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Learning about bushfires

The purpose of the Bushfire Education webpages is to provide teaching and learning resources to support bushfire education for primary and secondary schools (Year 1 through to Year 8).

Based on four themes, the aim of the Bushfire Education webpages is to better prepare all young Australians for the challenges of living in a country that regularly experiences bushfires.

The 'Learning about bushfires' theme explores what is essential to know about fire, what causes bushfires, and how they behave in the Australian environment.

The theme is explored through individual sessions that:

  • links a particular session to the relevant curriculum area
  • sets out specific learning intentions
  • lists suggested resources to support its teaching and learning
  • sequences the learning activities with 'starting', 'exploring', 'bringing it all together', and 'extending'.

All bushfire education teaching and learning activities have been aligned to the relevant areas of the Victorian Curriculum F–10.

 

Levels 1–2

Curriculum Areas
  • English
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Science

Learning about bushfires

This section introduces the theme of 'Learning about bushfires' in the context of safety messages, and is designed to support the learning needs of students from Years 1 to 3, with alignment to Victorian Curriculum Levels 1 and 2. It aims to provide a basic awareness of why bushfires are dangerous, when bushfires are most likely to happen and the systems in place to help keep people safe. These understandings play a key role why as to why it very important to learn about bushfire safety.

Throughout this section, care needs to be taken to clarify any misconceptions students may have about bushfires. For example, some students may be familiar with plans for safe exits and a safe meeting place in the event of a house fire or a fire drill at school, when the danger is inside. Be sure they understand that in a bushfire the danger comes from outside, so people will have different safety plans depending on their circumstances.

Types of fires – good and bad
Learning intention: In the initial session, students will be asked to reflect on their prior knowledge and experiences of fire. The exploration and tasks are intended to help students understand that some fires are helpful and others cause problems. Students will practise and use language related to fires and bushfires.

Introducing the Fire Triangle
Learning intention: In this session students come to appreciate the elements a fire needs to start and continue burning. The model of the Fire Triangle is introduced, as well as key language such as 'fuel', 'heat' and 'oxygen'.

The impact of radiant heat during bushfires
Learning intention: Students will come to understand that although we need radiant heat, the heath that a fire gives of can be dangerous. Students will be aware that we do not have to be touched by the flames in order to be burnt or hurt by fire. The safety message of a person moving away from the heat source or putting something between themselves and the heat source will be made explicit.

Understanding the Fire Danger Rating system
Learning intention: Students are encouraged to use their knowledge of how fires start (the Fire Triangle) to understand that there are many causes of bushfires. They will then explore the factors and conditions related to the Fire Danger Rating system used in Victoria, and learn that this is a safety system for alerting people to potential bush fire dangers.

Other Levels 1–2 themes

Levels 5–6

Curriculum Areas
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • English
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Science

Learning about bushfires

This section introduces the theme of 'Learning about bushfires' in the context of safety messages, and is designed to support the learning needs of students in Years 4 to 6. It is aligned to Victorian Curriculum Levels 5 and 6.

The aim of the section is to provide students with a basic awareness of how fires burn, why bushfires are dangerous, when bushfires are most likely to happen, and why they occur.

Throughout this section, care needs to be taken to clarify any misconceptions students may have about bushfires. For example, some students may be familiar with plans for safe exits and a safe meeting place in the event of a house fire or a fire drill at school – when the danger is inside. Be sure they understand that in a bushfire the danger comes from outside, so people will have different safety plans depending on their circumstances.

The Fire Triangle and exploring what a fire needs to burn
Learning intention: In this session students find out how fire burns (oxygen, fuel and heat) and how it can be put out through coming to understand the fire triangle model.

The impact of radiant heat during bushfires
Learning intention: Students will come to understand about radiant heat and its effects. They will further be able to describe the dangers from radiant heat in a bushfire situation.

Understanding the Fire Danger Rating system
Learning intention: Students are encouraged to use their knowledge of how fires start (The Fire Triangle) to understand that there are many causes of bushfires. They will then explore the factors and conditions related to the Fire Danger Rating system used in Victoria, and how this is a safety system for alerting people to potential bushfire dangers.

Causes and effects of a bushfire
Learning intention: Students will come to understand and be able to identify the main causes, processes and effects of bushfires in Victoria.

Exploring Victoria's bushfire history
Learning intention: Students read and research the history of Australian bushfires, with a particular focus on bushfires that have occurred in Victoria. This session explores the history of bushfires from the perspective they are naturally occurring events that regularly feature in our recorded history.

Other Levels 5–6 themes

Levels 7–8

Curriculum Areas
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • English
  • History
  • Science

Learning about bushfires

This section introduces the theme of 'Learning about bushfires' in the context of safety messages, and is designed to support the learning needs of students in Years 7 to 10. It is aligned to Victorian Curriculum Levels 7 and 8, and explores the history of bushfires, bushfires as a fact of life in Victoria, the science of how fires burn, why bushfires are dangerous, and when they are most likely to happen.

Throughout this section, care needs to be taken to clarify any misconceptions students may have about bushfires. For example, some students may be familiar with plans for safe exits and a safe meeting place in the event of a house fire or a fire drill at school – when the danger is inside. Be sure they understand that in a bushfire the danger comes from outside, so people will have different safety plans depending on their circumstances.

Living with bushfires
Learning intention: In this session students learn that bushfires are a fact of life in Victoria. Students revisit the 'Black Saturday 2009' bushfire as an introduction to learning about bushfires.

The Fire Triangle
Learning intention: Students learn that fire needs three things to start and continue burning: oxygen, fuel and heat. Therefore, to prevent or control a fire, at least one of the components must be removed.

Heat transfer
Learning intention: Students find out that heat travels in three main ways: convection, conduction and radiation. Radiant heat in a bushfire is a killer. Understanding how radiant heat travels can help us be safer in bushfires.

Types of bushfires
Learning intention: Students recognise that the term 'bushfire' is a broad term that encompasses many types of outdoor fires, including scrub, grass and coastal fires.

Understanding bushfire behaviour and the Fire Danger Rating system
Learning intention: The conditions that influence bushfire behaviour are major determinants of the Fire Danger Rating system. The Fire Danger Ratings predict how a fire would behave if one started, including how difficult it would be to put out.

Lessons from the past: Three major Victorian bushfires
Learning intention: The intent of this session is to give a historical context to understanding the reality of bushfires in Australia.

Other Levels 7–8 themes

 

View Bushfire education resources to support teaching and learning activities on this site.

Please note: All educators need to be aware that there is potential for discomfort or distress among some students when talking, viewing and reading about bushfires. Teachers need to preview, adapt and manage the teaching and learning activities and resources with respect to the particular needs and backgrounds of their students.

Further information where schools can access a range of student support services can be found on the Department of Education and Training's Health and Wellbeing Services website