Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students learn that there are scientists who study changes in the land, the skies and the weather. They view an example of how the work of scientists and traditional owners impacts on the lives of others.


Explain to the students that they are going to pretend they are going on a holiday. Ask for suggestions of what people often think about when they are planning a holiday. Prompt for ‘the weather’. Ask how they might find out about the weather when the place they are going to is in another part of Australia. Tell the students that this science lesson is about the scientists who study things to do with the land, the skies and the weather.


  1. Display the PowerPoint presentation Working with the science of weather. Tell the students to imagine they are going to their holiday destination by plane. Show slides 2–4, the images of the plane, air traffic control tower and air traffic controllers. Explain the air traffic controllers’ reliance on meteorologists (scientists who study the weather). Show slide 5. Discuss and predict consequences if the meteorologist does not do his job.
  2. Show slide 6 of the bushfire. Ask students if they have ever been affected by a bushfire. Explain that bushfires have always occurred in the natural Australian landscape but now that people are living near to bush areas they can seriously affect people as well.
  3. Show slide 7 of the firefighters. Inform the students that scientists are trying to help firefighters understand fires better so they can more effectively fight them. Show slide 8 and run the video clip Eucalypt bark and bushfires, 2000
  4. Explain that the Aboriginal people have understood the importance of fire to the landscape for many thousands of years. Nowadays, some Aboriginal people who are responsible for managing their bushland will start fires to clear away areas of the bush so that big fires will not destroy areas in the dry season. They also know that fires clear the way for new vegetation that will feed the animals they need to hunt to survive. In some National Parks, Aboriginal science and western science work together closely. (Optional: show some or all of video clip Aboriginal wetland burning in Kakadu – part 2 of 3.
    Teacher note: For more information on traditional fire management see Background information
  5. Students complete a choice of self-directed activities.
    1. Learning objects:
    2. Painting of weather scenes, fire or landscapes.
    3. Drawing of weather scenes, fire or landscapes.
    4. Hands-on activities including exploring a map of the world, a world globe or an atlas, investigating compasses, reading books about Australia or making travel brochures.


Show students the video clip I am, you are, we are Australian

Discuss the students’ feelings when they hear this song. Ask how visitors would feel if Australia was polluted, only had big cities, or all the animals had become extinct.

Conclude by explaining this is why we need to have all three types of landscapes and to combine the knowledge of traditional owners and scientists to ensure Australia remains a beautiful place to live and visit.

Lesson Resources


Student activities

Digital resources

Working with the science of weather, PowerPoint presentation (PPT, Note: 9.4 MB)

R9191 Eucalypt bark and bushfires, 2000, NDLRN (1:58 min) 

R9862 Aboriginal wetland burning in Kakadu – part 2 of 3, 2005, NDLRN (1:52 min) 

L9 Explore the weather, NDLRN 

L10 Experience the weather, NDLRN 

L11 Weather wear, NDLRN 

I am, you are, we are Australian, YouTube (4:30 min) 

Useful links

Indigenous weather knowledge, Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Information, maps