A Fire Inside - The relationship between bushfires, climate change and the four spheres

A Fire Inside - The relationship between bushfires, climate change and the four spheres

Lesson 8 of 8 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • Science
  • Environmental
  • Biodiversity
  • Disaster resilience
  • Sustainability
  • ...

Lesson summary

In this Science lesson, students consider the relationship between bushfires, climate change and the four spheres. They are supported to consider the complexity of these relationships through scaffolded discussion and multimedia content. Students will have the opportunity to create a visual presentation that will aim to discuss and articulate their understanding of bushfires using visual conventions.

Learning Intentions:

Students will...

  • understand the four spheres and their relationship to bushfires
  • understand how climate change contributes to bushfires.

Success Criteria:

Students can...

  • identify how each sphere may impact the likelihood and intensity of a bushfire
  • analyse how a bushfire might impact the spheres
  • discuss the effect of climate change on these spheres and as a result, on bushfire intensity and regularity.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian curriculum content descriptions:

Years 8 Science:

  • Global systems, including the carbon cycle, rely on interactions involving the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere (ACSSU189)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations. (ACSIS208)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-12ES, SC5-9WS

General capabilities: Critical and Creative ThinkingEthical UnderstandingInformation and Communication Technology (ICT) CapabilityLiteracyPersonal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres

Resources required

  • A device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Post-it notes, whiteboard and markers
  • PowerPoint presentation:  A Fire Inside: The Four Spheres
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Community engagement
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Global citizenship
  • Problem solving      

Additional info

Before teaching the lessons, ensure you have watched the feature documentary ‘A Fire Inside’, rated MA15+ and have gained approval from parents and guardians before viewing the documentary. 

To view the film you can rent or purchase an online copy from Google Play, Apple TV, Prime Video, or Ritz at home.
Students may develop heightened emotions and discomfort during the film whilst learning about the psychological effects and impact the fires had on animals, people, families, communities, and the country. It is recommended that you direct students to a school counsellor if they require additional support and read through the Handling Sensitive Topics and Issues: Handling Sensitive Topics and Issues.

About the feature documentary - A Fire Inside:
When a volunteer firefighter drives his car to almost certain death, he does it during the worst fires in Australian history because he ‘has a job to do’. Three months later, the fires are out, but his fight is just beginning.

Turning a sensitive lens on the unprecedented devastation of Australia’s 2019/2020 ‘Black Summer’ bushfires; from a country-wide emergency to the astonishing stories of help that emerged, A Fire Inside presents an inspirational look at how people respond to crisis and the impact it has on the human spirit.

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