Ways of protecting significant landscapes (ACHGK052)

Year 9 Geography

  • The perceptions people have of place, and how these influence their connections to different places (ACHGK065)
  • The effects of the production and consumption of goods on places and environments throughout the world and including a country from North-East Asia (ACHGK068)

Year 10 Geography

  • Human-induced environmental changes that challenge sustainability (ACHGK070)
  • Environmental world views of people and their implications for environmental management (ACHGK071)

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-1, GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-5, GE4-7, GE4-8, GE5-2, GE5-3, GE5-4, GE5-8, EN4-1A, EN4-5C, EN4-2A, EN5-1A, EN5-8D, EN5-2A, EN5-7D, EN5-6C, EN5-5C, EN5-8D

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.3, OI.8, OI.9.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Geography achievement standards: Students explain interconnections within environments and between people and places and explain how they change places and environments. 

Relevant parts of Year 9 Geography achievement standards: They analyse interconnections between people, places and environments and explain how these interconnections influence people, and change places and environments. Students synthesise data and information to draw reasoned conclusions. 

Relevant parts of Year 10 Geography achievement standards: Students identify, analyse and explain significant interconnections between people, places and environments and explain changes that result from these interconnections and their consequences. 

Topic: Sustainability.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Wild Things Years 8 to 10.

Time required: 105 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, lead students in activities.

Resources required:

Keywords: Wild Things, documentary, activism, environment, sustainability, forests, fossil fuels, climate change.

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


This lesson has been developed with the support of 360 Degree Films and the Garry White Foundation.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ... understand how to actively view documentary films
  • ... consider the importance of context and background when critically considering a documentary film
  • ... engage with the Wild Things documentary as the filmmaker intended.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... critically analyse a documentary
  • ... participate in class and group discussions.

Teacher content information: The history of the green movement in Australia is widely acknowledged to have begun with the green bans in Sydney in the 1970s and Tasmania's Franklin Dam project of the late 1970s/early 1980s. These campaigns both raised awareness of the value of our natural environment and the ability of people to come together to protest and demand change. Since then, the green movement has engaged with a range of environmental issues such as threatened species, forests, mining and energy, and climate change, as well as broader issues, such as the anti-nu

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Many documentary filmmakers attempt to change or improve society in some way with their documentaries. Do you think this applies to Wild Things?

After watching Wild Things, organise your thoughts and responses to the film by completing the 'Connect, Extend, Challenge, Explore' visible thinking routine:

1. How are the ideas and information presented in this film CONNECTED to what you already knew?

2. What new ideas did you get from this film that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?

3. What is still CHALLENGING or confusing for you to get your mind around?

4. What questions, wonderings or puzzlements do you now have? What aspects of the film/topic would you like to EXPLORE?



Complete the following comprehension questions about the film.

When did the campaign to protect the Tarkine Rainforest from logging begin?

Where did Lisa learn to climb trees?

Why does Lisa go to check on one of the earmarked coupes and what does she find?

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