Cool Burning (Secondary)

Kirsty Costa - Cool Australia
Award Winning Educator
Teach Aboriginal Cultures and Histories in Year 7 to 10 Geography, Science and English by exploring traditional land management using fire.
Target Audience
Teachers working with Years 7 to 10 students. Also suitable for casual relief and beginning teachers.
16 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Want support to better integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures into Geography and History? You’ve come to the right place.

In this 2 hour course, you will:

  • Explore the savanna of Northern Australia.
  • Learn about how Aboriginal land managers care for Country through ‘cool burning’ regimes.
  • Investigate the environmental, social and economic benefits of cool burning.
  • Access a range of lesson plans (all linked to the Australian Curriculum) and videos so you can teach about cool burning in your classroom.

After completing the course, you will feel more confident with exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures with your students PLUS you will have a comprehensive toolkit of teaching resources to choose from.


Teachers working with Years 7 to 10 students. Also suitable for casual relief and beginning teachers.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

A short online course is delivered over 1-3 weeks in duration and is worth 2-3 PD hrs depending on the course content and its objectives. Participants will not need to take time off, the course date is the START date only, end dates will be advertised with course hours. Learn more HERE.

>> This 2 hour online professional development is open for 2 weeks.
We recommend you allocate some time in your calendar, in advance, to enjoy the activities and get the most out of the course.

>> This course is mapped to English and Geography in the Australian Curriculum and NSW Syllabus for Years 7 to 10 (Stages 4 and 5). It can also be used as part of an integrated unit or student team activity.

This course contributes to 2.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of Short Online in Australia (ACT) at this time.


1. Introduction

25 minutes

- Read about course requirements.
- Meet your group.
- Find out the difference between Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country.
- Set a personal learning goal.

2. Using Fire

50 minutes

- Explore Fish River Station in the Northern Territory.
- Learn how ‘hot burns’ affect the tropical savanna of Australia.
- Meet John Daly, Indigenous land manager, and find out how he and his team use ‘cool burning’ fire stick techniques.
- Find out how cool burning benefits the natural environment and local communities.
- Watch how Indigenous land managers work with scientists.

3. Support For Your Teaching

30 minutes

- Download Cool Australia’s Cool Burning units of work and lesson plans.
- Explore the Cool Burning Digital Library.
- Identify which resources will help your teaching.
- Consider how to take your students' learning further by connecting with local groups.

4. Reflection

15 minutes

- Reflect on what you learnt during the course.
- Give feedback on the course.

Further Study

No duration specified

Bonus activities and resources:
- Find out more about the biodiversity of Australia’s tropical savanna.
- Use a Harvard Visible Thinking tool called ‘See, Think, Wonder’ to help your students think and ask questions about cool burning.
- Explore Reconciliation Australia’s ‘Share Our Pride’ website.
- Watch a video by Peninsula Specialist College about Bunjil the Eagle.

User Rating


Latest Reviews

Please note the feedback listed here is unfiltered, and includes all comments and ratings collected.

Cool Burning - Secondary
by Karen Barker on 04/10/2016

Great intro to online learning topics.

Cool Burning - Secondary
by Clare Robinson on 29/09/2016

Provides some good and easy to use resources.

Cool Burning - Secondary
by Kylea Fern on 29/09/2016

Such an easy to use format and the resources are excellent!

Cool Burning - Secondary
by Kylie Wynne on 29/09/2016

Good place to get those beginning steps to start teaching Aboriginal agriculture practices to my students

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Ashley Shaw on 23/08/2016
I loved the videos featuring real aboriginal land managers working onsite. The authenticity of these resources have high interest value for students and teachers alike.
Cool Burning - Secondary
by Monique Nicoll on 05/07/2016

Great course to learn about Cool Burning.

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Bryce Blackmore on 29/03/2016

I really like the format for learning in this course. I also enjoyed the variety of activities.

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Joy Collins on 29/03/2016

The course was comprehensive, engaging and interactive in a useful way for teachers and students.

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Lisa Hall on 29/03/2016

I found this course to be informative and well presented, gaining valuable ideas and resources for my Science class and a touch of inspiration as well.

Cool Burning - Secondary
by Retana Machado Medeiros on 22/11/2015

The course was concise and to the point. The science explanation of the cool burning process, the exploration of the dimensions of sustainability and the embedded indigenous perspectives were provided in a good balance.

Cool Burning - Secondary
by Brioney Alchin on 22/11/2015

This course was excellent for building my knowledge and understanding of Indigenous land management practices and the importance of cool burning.

Cool Burning - Secondary
by Anita Joyce on 25/08/2015

The course was very engaging, not only with content but also with various types of resources which allowed me to consider how I might apply it in my school context. I feel as though I have more tools in my tool-kit now.

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Vanessa Santoro on 14/07/2015

The below course I found excellent with much of the information new to me which I will be using in my classroom. Also I found the information to be clear and the activities easy to complete in the time frame.

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Casey Norden on 18/06/2015

I have learnt some new material to add to my junior English/ HSIE courses that focus on Aboriginal content, especially for boys because they love to learn about fires.

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Pauline Bunce on 17/06/2015

The course took two hours, as advertised, and I undertook it on a public holiday so that I could work through it in one sitting. I would recommend this approach (one sitting). I found the website easy to navigate and the activities were a good mix. As I was the very first participant on the first day, there were no other comments in the Discussion Sessions at that time, but I have since revisited these pages and I have seen some other people’s ideas. I was not sure whether or not anyone else was online at the same time as I was. There was no direct “interaction” with anyone at any stage during the course. (I have since received some feedback comments by email.) I enjoyed having a ‘personal PD’ experience. I did not need to ‘interact’ to enjoy the activities and the learning at the time.

Cool Burning (Secondary)
by Sherrill Robinson on 20/05/2015

I found the course both timely and interesting. I’m pleased to drop ‘firestick farming’ from my vocabulary because I’ve always seen the term as inappropriate to describe Indigenous land burning provided me with a better understanding of how indigenous people were and are still using traditional methods to manage and sustain their environments.
I particularly enjoyed hearing from John, the Indigenous ranger…he was knowledgeable and his calm, laid-back teaching style made him easy to listen to.
Also, thank you for putting me in touch with resources I didn’t previously know existed…I’m already using them and appreciate being able to prepare material for my classes that is not straight from the students’ textbooks.

About the team

Cool Australia


Cool Australia is an award winning not-for-profit dedicated to supporting educators with tools to foster ‘learning for life’. We help integrate topics around sustainability, ethics, economics and wellbeing across the curriculum. This enables teachers of all age groups and disciplines to engage young Aussies in real-life learning whilst achieving Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework outcomes. Our accredited professional development is designed to build your confidence, understanding and expertise. You will learn through a mixture of practical and thinking activities as well as hearing the stories of others. Plus you will access a range of teaching tools that can you can use straight away in your teaching.

Kirsty Costa - Cool Australia


Kirsty lives in her element by working in roles that focus on education and community. Most recently, she’s been a primary classroom teacher, an education consultant and teacher coach.

Kirsty inspires audiences with her fresh ideas and provides pathways that help make a difference to teaching and learning. She delivers online courses, webinars, workshops and keynote addresses to educators across the country. Kirsty helps teachers to build their knowledge, skills and confidence so that they can design exceptional learning for all young Australians.

Kirsty was awarded the 2013 Victorian Environmental and Sustainability Educator of the Year.