Student Worksheet
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Thought Starter: "Nearly 80 percent of Australians were affected either directly or indirectly by the 2019/2020 bushfires." (Climate Council)

Activating Prior Knowledge

Have a look at the image below and record your thoughts about this image using the questions in the table below:


What do you SEE?

What does it make you THINK about?

What does it make you WONDER?

Introduction To Cool Burns

Once you have watched the clips and participated in the class discussion, work independently to complete the prompts below with your responses.

I used to think...

But now I think...

Group Investigation

Your group will compile a report about how and why Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples use fire to manage Country. Select one 'line of inquiry' question from the table below to guide your research.

Criteria for your report:

  • Compile a report in one of the following formats: Word, Prezi, Video, PowerPoint, Podcast.
  • The report must have six photos from the Cool Burning Digital Toolbox.
  • The report should be approximately 300 words.
  • Draw an outline of a savanna habitat. Make two or three photocopies of the outline. Colour in one of the outlines before a fire during the dry season. Colour in the second after a cool burn. Colour in the third after a hot burn. Use labels to highlight the differences between cool and hot burns.

Topic to research: How and why did Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples manage the savanna with cool burns?

Have a look at the inquiry questions on the table below and pick one to investigate and answer:

What happened when the land was colonised? What is the habitat like after a cool burn? Why were there more devastating hot burns once Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples stopped managing Country? Why do hot burns do more damage than cool burns?
What did Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples do to manage the savanna? What does the savanna look like after a cool burn? How do the seasons affect the kind of fires that occur? What are some visible features of a site that show a fire has been a hot burn?
What kind of knowledge was required? How did the savanna landscape change after European contact? How do wildfires impact on some of the plant and animal species? What is the habitat like after a hot burn?
Why are cool burns necessary? What are the consequences of hot burns? Why, in your opinion, didn't the colonists continue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples land practices? How do Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples teach younger generations about fire?

The following factsheet can help you in your research: Factsheet - How Do Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Peoples Use Fire To Manage Country?

Individual Work - Cool Burning Checklist

You will now work independently to 

Checklist 1: When are the conditions right? Write a checklist for land managers about what they need to know before they light fires for cool burns in a savanna.

1 2
3 4
5 6  

Checklist 2: Was the cool burn successful? - Write a checklist detailing what to look for after a cool burn to show that it did not damage the environment.

1 2
3 4
5 6  


Other Resources


Work independently to think about this lesson and answer the following questions:

What information in this lesson was new to you?

What information was connected to what you already knew?

What is still unclear or confusing for you?