Hazards: Bushfire for Teachers

Lesson Plans

Download a word version of the Unit Outline, with lesson plans and assessment details.

Organisation: These learning activities have been organised into 5 sets of weekly activities, for a total of approximately 21 hours of class time.

Some resources and details are absent in places, as these are best sourced by the classroom teacher to suit their specific context.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Introduce significance of the natural hazard of bushfire using this video about the 1967 fires in Hobart.
    Read and discuss the nature and causes of bushfire, and how the activities of people can intensify its impacts (ACHGE016):
  2. Jigsaw reading using the following three texts:

    Tony Abbott should never say never about climate change

    A history of vulnerability: putting Tasmania’s bushfires in perspective

    Climate change and bushfires - you’re missing the point

  3. Watch this ABC News report from January 2013. Discuss reasons for difference of loss in the 1967 and 2013 bushfires (ACHGE021).
  4. List potential risk factors for a Tasmanian home, then compare with information from the Guidelines for development in bushfire prone areas of Tasmaniato further understand the concept of risk as applied to bushfire (ACHGE013).
    Develop bushfire risk & management understanding through fieldwork (ACHGE016, ACHGE017, ACHGE003, ACHGE004):
  5. Groups assigned school building: noting potential risk factors (as presented in this Create a defendable space video) for the building using Google Maps aerial view Conducting fieldwork slope estimation & determine BAL (Weblink 5) notation of flammable materials within inner zone notation of vegetation types and natural fuels within outer zone
  6. Class discussion of potential mitigation or prevention approaches for whole school (ACHGE008, ACHGE009, ACHGE006, ACHGE007).
    Create risk assessment sketches of whole school area by sharing group notations and estimations (ACHGE004, ACHGE008).
  7. Watch the Prepare, Act, Survive videos on the TFS website to identify factors posing potential risk during bushfire.
  8. In pairs, students create a Risk Management Plan for the School.
  9. Introduce, explain and students start work on Assessment Task 1: Risk Management Plan:
    Students develop a Risk Management Plan for a house using the provided resources and information: aerial map (satellite image) slope calculations photos of the house and surrounds

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Students submit AT1: Risk Management Plan
  2. Introduce the concept of community risk management during a natural hazard using the Dingo Creek interactive resource, to investigate risk management from a community perspective (ACHGE021).
  3. Introduce, explain and student start work on Assessment Task 2: Community Bushfire Protection Planning
  4. Investigate the Tasmanian approach to reducing the potential for and the impacts of bushfire using the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) Community Protection Plans website, then through supported independent research.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Review the key elements of Community Bushfire Protection Plans in groups, report for class discussion and mind-map production.
  2. Investigate appropriate language and visuals for communicating geographical information (ACHGE009) to primary school children by reading Helping Children Be Bushfire Ready and looking at the Triple Zero Kids' Challenge
  3. Groups develop a visual resource with maps, pictures and written geographical information to explain bushfire risk, including key safety information, for chosen community’s primary school students (ACHGE008).
  4. Submission of Assessment Task 2
  5. Using Disaster Mapper and a GIS, investigate the inquiry questions:
    Which geographical landscape and landforms are most at risk from bushfire?
    How do different environments affect the behaviour of bushfire?

    Complete the Fire Triangle worksheet as you investigate two national and one local area from Disaster Mapper.

    Use GIS (eg. Google Earth), to investigate the topography of the area, and calculate slope.

    Identify what the weather conditions on the bushfire day were. (ACHGE019, ACHGE017, ACHGE015)

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Read GIS for the Fire Service (PDF) to see how GIS are used by emergency services in bushfires.
  2. Consider the interconnected nature of risk management processes that occur during an emergency ( see Emergency Risk Management Process Diagram (PDF) page 6).
  3. Consider the significance of communication during a bushfire as you watch Irons in the Fire (ACHGE020).
  4. Introduce, explain and students start working on Assessment Task 3: Bushfire Emergency Timeline
  5. Group work on Assessment Task 3
  6. Groups use their draft timelines to work with other groups in creating an agreed timeline for the whole community.
  7. Groups modify timelines using ideas and information from ‘whole community timeline’ activity
  8. Presentations of Assessment Task 3

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Introduce and explain Assessment Task 4: Community Protection Plan in Indonesia
  2. Consider the nature and causes of bushfire and how the activities of people can intensify its impacts (ACHGE016) in Indonesia, and discover the physical and human factors that explain why some places are more vulnerable than others (ACHGE019) by reading and discussing

    Underlying Causes and Impacts of Fires in Indonesia

    Fire in the wetlands/peatlands of Indonesia: Problems and solutions (PDF)

    Preventing Forest Fires in Indonesia: Focus on Riau Province, Peatland, and Illegal Burning

  3. Select from the areas below to analyse an Indonesian community at risk of bushfire(ACHGE006)



    Tanah Tumbuh

    Musi Banyuasin

    Danau Sentarum

  4. Use Google Earth to further investigate one of these areas (class then small groups): create a map showing access in and out of the community and identify areas that may be ‘Safer Places’ during a bushfire (ACHGE004, ACHGE008)
  5. Groups investigate chosen community to discover demographics, official communication streams, and current bushfire risk management policies (ACHGE003).
  6. Group discussion of risk management processes for the community (ACHGE011).
  7. Individual development of Community Bushfire Protection Plans (ACHGE008).
  8. Peer review, feedback on draft of Assessment Task 4.
  9. Submission of AT4