Education resources investigating Australian wildlife’s recovery
after the bushfires of 2019/20

The Beyond the Bushfires education series brings the words of scientists who are actively involved in research and science communication into schools and classrooms all over Australia. Students will explore evidence-based research embedded in the context of real-world practice in lessons spanning English, Science, Design and Technology and Visual Arts.

These lessons draw on the Flora, Fauna, Fire interactive produced by The Conversation detailing conservation efforts in the aftermath of bushfires, and The 119, the priority list of species the Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel recommended were in need of immediate intervention.


These lessons have 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.

Additional thanks to the Ian Potter Foundation, John T Reid Charitable Trusts, The Danks Trust and The Myer Foundation, for generously supporting the development of these lessons. 

NEW! Bushfire Resistant Housing – Years 7 & 8 Design and Technology

With bushfires increasingly threatening houses and communities, many people are beginning to turn their thinking towards bushfire-resistant building standards as a way of combatting the impact of bushfires.

This unit of real-world learning invites students to consider these options, taking them on a journey through the design process of defining problems and their human impact, conducting research, designing practical solutions, and reflecting on their efforts. 

While these lessons cover a range of curriculum areas, any solutions designed by students could be implemented in real-world communities so long as their designs are considered safe and effective as measured by the National Construction Code, providing added incentive for socially-minded teachers and students to see their innovative ideas utilised for the public good.

Beyond the Bushfires: Primary Education Resources

[email protected] – How Do Plants Live With Bushfires?

Science, Visual Arts
Students explore how desert species flourish in the advantageous conditions present after a rainfall, and, conversely, how they have adapted to survive long periods of dry weather.

[email protected] – How Do Animals Live With Bushfires?

Science, Visual Arts
Bushfires have long been a part of our landscape. Our plants and animals have had to find ways to live with bushfires. Our animals have developed both structural and behavioural adaptations to help them survive bushfire events.

Mystery Spiders
– Year 4

Science, English
Use descriptive language to describe the spider’s in its natural habitat and its harrowing encounter with the bushfires, in order to encourage people to empathise and care for this crucial little critter.

Desert Rain
– Year 4

Science, Visual Arts
Students explore how desert species flourish in the advantageous conditions present after a rainfall, and, conversely, how they have adapted to survive long periods of dry weather.

Designed Adaptations
– Year 5

Design & Technology
Students will be challenged to build upon natural fire-resistant adaptations to develop solutions that help plants and animals survive and thrive in difficult conditions.

Plant Adaptations And Fire
– Years 5 & 6

Science
Students explore some of the ways that Australian plants are adapted to bushfires. They begin by reviewing their prior knowledge of how plants respond to fire, before exploring and defining the term ‘adaptation’.

Animal Adaptations And Fire
– Years 5 & 6

Science
Students explore animal adaptations and how these can help animals live with fire. They begin by exploring their understanding of the relationship of bushfires and the Australian landscape.

Survival Habitats
– Year 6

Science
Students will study the impact of bushfires on habitats and the species that call them home. They will then apply this understanding in the creation of a temporary habitat.

Horse Hooves
– Years 6

Science
Many native species face a new challenge to their recovery and survival: feral brumby populations. Their behaviours are even more damaging to species by bushfires.

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Beyond the Bushfires: Secondary Education Resources

Tuning In
– Years 7 & 9

Science
Students are introduced to the topic of bushfires and the Flora, Fauna, Fire resource from The Conversation. Students begin by thinking about the term ‘bushfire’ and completing a CSI activity to tune them into the topic.

Being A Fire Scientist
– Years 7 & 9

Science
Students will look at how they understand science and the work of scientists before using the Flora, Fauna, Fire resource to explore the ways that different scientists work to explore the impacts of bushfires on flora and fauna.

Bushfires And Food Webs
– Years 7 & 9

Science
Students model the impacts of bushfires on flora and fauna through the use of food webs. They refresh their understanding of food webs before looking at how the loss of a flora species might affect their food web.

Preventing Destructive Bushfires – Years 7 & 9

Science
Students explore the role of traditional fire management practices in preventing destructive bushfires. 

Timeline Of Bushfire Recovery – Year 9

Science
Students explore the process of ecosystem regeneration after a bushfire. They begin by defining key terms before looking at the adaptations Australian flora and fauna have to bushfires.

Bird’s Eye View Of Bushfire Recovery – Year 9

Science
Using satellite images students will record observations about changes in plant species and make predictions about changes in a range of abiotic factors.

Fighting Fire With Fire
– Year 9

Science
Drawing on research from 20 years of cultural burning and fire management practices in the Northern Territory, students will summarise and communicate the features and outcomes of this approach.

Kangaroo Island, Bushfire Hotspot – Year 9

Science
Students research the effects of bushfires on a native and invasive species on Kangaroo Island. They will analyse the factors negatively impacting the population size of a native species. 

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With Thanks to Our Partner


These lessons have 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. 

Additional thanks to the Ian Potter Foundation, John T Reid Charitable Trusts, The Danks Trust and The Myer Foundation, for generously supporting the development of these lessons. 

© 2021 The Conversation and Cool Australia

Cool Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to land, water and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders past, present and emerging.